Thursday, September 23, 2010

New York Film Festival begins tomorrow: the very best from fests around the globe

Olivier Assayas, with one of his best-reviewed movies ever; the latest from Kelly Reichardt, Abbas Kiarostami, Mike Leigh, Raul Ruiz, Manoel de Oliveira and, of course, Apitchatpong Weerasethakul (known to some as "Joe" but whose name TrustMovies has been pronouncing phonetically, if not correctly, for years now); a recent round of Romanian cinema and something new from Hong Sang-soo.

What -- that's not enough?  OK:  "Masterworks" from both Japan and Mexico; director "dialogs" with David Fincher, Julie Taymor, Ms Reichardt and "Joe"; the yearly Views from the Avant-Garde (that's one view, above); and a bunch of special events that really do seem special (a Mexican "Dracula", the life and work of Jack Cardiff, the Scorsese/Kent Jones A Letter to Elia). And -- oh, yeah -- a new (I suspect, if history runs true) "big nothing" from the one-and-only Jean-Luc Godard.  Plus cannibals. That's right: Its the Film Society of Lincoln Center's 48th edition of what is arguably the most popular yearly event for Big Apple cinephiles: The New York Film Festival. So line up and just try to get tickets.

But wait: There are actually plenty of seats remaining for many of the films in this year's fest, even if certain attractions are long gone: Fincher's director's dialog and opening night screening of The Social Network (with the ubiquitous Andrew Garfield, above left, and Jesse Eisenberg, at right), the evening showing of Taymor's Tempest, closing night with Mr. Eastwood's Hereafter; and special events like the one-time-only Letter to Elia screening, Mike Leigh: Shooting London, and the never-before-seen-commercially-in-the-U.S. Nuremberg restoration documentary. (As of late Thursday afternoon, 9/23, the above were the sellouts, so far.)

Yet there will be some really wonderful, lesser-known movies on view, too -- from Xavier Beauvois' profoundly moving study of religious faith and its positive uses, Of Gods and Men to three remarkable examples of early Mexican cinema (a still from one of which is shown below) by Fernando de Fuentes, part of the Masterworks program. I'll have more on these Mexican movies next week, including the new ten-director omnibus movie Revolución, which should bring us further up-to-date on Mexico -- if the current issue of The Onion hasn't done that already. I'll also have more to say about Beauvois' film (said to be France's submission for our Best Foreign Language Film "Oscar" and the movie that led France's box-office when it opened there a couple of weeks ago: god, those French are smart!) when it opens here, via Sony Pictures Classics, later this year (or maybe next).

Many of the films shown at this year's fest have already been picked up for release, and others probably will be.  So don't despair if you're too far away from NYC (or too poor -- as I would certainly be without my press pass) to afford to see this great slate. Even with that press pass, I've so far managed to view less than one-quarter of the films I'd wanted to see. (That's a scene from Taymor's The Tempest, with, left to right, Russell Brand, Alfred Molina and Djimon Hounsou -- the latter looking, uh, not like his usual self -- below. I'll see this one next week & report back then.)

So, those of you nearby and with dollars to spend, mark your calendars as "busy" from tomorrow September 24 through October 10.  You can find the complete program of this year's NY Film Fest, in all its glorious detail, here.  Feel free to scroll up and down and then click all the links along the bottom of the black banner headline at top. One good click will surely lead to another....

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