FSLC Unveils Impressive Lineup of Documentaries, Revivals,
and Events for 53rd New York Film Festival
By: Ellis Nassour
For 17 days and nights, movie lovers at Film Society of Lincoln Center’s 53rd New York Film Festival (NYFF), September 25 – October 11, will have one of the most outstanding lineups in years of what to see. There will be choices galore, with more world and North American premieres than ever. Without a doubt, there’ll be numerous choices with appeal to everyone. Starting September 13, just step up to the NYFF box offices at Alice Tully Hall to purchase tickets. Patron tickets go on sale August 31.
In addition to Oscar-winner Robert Zemeckis’ Opening Night’s The Walk; Oscar-winner Danny Boyle’s Centerpiece, Steve Jobs; Oscar-nominee Don Cheadle directorial debut with Closing Night’s Miles Ahead; the amazing roster of programming includes Convergence and Projections screenings; Special Events; Spotlight on Documentaries; and Revivals.
There’ll be Main Slate films from Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Romania, South Korea, Switzerland, and the U.K. These include Oscar-winner Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies.
Film Comment Presents’ Special Events include: László Nemes’ Cannes Grand Prix winner Son of Saul, about the horrors of Auschwitz [the film will be Hungary’s official entry for Oscar’s foreign-language category]; the world premiere of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Junun, a documentary of friend and collaborator Jonny Greenwood’s trip to India to do an album with Israeli musician Shye Ben Tzur; a 15th anniversary screening of Joel and Ethan Coen’s 30s musical fantasia [based on The Odyssey] O Brother, Where Art Thou? [the brothers and cast members will appear and there’ll be a musical performance]; and the North American premiere of Noah Baumbach’s biographical documentary De Palma, chronicling the director’s six-decade career;
Laurie Anderson, designer of the 53rd NYFF poster, will premiere her first feature in 30 years, Heart of a Dog, a lament for her late piano-playing, finger-painting dog, "a work of braided joy and heartbreak, remembering and forgetting." NYFF Filmmaker in Residence, Athina Rachel Tsangari, will present the U.S. Premiere of her Chevalier. About games of one-upmanship between six men sailing the Aegean Sea.
The Revivals category gives viewers the opportunity to discover or revisit 11 celebrated international films — all digitally remastered, restored, and preserved with the assistance of partners, including Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation, celebrating its 25th anniversary. Highlights: Akira Kurosawa’s stunning and colorful masterpiece Ran [which opened the ’85 NYFF], the 25th anniversary of The Film Foundation with Ousmane Sembene’s Black Girl, Ernst Lubitsch’s classic comedy Heaven Can Wait [screened in a new 35mm print, courtesy of 20th Century Fox], Luchino Visconti’s groundbreaking Rocco and His Brothers, Marcel Ophüls’ The Memory of Justice, and Brian De Palma’s hallucinatory and orgasmic thriller Blow Out.
After being hidden away by Portugal’s Manoel de Oliveira over 30 years, his exquisite and moving Visit, or Memories and Confessions will see the light of day. Also on the schedule: From one of the masters of the martial-arts genre comes King Hu’s A Touch of Zen, about a female on the run from corrupt government officials who’s joined an unambitious painter and skilled Buddhist monks; and The Long Voyage Home, directed by the legendary John Ford, is a soulful, heartbreaking film based on four Eugene O’Neill one-acts about the aching loneliness of life at sea and the longing for home [cinematography by the brilliant Gregg Toland].
Spotlight on Documentary launches September 27, with world and North American premieres from U.S., Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Portugal, and Sweden.
In addition to Main Slate docs Where to Invade Next, Michael Moore’s hard, surprising look at the state of the U.S; and Laura Israel’s Don’t Blink: Robert Frank, a portrait of the legendary photographer and filmmaker, the 12 titles represent the spectrum of nonfiction cinema "in all shapes and sizes and tones: compressed and expansive, eclectic portraits and vérité canvases, objective examinations and works of passionate advocacy."
Much-anticipated are Oscar-winning director (CITIZENFOUR) Laura Poitras’ series Asylum, an intimate behind-the-scenes drama following Julian Assange as he publishes classified U.S. State Department cables and seeks political asylum inside London’s Ecuadorian embassy; Jacob Bernstein’s Everything Is Copy, an intimate and vibrant portrait of his mother Nora Ephron; Frederick Wiseman’s 40th feature documentary, In Jackson Heights; Stig Björkman’s focus in Jag Är Ingrid (Ingrid Bergman in Her Own Words) isn’t on Bergman the star but on the woman and mother, using letters, diaries, home movies, and memories shared from her children Pia Lindström and Isabella, Ingrid, and Roberto Rossellini; and James Solomon’s The Witness, an eye-opening look at The New York Times investigative reporting on the murder of Queens resident Kitty Genovese and the 38 eyewitnesses who saw the attack and retreated to their apartments – a case study of urban apathy.
Special Event programs will be slightly higher priced, based on venue. Revival tickets are $15; $10 for members and students. Documentary pricing will be announced soon. A discounted 3+ film package will be available. VIP Passes offer buyers the earliest opportunity to purchase tickets and secure seats for Opening, Centerpiece, and Closing Nights and provide access to events such as the invitation-only Opening Night party, " An Evening With…" dinner, Filmmaker Brunch, and VIP Lounge. Visit filmlinc.org/NYFF for more information. Follow NYFF @filmlinc on Twitter, and download the free Film Society app for iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android devices.
Support for the New York Film Festival is also generously provided by Jaeger-LeCoultre, FIJI Water, KIND Bars, Portage World Wide Inc., WABC-7, and WNET New York Public Media.