52nd New York Film Festival Unreels Biggest Film Roster
Ever for 17 Exciting Days/Nights Beginning September 26
By: Ellis Nassour
The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s 30-film Main Slate for the 52nd New York Film Festival [NYFF52], running 17 days, September 26 – October 12, is unreeling with the gala opening night premiere of David Fincher’s Gone Girl [20th Century Fox/Regency], based on Gillian Flynn’s best-seller about a recession-era marriage and a wife’s disappearance, screening three times.
Additional Festival world premieres are the centerpiece selection, Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice [Warner Bros.], set in 70s L.A. as a drug-fueled detective investigates the disappearance of a girlfriend; and closing night’s Alejandro Iñárritu’s Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance [Fox Searchlight], about a washed up actor who once played a superhero.
These three Festival anchors star, respectively: Ben Affleck, Neil Patrick Harris, Rosamund Pike, Tyler Perry, and Sela Ward; Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon, Josh Brolin, Jena Malone, Eric Roberts, Maya Rudolph, Martin Short, and Owen Wilson; and Michael Keaton, in what’s said to be the performance of his career, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, and Naomi Watts.
The Festival’s amazing line-up includes work from such notable directors as Lisandro Alonso, Asia Argento, David Cronenberg, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Jean-Luc Godard, Mike Leigh, and, last but by no means least, New Wave master Alain Resnais, whose last film will be a huge Festival hit.
Festival director and selection committee chair, Kent Jones said: "The sheer breadth of this year’s Festival is amazing. We have big films alongside those made on the most intimate scale, personal epics, intricately-constructed chamber pieces, films of great serenity and those that leave you dazed, first films and last film – all equally vivid, alive, and essential."
Lesli Klainberg, FSLC executive director, says, "We’re proud to continue our commitment to present significant films from around the world. The Festival continues to be a home to a wide range of film styles and perspectives. The breathtaking range of films curated by our selection committee is amazing."
The FSLC theatres will be kept very busy. In addition to the Main Slate, and retros, there’ll be a slew of special events, documentaries [15 of ‘em], and filmmaker conversations and panels, along with the rare opportunity to catch shorts from around the world.
NYFF52 is also hosting two exciting "Evening with" special events in Lincoln Center’s Kaplan Penthouse: Ethan Hawke [director, Seymour: An Introduction, a funny spin on artistic egomania] on September 30 and Richard Gere [Time Out of Mind] on October 8. The evenings include cocktails, dinner, and a conversation between the guests and Jones. To purchase single tickets or tables of 10, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (212) 875-5285.
Award winners from other festivals presented for the first time to New York audiences include four from this year’s Cannes Film Festival: Alice Rohrwacher’s quite offbeat, to say the least, The Wonders, took the Grand Prix [you may wonder why]; Best Director Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher, with Steve Carell headlining the unusual tale of billionaire J.E. DuPont and a team of wrestlers [Channing Tatum, the amazing Mark Ruffalo] he recruits; and Leigh’s Mr. Turner, for which Timothy Spall received Best Actor for his portrayal of painter J.M.W. Turner.
Cronenberg returns to shock and stir up a bit of controversy with what will be one of the much-discussed Festival presentations: his dark, adult art-house tragic drama Maps to the Stars [Focus Films], for which Julianne Moore won Best Actress [John Cusack, and Robert Pattinson co-star with devastating performances by Mia Wasikowska [Only Lovers Left Alive] and Evan Bird [TV’s The Killing series] [you won’t have to think twice about who his character is based on].
They’ll be joined by bruno Dumont [Camille Claudel 1915], known for his "cine-miserablism" and tales of spiritual suffering, who finally finds his comic side with Li; Quinquin at this year’s Cannes, a weird beautifully-shot four-part murder mystery miniseries.
Two absolute don’t-miss films, destined to be hits of the Festival and afterward, are Damien Chazelle’s much-buzzed two-hander Whiplash, winner of Sundance’s U.S. Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award, and starring Miles Teller as an up and coming jazz drummer and J.K. Simmons as a brutal music teacher; and Life of Riley, the superb, ebullient, beautifully stylized final feature from the late New Wave master Resnais, honored with the Berlin Film Festival’s Silver Bear Prize, which has him returning to Brit playwright Alan Ayckbourn for his 2010 farce [with an extraordinary cast], which somehow and strangely has never made it to Broadway, where it surely would find a warm welcome.
Also screening: Olivier Assayas’ Clouds of Sils Maria, headlining Juliette Binoche as an actress preparing for a new role with Kristen Stewart as her assistant; and the Dardenne’s Two Days, One Night, starring Oscar and Golden Globe winner Marion Cotillard as a woman desperately trying to save her job following a nervous breakdown; and French actor Mathieu Amalric’s dramatization of Georges Simenon’s novel The Blue Room [North American premiere] about a love triangle coming to a dangerous conclusion.
Argento dons her director’s hat with her autobiographical Misunderstood, about a pre-teen girl all but ignored by her self-absorbed superstar parents in 80s Rome; NYFF52’s Filmmaker in Residence Alonso’s so slow to unfold Jauja, stars Viggo Mortensen [also producing; and speaking Danish and Spanish], as an 1870s Argentine officer searching for his daughter [the finale seque to modern-day will have audiences scratching their heads]; Josh and Benny Safdies’ Heaven Knows What takes the viewer into the world of two heroin-addicted young lovers as they struggle to live and find their next fix; Godard’s Goodbye to Language, his first feature in 3-D; Alex Ross Perry’s Listen Up Philip headlines Jason Schwartzman as an insufferable literary star taken under the wing of a literary lion, played by Jonathan Pryce; and Oren Moverman’s Time Out of Mind features Richard Gere breaking all boundaries of his career as a homeless man with scene-stealing support from Ben Vereen in an Oscar-nomination worthy performance [with Jena Malone (she jas two films in the Festival), a fun cameo by Danielle Brooks and cameos by Steve Buscemi. Coleman Domingo, and though you will never recognize her until you’re shocked to see her name in the creits, Kyra Sedgwick].
In the Retrospective category there’s the 4K restoration of Resnais’s first feature, a sweeping brief encounters romance, Hiroshima Mon Amour; and Joseph L. Mankiewicz: The Essential Iconoclast, showcasing 21 features from the legendary director/writer that include All About Eve, The Barefoot Contessa, Cleopatra, Dragonwyck, Julius Caesar, and the rarely-seen director’s favorite People Will Talk, with Cary Grant stepping up to the plate as an unconventional doctor.
NYFF52’s special programs: Convergence and Projections [formerly: Views from the Avant-Garde] October 3-5, boasts over 70 experimental film and video works. In the Shorts listings, keep an out for ripped-from-international-headlines Cloro, from Brasil, 18 minutes of very slick filmmaking against stunning settings.
The Festival will continue the tradition of celebrating a film’s milestone year by presenting nine Revival screenings, including a meticulous restoration of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s visually stunning adaptation of Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffman (1961); a 30th Anniversary screening of Rob Reiner’s This Is Spinal Tap, with writer/star Christopher Guest on hand; and Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in America,
Film Comment Presents‘ Festival selection is John Boorman’s Queen and Country with the filmmaker in attendance. This is his follow-up to his autobiographical World War II childhood memoir Hope and Glory (NYFF ’87), and details the bittersweet rites of passage of the earlier film’s protagonist Bill (Callum Turner), now grown and called up for National Service in the British Army. Film Comment is FSLC’s award-winning bimonthly magazine.
Special Events screenings will include the U.S. premiere of Arnaud Desplechin’s family drama The Forest, an adaptation of the Comédie Française production of Alexander Ostrovsky’s 1871 comic drama hailed as ‘vibrantly spontaneous and brutally funny."
A restoration of director Paul Grimault and screenwriter Jacques Prévert’s The King and the Mockingbird [theatrical opening, November 21], inspired by a Hans Christian Andersen story and considered a masterwork of hand-drawn cel animation, will premiere at the Festival. The King and the Mockingbird will open theatrically on November 21 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
Click Here for Inherent Vice Trailer
The free NYFF Talks master class will feature directorAnderson (Inherent Vice) in conversation with Festival Jones in conversation for On Cinema on October 5.There’ll be clips from Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood, and The Master.
The free HBO Directors Dialogues [September 29-October 8] pair filmmakers with a member of the NYFF selection committee for a discussion of their careers, approach to making movies, and the current state of the art of filmmaking. Featured are: Amalric (The Blue Room), Costa (Horse Money), Leigh (Mr. Turner), and Miller (Foxcatcher).
A majority of the Main Slate films screen twice nightly [usually accompanied by a short and followed by meet-the-director/cast Q&As] in Alice Tully Hall, the Walter Reade Theatre, and the Elinor Burin Munroe Film Center.
FSLC receives year-round support from Royal Bank of Canada, Jaeger-LeCoultre, American Airlines, The New York Times, Stella Artois, HBO, the Kobal Collection, Trump International Hotel and Tower, Row NYC Hotel, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts. Support for the NYFF is provided by KIND Bars, Portage World Wide Inc., WABC-7, and WNET New York Public Media.
NYFF52 tickets, subscription packages, and VIP Passes are on sale now: NYFF52 tickets are $15 and $25; $50 and $100 for Gala evenings. Film Society members receive a discount. Tickets for On Cinema are $20, $15 members, and $12 for seniors/students. For free events, tickets are distributed from the box office one hour before show time, one ticket per person, on a space available basis. Lines form early. Visit www. filmlinc.com for the full schedule, dates, times, synopsizes, and information on FSLC membership.