FSLC’s Biggest Ever NY Film Festival Has Much in Store for Final Week:Including World Premiere Inherent Vice and Closing Night’s Birdman
By: Ellis Nassour
The ongoing biggest ever New York Film Festival, NYFF52, has had some blockbuster films and celebrity moments that included Opening Night’s Gone Girl [20th Century Fox; Regency; now in cineplexes], David Fincher’s thriller/black comedy, starring Ben Afleck and Rosamund Pike, based on Gillian Flynn’s best-seller; and the superb, beautifully-stylized final feature from late New Wave master Alain Resnais, Life of Riley [Amer, boire et chanter; Kino/Lober], a rollicking farce based on a 2010 Alan Ayckbourn play. [Resnais was honored with the Berlin Film Festival’s Silver Bear Prize.]
But it ain’t over ‘til the last reel unreels or the last digital disc’s inserted on October 12. There are more films, more stars, more docs, more Projections [experimental and avant-garde shorts], and more free events.
Closing Night, with two showings in Alice Tully Hall and a screening at the Walter Reade, there’s Alejandro Iñárritu’s comedy [being heralded as one of the best films of the year and one which you really might want to see twice] Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance [Fox Searchlight; opening October 17], which opened the Venice Film Festival and was nominated for a Golden Lion. It’s about a washed up actor who once played a superhero overcoming obstacles as he heads to Broadway to reclaim his fame. Starring are Michael Keaton, in what’s said to be the performance of his career, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, and Naomi Watts.
Big moments this final week are the world premiere of Paul Thomas Anderson’s much-anticipated Inherent Vice [Warner Bros.; opening in December], from Thomas Pynchon’s tough-read novel about a P.I’s drug-filled life along Malibu shores and, among too many other mind-boggling things, the search for a former girlfriend. Joaquin Phoenix and Josh Brolin are quite noteworthy, with Owen Wilson frequently in and out of frame and cameos by Martin Short and Reese Witherspoon; and don’t-blink cameos by Eric Roberts and Maya Rudolph.
Sunday brings a family screening at 11 A.M. of the restoration of director Paul Grimault and screenwriter Jacques Prévert’s The King and the Mockingbird [Rialto Pictures; theatrical opening, November 21], inspired by a Hans Christian Andersen story and considered a masterwork of hand-drawn cel animation.
Sunday there’ll be a free NYFF Talks On Cinema master class with director Anderson (Inherent Vice) in conversation with Festival director and selection committee chair Kent Jones. There’ll be clips from Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood, and The Master.
Screening Sunday and Monday is Jean-Pierre and Luce 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.
Sunday and Thursday you can catch Oren Moverman’s Time Out of Mind with Richard Gere’s tour-de-force performance that breaks all boundaries of his career, playing a homeless man. He gets scene-stealing support from Ben Veered in an Oscar-nomination worthy performance. There’re also cameos by Danielle Brooks, Steve Buscemi, Coleman Domingo, and though you’ll never recognize her until you’re shocked to see her name in the credits, Kyra Sedgwick.
Tuesday Film Comment Presents the North American premier of John Boorman’s Queen and Country with the filmmaker in attendance. This is the 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 (Callum Turner), now grown and called up for National Service in the British Army. Film Comment is FSLC’s award-winning bimonthly magazine.
Wednesday and Thursday you have the opt to catch Olivier Assayas’ Clouds of Sils Maria, headlining Juliette Binoche as an actress preparing for a new role, with Kristen Stewart as her assistant.
Thursday and Friday, you might want to see Alex Ross Perry’s Listen Up Philip, headlining Jason Schwartzman as an insufferable literary star taken under the wing of a literary lion, played by Jonathan Pryce.
Friday events 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." Friday and Saturday brings 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.
This final week also has the 4K restoration of Resnais’ first feature, a sweeping brief encounters romance, Hiroshima Mon Amour; and the final seven [of out more than 15] docs [which include Red Army, opening in early 2015] about hockey obsession [a must for hockey fans], and Albert Mayes’ portrait of fashion icon Iris Apel.
Also projecting for movielovers are the majority of the classics in the Joseph L. Mankiewicz Iconoclast retrospective, which include James Mason in the spy thriller 5 Fingers, Vincent Price and beautiful Gene Tierney in the visually-stunning Dragonwyck; Bogart in the must-see Barefoot Contessa, with ravishing Ava Gardner as a shooting star Hollywood idol; and a restored version of Liz/Dick/Rex in Cleopatra].
Another NYFF52 big event is Wednesday’s "Evening with Richard Gere," cocktails, dinner, and a conversation between Gere and NYFF director Jones in Lincoln Center’s Kaplan Penthouse, which include. To purchase single tickets or tables of 10, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (212) 875-5285.
October 5, 7, and 8 don’t miss the free HBO Directors Dialogues, which will pair September 29-October 8] pair filmmakers Mike Leigh (Mr. Turner), Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher), and Pedro Costa (Horse Money) with a member of the NYFF selection committee for career discussion.
Screenings are at Alice Tully Hall, 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 NY 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 are on sale at Alice Tully Hall. 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.