Anniversaries highlight events central to what we are. My Mom celebrating her 70th year of life with me here in New York or reaching 40 like close friends of mine did recently or reaching 100 thousand video views on your Youtube Channel ( TespisTV did it last week!). Milestones. New York and the Lincoln Center are celebrating another milestone as well: the 50th edition of the New York Film Festival. Big achievement for the second oldest film festival in North America and one of the top 5 worldwide. A big Bravo! to Richard Peña, Selection Committee Chair & Program Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center, who after 25 years of dedication is leaving his post (He will keep working at Lincoln Center on an Education Initiative).
As in previous years, the festival brings to town some of the best filmmaking coming out from established and novel cineastas worldwide: Olivier Assayas, Noah Baumbach, Leos Carax, Brian De Palma, Michael Haneke, Abbas Kiarostami, Ang Lee, Cristian Mungiu, Sally Potter, Alain Resnais, Raul Ruiz and Robert Zemeckis.
Richard Peña, speaking about the 32 films participating in this year's festival, says: “The films making up the main slate of this year's NYFF, have in common a general quality of fearlessness" that unites otherwise very disparate works. These are films that go all the way, works willing to take the risk or chance that by doing so they may be bringing audiences to places they might rather not go.”
Latino filmmakers have a prominent role this year with several offerings from Europe, Latin America and the US with a special presence of the late Raúl Ruíz with La noche de enfrente, his last film and Lines of Wellington, film that was finally directed by Valeria Sarmiento after his pasing. Other Latino films include: Tabu, Aquí y Allá, NO, El muerto y ser feliz, The last time I saw Macau, Something in the Air. We will publish more information on these films in upcoming posts.
Award winners will be presented for the first time for New York audiences including: the universally acclaimed winner of the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, AMOUR, Michael Haneke’s portrait of a couple dealing with the ravages of old age, with Haneke returning to NYFF following the presentation of THE WHITE RIBBON in 2009; Christian Petzold’s Cold War thriller, BARBARA, a winner of the SIlver Bear for Best Director at this year’s Berlin Film Festival; Cristian Mungiu’s BEYOND THE HILLS, a portrait of dogma at odds with personal liberty in a society still emerging from the shadow of Communism, featuring screen newcomers Flutur and Stratan who shared the Best Actress prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, where Mungiu also received the Best Screenplay award. The presentation will also mark a return to the film festival by Mungiu (4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS, NYFF 2007).
Two debut features include Antonio Mendez Esparza’s film about the US/Mexican border experience, HERE AND THERE, the winner of the Grand Prize at this year’s Critics Week in Cannes, and Song Fang’s film about a woman that travels from Beijing to Nanjing for a visit with her family, MEMORIES LOOK AT ME, the winner of the Best First Feature prize at this year’s Locarno Film Festival. Pablo Larrain’s engrossing political thriller NO, starring Gael Garcia Bernal, was the winner of the top prize in this year’s Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes, and Miguel Gomes’s surrealist drama TABU was the winner of the Alfred Bauer Prize (for a work of particular innovation) and FIPRESCI (International Film Critics) award at this year’s Berlin Film Festival.
Additional returning NYFF filmmakers are; João Pedro Rodrigues (TO DIE LIKE A MAN, NYFF 2009) with THE LAST TIME I SAW MACAO; Olivier Assayas (CARLOS, NYFF 2010), with SOMETHING IN THE AIR; Lucien Castaing-Taylor (SWEETGRASS, NYFF 2009) and Véréna Paravel (FOREIGN PARTS, NYFF 2010), with LEVIATHAN; Abbas Kiarostami (CERTIFIED COPY, NYFF 2010), with LIKE SOMEONE IN LOVE; and the 90-year-old Alain Resnais, whose MURIEL, OR THE TIME OF RETURN screened at the very first New York Film Festival, returns with YOU AIN’T SEEN NOTHING YET.
A quartet of World Premieres among the main slate lineup include Alan Berliner’s unflinching essay on the fragility of being human, FIRST COUSIN ONCE REMOVED, joining the previously announced Opening Night, Centerpiece and Closing Night Gala trio of Ang Lee’s LIFE OF PI, David Chase’s NOT FADE AWAY and Robert Zemeckis’s FLIGHT.
Founded in 1963, the New York Film Festival is North America’s second oldest film festival, launching just as the auteur theory and European cinematic modernism were crashing upon the shores of American film culture. 50 years later, NYFF continues to introduce audiences to the most exciting, innovative and accomplished works of world cinema.
Additional programming to complement the main-slate of films includes NYFF’s Masterworks programs and Views from the Avant-Garde, which will include additional works by Main Slate filmmakers João Pedro Rodrigues and Raul Ruiz.