The New York Film Festival, celebrating its 50th anniversary, opening today and running through October 14, includes a main slate of 32 features (five more than last year), directed by world masters and newcomers, and a significant expansion of the sidebar presentations and special events.
Many of the films in the main slate come to New York after having made stops at other world-class festivals and many will open commercially in New York in upcoming months (and I’ll write about them then). But watching a film on Alice Tully Hall’s beautiful giant screen (one of the few remaining in these days of multiplexes and iPhones) is a thrill that can’t be matched.
Michael Haneke’s main slate feature “Amour” (Cannes 2012 Palme d’Or), stars great French actors Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva as a long-married couple dealing with the brutality of age and illness.
The 17 features—restorations, revivals and rediscoveries–in Masterworks are epic: 50th anniversary screening of an 8K digital version of David Lean’s unmatched “Lawrence of Arabia” and the full seven-hour cut of “The Satin Slipper,” directed by unstoppable Manoel de Oliveira, almost 104 and in pre-production on his 61st film. And intimate: Michael Roemer’s 1964 cinema vérité-influenced “Nothing But A Man,” concerned with the social issues challenging a young, newly-married African American couple, starring the incomparable Abby Lincoln.
Created in 1964 by critic and filmmaker Andrew S. Labarthe and Janine Bazin (widow of André Bazin), “Filmmakers of Our Time,” a Masterworks special section, was originally shown on French TV. The series, which became a who’s who of French cinema, enlisted directors to interview colleagues–and in the case of Chantal Akerman, herself.
Avant-garde theater legend Richard Foreman’s first feature, “Once Every Day,” debuting in the Special Events section, watches 25 people performing semi-ritualistic behavior patterns. Oliver Stone, continues to correct the historical record of the United States in the 20th century, with a three-hour preview of his new Showtime miniseries. And for more “fun storming the castle,” “The Princess Bride” will have a 25th anniversary screening, with a reunion of director Rob Reiner and his cast.
A new sidebar section, Cinema Reflected, includes seven documentaries and essay films that turn the camera on the men and women who make movies. Directed by Dheeraj Akolkar, “Liv and Ingmar,” chronicles the spectacular creative partnership between director Ingmar Bergman and actor Liv Ullmann, that survived and thrived long after the end of their personal relationship.
(Click on the names of the films in the photo captions for location, dates and times of New York Film Festival screenings.)