Director Laurent Cantet (with Festival Director Richard Peña) discusses "The Class," which will open the NYFF on Sept. 26
Film #1-"The Class"- I loved this story of a multicultural junior high school class in France, directed to glide along masterfully. The hopes and compromises of one teacher for his developing students is a nuanced, emotional ride. In the Q&A, Cantet said that he went to school in a small village in Provence, where the homogenous student body was nothing like the urban class he depicts, but he believes that diversity is enriching for students.
Director Kelly Reichardt (with critic J. Hoberman) discusses "Wendy and Lucy"
Film #2-"Wendy and Lucy"- Michelle Williams is one of my favorite actresses, but in this film she seems miscast as homeless, helpless, and friendless. If her character, Wendy, had been younger, older, or somehow "other," I might have found the story plausible. Nevertheless, I enjoyed watching the gentle film and Reichardt's dog was fun to see as Lucy.
Film #3- "Hunger"- The third screening today was a troubling, bloody drama based on IRA member Bobby Sands and the 1981 hunger strike he waged. The cinematography is breathtaking in this riveting story. Director Steve McQueen was not in attendance.
I was trying something new with this blog post. After seeing each film today, I wrote an update. Not sure if that's the best way to handle this(?) Anyway, I have some busy weeks coming up, so going forward I'll be reporting on the NYFF films on an ad hoc basis.