By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act August 17, 2011 at 5:11AM
I'm all giddy about this year's New York Film Festival (or the American Cannes as I like to call it), after having a blast covering last years edition.
The Film Society Of Lincoln Center here in NYC has been teasing us with opening night, centerpiece, special and closing night films for this year's festival, and, thus far, I've drooled at most of what I've heard. New titles from David Cronenberg (A Dangerous Method) Roman Polanski (Carnage) and Pedro Almodovar (The Skin I Live In), have already been announced, and today, the festival's main slate of films has been revealed.
Of note, a film we've given so much coverage to on this site, Steve McQueen's sophomore effort, Shame, which stars Michael Fassbender, Nicole Beharie and Carey Mulligan, is in the lineup! Needless to say, that's one film I will make sure I don't miss (with a review to follow of course; I already read and reviewed the script which you can read HERE if you haven't already).
Also, Aki Kaurismäki's Le Havre, which centers on a shoeshiner who tries to save an African immigrant child in the French port city of Le Havre (hence the title) is also in the festival's lineup. The film played at Cannes earlier this year, though I don't believe MsWOO saw it while she was there. The premise doesn't immediately draw me in for obvious reasons, but it is because of that premise that I'll be seeing the film (I'm also familiar with Kaurismäki's work, though I can't say I'm a big fan). But the film (a comedy/drama) has been well-received thus far.
Other names of note - Lars Von Trier's Melancholia is a must-see for me. I don't always love the man's work, but he's rarely boring; frequently provocative.
Wim Wenders, Martin Scorsese, George Clooney, Abel Ferrara, Bela Tarr and Alexander Payne are all in the mix with new films; and several others.
I should note that this list is just the first announcement of the NYFF's 2011 slate; there will be more titles to come, and I'm hoping to see even more films we've written about here on upcoming lists.
For now, here's what's been made public:
NEW YORK, August 17, 2011 —The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced today that Alexander Payne’s THE DESCENDANTS will be the Closing Night Gala selection for the 49th New York Film Festival (September 30-October 16). NYFF’s main slate of 27 feature films was also announced as well as a return to the festival stage of audience favorite, On Cinema (previously titled The Cinema Inside Me), featuring an in-depth, illustrated conversation with Alexander Payne.
The 2011 edition of NYFF will also feature a unique blend of programming to complement the main-slate of films, including: the Masterworks programs, additional titles added to the previously announced BEN-HUR, Nicholas Ray’s WE CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN and Velvet Bullets and Steel Kisses: Celebrating the Nikkatsu Centennial, as well as Views from the Avant-Garde, and several special event screenings, all of which will be announced in more detail shortly.
“In many of the films in this year’s Festival, characters pass from recognition of a problem or situation to actual resistance,” says Richard Peña, Selection Committee Chair & Program Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center, “This confrontational attitude is perhaps a sign of our increasingly polarized times.”
In his first film since the Oscar-winning SIDEWAYS, writer-director Alexander Payne once again proves himself a master of the kind of smart, sharp, deeply felt comedy that was once the hallmark of Billy Wilder and Jean Renoir. Based on the bestselling novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings, THE DESCENDANTS stars George Clooney as ‘Matt King’, the heir of a prominent Hawaiian land-owning family whose life is turned upside-down when his wife is critically injured in a boating accident. Accustomed to being “the back-up parent,” King suddenly finds himself center stage in the lives of his two young daughters (excellent newcomers Shailene Woodley and Amara Miller), while at the same time being forced to decide the fate of a vast plot of unspoiled land his family has owned since the 1860s. Rooted in Clooney’s beautifully understated performance, Payne’s film is an uncommonly perceptive portrait of marriage, family and community, suffused with humor and tragedy and wrapped in a warm human glow.
Screening at Alice Tully Hall on Sunday, October 16, Alexander Payne’s THE DESCENDANTS marks the filmmakers 3rd visit to the New York Film Festival; previous titles presented were ABOUT SCHMIDT and SIDEWAYS. Fox Searchlight is releasing the filmon November 23, 2011.
Since making his debut with CITIZEN RUTH in 1996, Oscar-winning writer-director Alexander Payne (ABOUT SCHMIDT, SIDEWAYS) has emerged as one of the most gifted voices in American movies today, the maker of wry, sharp-edged human comedies that recall the best of Billy Wilder, Ernst Lubitsch and Jean Renoir. He is also a passionate cinephile who has served as a past guest director of the Telluride Film Festival and an outspoken advocate for film preservation. In the third edition of NYFF’s now-annual master class, On Cinema, Payne will discuss his own personal history of cinema in extended conversation with NYFF selection committee chairman Richard Peña, featuring clips from the films that inspired and influenced him and an audience Q&A.
Rose Kuo, Executive Director, The Film Society of Lincoln Center, said, “We are delighted to welcome back Alexander Payne to the New York Film Festival. Payne's nuanced character studies capture the moral chaos lurking just below the surface of everyday American lives. ELECTION, ABOUT SCHMIDT, SIDEWAYS and now THE DESCENDANTS are sophisticated comedy dramas that have marked him as one of the unique and distinctive talents in contemporary American cinema and we cannot think of a stronger conclusion to the festival’s remarkable lineup of films. From established masters to newly discovered talents, this year's selection demonstrates the New York Film Festival’s commitment to providing a platform for the most exciting voices in cinema.”
The 49th New York Film Festival main-slate:
Opening Night Gala Selection
Director: Roman Polanski
Centerpiece Gala Selection
MY WEEK WITH MARILYN
Director: Simon Curtis
Special Gala Presentations
A DANGEROUS METHOD
Director: David Cronenberg
THE SKIN I LIVE IN
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Closing Night Gala Selection
Director: Alexander Payne
4:44: LAST DAY ON EARTH
Director: Abel Ferrara
Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Director: Alice Rohrwacher
Director: Joseph Cedar
GEORGE HARRISON: LIVING IN THE MATERIAL WORLD
Director: Martin Scorsese
GOODBYE FIRST LOVE
Director: Mia Hansen-Løve
THE KID WITH A BIKE
Director: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
Director: Aki Kaurismäki
THE LONELIEST PLANET
Director: Julia Loktev
MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE
Director: Sean Durkin
Director: Lars von Trier
Director: Gerardo Naranjo
ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA
Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Director: Wim Wenders
Director: Ruben Östlund
Director: Nadav Lapid
Director: Asghar Farhadi
Director: Steve McQueen
Director: Ulrich Köhler
Director: Santiago Mitre
THIS IS NOT A FILM
Director: Jafar Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb
THE TURIN HORSE
Director: Béla Tarr and Agnes Hranitzky
General Public tickets will be available September 12th. There will be an advance ticketing opportunity for Film Society of Lincoln Center Patrons and Members prior to that date. For more information visit www.Filmlinc.com/NYFF or call 212 875 5601.