The Playlist

NYFF Wrap: The 4 Best Films, Plus Our Complete Coverage Of The Festival

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • October 15, 2012 3:58 PM
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There are many reasons we like the New York Film Festival, held by the Film Society of Lincoln Center annually for the past 50 years, but among them is that, as most of our contributors are based in NYC, the whole thing is pretty much in our back garden. But even beyond that, it's always been one of the most carefully curated festivals around with a line-up that cherry picks the best from Cannes, TIFF, Venice and elsewhere, and brings them all to the Big Apple.

NYFF: 'Barbara' Director Christian Petzold Talks The Influence Of 'Klute' & Reveals What He Plans To Do Next

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • October 15, 2012 10:04 AM
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When the wall came down, German filmmakers found themselves ushered into two clusters: those that concentrated on the country’s fascist past and the others that shined light on anything else. The latter clique was hailed as pushing the medium forward; they often dabbled in social-realism with little dialogue and snail-like pacing -- and though their box office receipts were low in comparison to their brother faction, they seduced international audiences and held their ground at many of the world’s foremost film festivals. As the first and second generation of directors emerging after the split, the media dubbed their movement the “Berlin School” (a moniker they’re not thrilled over) and the team pressed on making films, a trio of them even coming together to shoot a “Red Riding”-esque trilogy in “Dreileben.”

NYFF: Robert Zemeckis And Cast Discuss The Making Of 'Flight'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • October 14, 2012 3:25 PM
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In "Flight," Robert Zemeckis makes a return to the world of live-action filmmaking with the story of Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington), a pilot who performs a heroic task in engaging in risky aerial manuevers to save a crashing plane. But the morality is not that simple, as Whitaker saves one hundred lives while inebriated. However, misconception has dogged the project since its inception, and screenwriter John Gatins was on hand during the New York Film Festival screening to clarify that the story is not based on the 2009 crash where a plane was preserved by controversial pilot Chealsey "Sully" Sullenberger.

NYFF Review: Promising Alcoholism Drama ‘Flight’ Often Hits Rock Bottom

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • October 14, 2012 2:35 PM
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  • 4 Comments
After 12 years immersed (lost?) in the world of motion-capture, Robert Zemeckis re-emerges into live-action filmmaking for “Flight,” an engaging and initially very promising drama about alcoholism, redemption and forgiveness that grows uneven and long winded as it progresses, clocking in just under 2 hours and 20 minutes. Featuring a thrilling and terrifying opening, plus potent and moving elements of a conventional but admirable morality drama, “Flight" is often undone by its very unsubtle choices and its problematic and strained last act.

NYFF: Director Peter Strickland Talks 'Berberian Sound Studio,' Toby Jones & The Forced Digital Revolution

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • October 13, 2012 1:03 PM
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Aspiring filmmakers should take note of British helmer Peter Strickland -- with few shorts under his belt and a small wad of cash (about £25,000 which was spent mostly on film stock), the director headed to Hungary and shot an atmospheric, deeply nuanced movie and spent the next two years tweaking the edit and soundsphere. “Katalin Varga” was born, and though its distribution left something to be desired, the movie itself was one of the most impressive feature debuts in a long time -- cheaply shot on celluloid and highly masterful, absent were the hiccups or generous shots of people-talking-in-apartments that are contained in most first feature attempts.

NYFF Review: 'Camille Rewinds' A Sweet Trifle Of A Time Travel Story

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • October 13, 2012 11:30 AM
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  • 1 Comment
The very first scene of “Camille Rewinds” features forty-something Camille (writer-director Noemie Lvovsky) lying in bed for a film crew, as she remains still while her throat is cut via movie magic, fake blood spurting from a pump hammered by a crew member. It’s just one of many deaths for the actress, a winking foreshadowing of the playfulness of the following film, and the malleability of what will become her identity. It’s also a commentary on forty-something actresses, and how the well usually dries up for performers who don’t want to be stuck playing mothers. If you would guess these are based in truth, you would be correct, and if you guessed these were fairly obvious points, then you’ve realized “Camille Rewinds” is as broad as the day is long.

NYFF Review: 'Casting By' A Wonderfully Entertaining Doc Shining A Light On The Art of Casting

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • October 13, 2012 10:31 AM
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In the early days, actors signed multi-film contracts and became “studio players.” This meant that they were wedded to each production company, assigned to a number of different films each year playing a role probably familiar to their last. Actors were cogs in a machine, and it was rare that someone worked their way up from small-time character actor to full-blown star. If you looked like a Leading Man, you became a Leading Man, or you were soon out of the business. There’s a whole generation of filmgoers that don’t understand that non-traditional casting is a relatively contemporary invention, and for them, the documentary “Casting By” should prove to be tremendously enlightening.

NYFF: Cristian Mungiu Disappointed With Church Reaction To 'Beyond The Hills,' Talks The Lack Of Romanian Cinema Culture

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • October 12, 2012 3:04 PM
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Cristian’s Mungiu’s “Beyond the Hills” took two substantial awards at its Cannes premiere -- Best Screenplay and Best Actress -- but this writer still can’t help but think word has been unfairly quiet about the rather phenomenal film after the Croisette cleared. Employing a much more refined aesthetic previously used in “4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days,” the filmmaker’s newest tackles rigid faith, emotional/spiritual turmoil, and grave indifference. Up at an Orthodox Church in rural Romania, Voichita (Cosmina Straten) meets with estranged best friend Alina (Cristina Flutur) and allows her to temporarily stay at the convent before leaving for Germany. Both former orphans (with a deeper relationship hinted at), the newcomer disapproves of Voichita’s religious calling and believes that she will join her in the move -- but when that doesn’t happen, both go to disastrous lengths to set the other on what they think is the right path.

NYFF: How David Fincher's 'Zodiac,' 'Koyaanisqatsi,' Mr. Plinkett & More Inspired 'Room 237'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • October 12, 2012 10:13 AM
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“The Shining” has burrowed its way into the heads of filmgoers for years now, becoming a perennial pick as one of the greatest horror films of all-time. But there’s always been something more than sinister and unique lying underneath the surface of “The Shining” in it’s paradoxes, contradictions, and flat-out mysteries. The new documentary “Room 237,” which recently showed at the New York Film Festival, casts a light on some of these theories, but the focus isn’t on what “The Shining” is about (which could be American Indians, the moon landing, or sexual abuse), but rather what it means to become obsessed by a film, vexed and perplexed by the meanings between the lines, the truth, or the lies, that manifest when we begin to consume a film far beyond what’s comfortable.

NYFF Review: 'Leviathan' An Otherworldly Peek At A Life At Sea

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • October 11, 2012 8:59 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Every sound in “Leviathan” is a shuddering staccato. Every visual wears darkness like a cloak. With absolutely no context, there’s no awareness of what’s up or down. When it is promoted, the ads will suggest “Leviathan” is a documentary, and a scan of the press notes will reveal exactly where the film is set, and what’s taking place onscreen. But those peripheral elements are not the text, they are distraction. The experience of “Leviathan” is wholly singular, without context, enveloping and immersive. In some ways, it might very well be the most terrifying picture of the year.

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