By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood August 23, 2013 at 12:32PM
UPDATE: NYFF has added Japanese helmer Kiyoshi Kurosawa's "Real" to its main slate of films. This is the director's first feature since 2008's "Tokyo Sonata."
The film recently had its festival premiere at Locarno. Here's the official synopsis:
REAL is Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s first feature since his 2008 TOKYO SONATA (which was an NYFF Main Slate selection as was his film, LICENSE TO LIVE in 1999), and is at once the most romantic and tender film of his career, and entirely consistent with the rest of his unparalleled body of work. It is also, as always, as visually and tonally exquisite as it is unsettling. A star manga artist (Haruka Ayase) is in a coma, the result perhaps of a suicide attempt. In an experimental medical procedure, her husband (Takeru Satô) enters her unconscious in an attempt to awaken her. But when one psyche merges with another, mirror opposites are the possible, troubling result. A haunting successor to the mother of all time travel films, Chris Marker’s LA JETÉE, with a tip of the hat to Bong Joon-ho’s THE HOST, REAL finds its mysteries in the ordinary. What does it mean to be coupled? Can love conquer death? A unique film from one of the most unique artists in contemporary cinema.
EARLIER: The 51st New York Film Festival has added its main selection of 35 features including new films by Catherine Breillat, Richard Curtis, Claire Denis, Arnaud Desplechin, James Franco, Claude Lanzmann, Hong Sang-soo and Frederick Wiseman. The Festival opens September 27 with Paul Greengrass's "Captain Phillips," and closes with Spike Jonze’s "Her" on October 13, with Ben Stiller's "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" as the centerpiece gala.
As usual, much of the NYFF program is comprised of the usual suspects from Cannes, including J.C. Chandor's "All is Lost," starring Robert Redford; Joel and Ethan Coen's Cannes Grand Prix-winner "Inside Llewyn Davis"; Alexander Payne's "Nebraska," starring Cannes Best Actor-winner Bruce Dern; Palme d'Or-winner "Blue is the Warmest Color"; Jia Zhangke’s Cannes screenplay winner "A Touch of Sin"; Jim Jarmusch's "Only Lovers Left Alive"; and James Gray's "The Immigrant." Others will make their debuts in Telluride, Venice or Toronto, such as Ralph Fiennes' Charles Dickens biopic "The Invisible Woman" from Sony Pictures Classics.
NYFF’s Director of Programming and Selection Committee Chair Kent Jones praised the diversity of the main slate selection, "which includes documentaries, biographies, comedies, adventures, epics, chamber pieces, elegies, explorations and affirmations.”
Also from Cannes is Rithy Panh’s "THe Missing Picture," winner of the Certain Regard Prize, and Hany Abu-Assad’s "Omar," which won the Certain Regard Jury Prize. Additional award winners are Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson’s "American Promise," which won a U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and Sebastián Lelio’s "Gloria," whose star Pauline Garcia took home the Berlin Film Festival’s Silver Bear for Best Actress.
British comedies make a significant dent in this year’s main slate, with Richard Curtis’s time travel romantic comedy "About Time," starring Bill Nighy and Rachel McAdams; Declan Lowney’s "Alan Partridge," which brings Steve Coogan’s television character to the big screen for the first time; and Roger Michell’s "Le Week-End," featuring Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan as a couple visiting Paris with hopes of rekindling their relationship.
Documentary filmmaking legends Claude Lanzmann and Frederick Wiseman each make their third appearances in NYFF’s official program, returning with "The Last of the Unjust," a portrait of Benjamin Murmelstein, the last Jewish elder of Theresienstadt and "At Berkeley," respectively.