New York Film Festival have been releasing small amounts of their final line-up since early June, however, with the latest drop of the documentary list it’s becoming clear that this year’s NYFF will be making serious waves.
If you haven’t been following the drip feed so far, the world premiere of David Fincher’s Gone Girl (which Managing Editor Conor Bateman wrote an essay on early this year) will define the Festival’s Opening Night. Meanwhile, the Closing Night will be marked by the latest film from Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu – Birdman – starring Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough, Amy Ryan, Emma Stone, and Naomi Watts. Both the opening and closing nights are interestingly marked by adaption – Gone Girl being a novel by Gillian Flynn, and Birdman finding its origin in the Raymond Carver novel What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. This came alongside the announcement of a Joseph L. Mankiewicz retrospective, marking initial selections of NYFF’s Revivals section, with All About Eve, The Barefoot Contessa, 5 Fingers, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Guys and Dolls, A Letter to Three Wives, and Julius Caesar all screening as part of the “Joseph L. Mankiewicz: The Essential Iconoclast” retrospective. More recently, Lisandro Alonso was named this year’s Filmmaker in Residence – with his film Jauja (which we caught at MIFF) in the line-up.
A week ago, amidst our coverage of Melbourne International Film Festival, NYFF announced their first 30 films. In the year of adaptation at the festival, joining Gone Girl as a world premiere is Paul Thomas Anderson’s take on Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice – which stars the baffling mix of Reese Witherspoon, Benificio Del Toro, Martin Short, Owen Wilson and Jena Malone. The latest Olivier Assayas film Clouds of Sils Maria will screen staring Juliette Binoche as a middle-aged actress alongside Kristen Stewart in “close meditation on time and how one comes to terms with its passage.” Finally making it’s New York Premiere is Godard’s Adieu au langage, which we caught a while back. David Cronenberg makes his return with Maps to the Stars, featuring the performance that won Julianne Moore Best Actress at Cannes.The latest Hong Sang-Soo – Hill of Freedom – follows quickly on the heels of Our Sunhi, still on the Festival circuit, while Pedro Costa’s meme-cultivating Horse Money will have to continue asserting itself over a increasing amount of photoshopped horse-money creations. Other MIFF-screening films will also be making appearances at NYFF including Resnais’ Life of Riley, Listen Up Phillip, the much-lauded Timbuktu, and SFF-winner Two Days, One Night. With many of these films only making their New York Premiere with NYFF, it’s fascinating to see how the cinematic landscape has been shifting to a more globalised environment that is seeing an increasing amount of major films making their way to our shores before NYC.
Rounding off the hefty pre-announcement announcements, today’s Documentary line-up is jammed with hefty and widely anticipated flicks. The film essay on “what it means to be black in America” by Arthur Jafa, Dreams Are Colder Than Death, the Scorcese and Tedeschi mediation on the New York Review of Books in The 50-Year Argument as well as Frederick Wiseman’s National Gallery (another SFF/MIFF approved flick) have all made strong festival showings and will likely continue this at NYFF. That said, like most festivals the film is screening at, the documentary section is consumed by Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Look of Silence – the sequel to Oppenheimer’s masterpiece The Act of Killing. Forced with following in the footsteps of one of the most important documentaries of the 21st century, Oppenheimer has made a far more delicate and intimate film; one that focuses exclusively on the survivor’s point of view. As the film Oppenheimer originally set out to make when he ventured to Indonesia, there is a global anticipation in the documentary world as to how The Look of Silence will be viewed -as a companion piece, or as a second work of art in its own right. Rober Kenner’s Merchants of Doubt, J.P. Sniadecki’s The Iron Ministry, Albert Maysles’ Iris, and Ethan Hawke’s documentary on Seymour Bernstein are amongst the selection that round of a strong documentary selection.
The full line-up of the festival will likely be colossal and with New York being 4:3’s second home you can expect wide coverage of the festival from the site between September 26 and October 12.