The 49th New York Film Festival has announced their Masterworks and Special Anniversary screenings that will show between the festival’s seventeen days, September 30th – October 16th. The Masterworks program and the festival’s additional programming will provide audiences with exciting opportunities to explore new film-making styles and storytelling events. To learn more about the Masterworks and Anniversary films, please check out below for full synopsis and details.
MASTERWORKS AND SPECIAL ANNIVERSARY SCREENINGS
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Masterworks: THE GOLD RUSH
Chaplin’s personal favorite among his own films, THE GOLD RUSH (1925), is a beautifully constructed comic fable of fate and perseverance, set in the icy wastes of the Alaskan gold fields. Re-released by Chaplin in 1942 in a recut version missing some scenes, and with added narration and musical score, THE GOLD RUSH will be presented in a new restoration of the original, silent 1925 version. In this frequently terrifying and always unpredictable universe of natural and human savagery packed with avalanches, wild bears, predatory dance hall girls and murderous claim-jumpers, the incomparable Gentleman-Tramp arrives, seeking his fortune and facing every imaginable threat to life and limb. The film contains one of Chaplin’s classic comic set pieces in which he elegantly cooks and eats his boot to fend off starvation. THE GOLD RUSH blends action, slapstick comedy and sentiment seamlessly, making it one of the most beloved of Charles Chaplin’s works. The screening features a new score restoration by Timothy Brock (his ninth, commissioned by the Chaplin Estate) live musical accompaniment conducted by Brock and performed by musicians from the NY Philharmonic.
A little-known classic of Latin American cinema, INVASIÓN (1969) was the first work conceived specifically for the cinema by the great Jorge Luis Borges, in collaboration with his friend Adolfo Bioy Casares. A kind of updating of The Illiad that breathlessly morphs from police thriller to dream-like fantasy, the film is set in Aquiléa, a city that looks a lot like Buenos Aires currently under siege by sinister forces. A group of middle-aged men, led by a somewhat older man, resolve to mount resistance to the invaders. Meetings are held, maps are studied, strategies are proposed—but can the invasion really be overcome? A former assistant to Bresson here making his feature film debut, Hugo Santiago with INVASIÓN created a work that is lyrical, unsettling and infinitely suggestive.
Masterworks: YOU ARE NOT I
A haunting adaptation of a 1948 short story by Paul Bowles about a woman who escapes from an asylum, YOU ARE NOT I (1981) played widely in the international film festival circuit in the early Eighties. Then, a leak in a New Jersey warehouse destroyed the negative, leaving director Sara Driver with only a battered, copy that could not be projected. Miraculously, a print was found among the holdings of Paul Bowles just three years ago, and now the film has been restored and is available once again. Undoubtedly one of the most impressive works to emerge from the post-punk downtown scene, the film was beautifully shot by Jim Jarmusch (who also co-wrote the screenplay) and features Suzanne Fletcher, Nan Goldin and Luc Sante. The screening will mark the world premiere of the rediscovered and restored version of the film.
50 Years of the New York Film Festival: THE EXTERMINATING ANGEL
In anticipation of the New York Film Festival’s historic 50th edition in the fall of 2012, the Film Society is proud to inaugurate a year-long retrospective of highlights from the festival’s past 49 editions, curated by current and former members of the NYFF selection committee. We begin with the opening night film of the very first NYFF, Luis Buñuel’s THE EXTERMINATING ANGEL, described by festival director Richard Roud thusly: “For ninety hypnotic minutes Buñuel shatters all conventional notions of social logic and ethics. Never before has he been able to give such free reign to his vitality, wit and iconoclasm, his power to surprise and shock. Buñuel has been a great name in world cinema for over thirty years now, and we are proud to open the first New York Film Festival with his most remarkable film.”
New Wave presents THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS 10th Anniversary Screening
The Film Society’s young patrons group, New Wave, presents a special screening of Wes Anderson’s beloved contemporary classic—a world premiere at the 2001 NYFF—on the occasion of its 10th anniversary. A true American original, Anderson mingles romance, tragedy, social observation and unforgettable characters in his buoyant third feature, about a family of eccentric geniuses living in a parallel New York (where Helvetica is the only typeface and all cabs are Gypsies). Gene Hackman is perfection as Royal Tenenbaum, the erratic, unscrupulous paterfamilias, long banished by his orderly wife (Anjelica Huston). Now, faking an illness, he returns home to settle accounts with his estranged children: a financial whiz (Ben Stiller), a failed playwright (Gwyneth Paltrow), and a retired tennis champion (Luke Wilson). The screening will be followed by an on-stage reunion of Anderson and other members of the cast and crew.
Anniversary Screenings Celebrating Animation Legend Hayao Miyazaki
25th Anniversary Screening of CASTLE IN THE SKY
The third feature film directed by Japanese animation legend Hayao Miyazaki—and the first produced under the aegis of his Studio Ghibli—takes place in a world where vast flying cities and castles once filled the skies, but now only one, named Laputa, remains. Sinister army officers and mercenary sky pirates variously seek the floating isle for their own purposes, but as usual in Miyazaki, a plucky young girl, Sheeta, reliably stays one step ahead of them all. Loosely inspired by Gulliver’s Travels, with an arresting visual design based in part on a visit Miyazaki once paid to a Welsh mining town, this exuberant, one-of-a-kind adventure fantasy, presented here in a new 35mm print, is certain to delight kids and kids-at-heart of all ages.
10th Anniversary Screening of SPIRITED AWAY
Miiyazaki’s Oscar-winning triumph follows the whimsical and occasionally terrifying adventures of 10-year-old Chihiro, who becomes trapped in a strange spirit world after an evil witch transforms her parents into pigs. Taking a job as an attendant in the witch’s sprawling bathhouse, Chihiro, now known as Sen, must find a way to rescue her parents—and herself—before she forgets her real name and stays trapped forever. A beautifully drawn coming-of-age story, with sharp observations on Japanese societal change, SPIRITED AWAY surpassed TITANIC as the biggest domestic box-office hit in Japanese history before becoming Miyazaki’s breakthrough film in the United States.
20 Years of Art Cinema: A Tribute to Sony Pictures Classics and screening of James Ivory’s HOWARDS END
Twenty years ago this December, former Orion Classics co-presidents Michael Barker, Tom Bernard and Marcie Bloom launched Sony Pictures Classics, instantly setting a new gold standard for the distribution of independent and foreign-language cinema in America. Their inaugural release, HOWARDS END, grossed more than $25 million at the U.S. box office and earned nine Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. In the two decades since, the hits have kept on coming, including three additional Best Picture nominees (CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON; CAPOTE; and AN EDUCATION), 10 winners of the Foreign Language Film Oscar, and eight New York Film Festival opening nights, including this year’s CARNAGE. On the occasion of their 20th anniversary, we salute the Sony Classics team with a look back at their remarkable career, including film clips and an in-depth conversation with Barker and Bernard moderated by NYFF selection committee chairman Richard Peña. The discussion will be followed by a screening of James Ivory’s HOWARDS END (1992).
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS: DOCUMENTARIES
ANDREW BIRD: FEVER YEAR
With his stirring, soulful vocals, eccentric violin plucking and whistling, and music that ranges from blues to calypso to rock, electronic and just about everything in between, Andrew Bird has built on the basis of live performances and 20 albums an impressive international fan base. Yet now, moving into his late thirties, he wonders how much longer he can keep up the pace of 150+ concert dates a year, as well as what slowing down might mean to his career. Chock full of concert and private Bird performances, Xan Aranda’s ANDREW BIRD: FEVER YEAR offers a look into the life of a remarkable contemporary musician and composer for whom each day, despite all his success, is still a struggle.
THE BALLAD OF MOTT THE HOOPLE
Storming out of Hereford, England in the late Sixties, Mott the Hoople became one of British rock’s most popular live acts. Yet, their records failed to reach audiences, and the band was on the verge of breaking up when one of their fans, a certain David Bowie, wrote “All the Young Dudes” for them; reborn, they zoomed to the top of the charts—and that’s really when the trouble started. A record of the rise, fall, rise and eventual disintegration of one of the era’s iconic bands, THE BALLAD OF MOTT THE HOOPLE also recounts the story of Guy Stevens, the band’s explosively brilliant manager. Accurate, insightful and full of never-before seen interviews and concert footage, Mike Kerry and Chris Hall’s terrific film is simply rock history at its best. Rock legend Ian Hunter will attend the festival and participate in a Q&A following the film’s screenings.
CORMAN’S WORLD: EXPLOITS OF A HOLLYWOOD REBEL
Mention the name Roger Corman and you conjure up a whole world of movie-making: screaming young women in tight sweaters, lumbering monsters creeping out of shadows, shock movie posters. Yet beyond that somewhat sentimentalized image of the “King of the Bs” was a producer who prospered at a time when so much of Hollywood was collapsing, all the while nurturing talents ranging from Martin Scorsese, Peter Bogdanovich and Jonathan Demme to Jack Nicholson, Pam Grier and Robert De Niro; eventually, even Ingmar Bergman and Akira Kurosawa would be associated with him. Alex Stapleton’s engaging and well-informed study offers a rich context for assessing Corman’s importance for cinema, with insightful and often hilarious testimony from friends and disciples. USA, 2011, 95 min. We will also present a rare screening of Roger Corman’s THE INTRUDER (1962, 84 min.), starring William Shatner as a mysterious man who arrives in a small Southern town on the eve of integration.
A sequel of sorts to LA DANSE, his 2009 portrait of the Paris Opera Ballet, the 39th feature by documentary master Frederick Wiseman takes us behind and in front of the scenes at another storied Paris cultural institution: the Crazy Horse erotic cabaret, now in its 60th year of continuous operation. In his signature observational style, Wiseman makes us a fly on the wall as the Crazy Horse team prepares a new revue, taking us from auditions and costume fittings to rehearsals and finally the highly seductive numbers themselves, filmed in shimmering close-up. Along the way, Wiseman steals remarkable glances at performers getting into character and directors and technicians battling management as they strive to perfect the aesthetics of desire. The result is an exuberant, one-of-a-kind musical valentine to the City of Light and the art of making art.
DON’T EXPECT TOO MUCH
In this feature-length companion piece to (the previously announced) Nicholas Ray’s WE CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN, Ray’s widow, Susan, examines her late husband’s stormy romance with Hollywood, his self-imposed exile in Europe, and his eventual return to America, where he began work on the wildly experimental magnum opus that would become his final cinematic testament. Incorporating never-before-seen archival picture and sound from the Nicholas Ray Archive, and new interviews with directors Victor Erice and Jim Jarmusch and many of the original cast and crew of WE CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN, DON’T EXPECT TOO MUCH offers a revealing portrait of a great director’s life, work and lasting influence. North American premiere.
MUSIC ACCORDING TO TOM JOBIM
Composer/performer Antonio Carlos “Tom” Jobim introduced Brazil and bossa nova to the world with “The Girl from Ipanema.” He went on to write literally dozens of classics songs recorded by the international royalty of pop music. Legendary Brazilian director Nelson Pereira dos Santos has now created this loving, tuneful tribute to Jobim, featuring extraordinary renditions of Jobim standards by artists ranging from Judy Garland, Dizzy Gillespie, Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald to Caetano Veloso, Gal Costa, Chico Buarque and Lisa Ono. A veritable carnival of musical styles and approaches, all celebrating the unique artistry of Tom Jobim.
PARADISE LOST 3: PURGATORY
Don’t worry if you missed the first two parts of Emmy-winning documentarians Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky’s epic chronicle of the “West Memphis Three,” Arkansas teens convicted of the 1993 murders of three eight-year-old boys. The third film in a trilogy, PARADISE LOST 3: PURGATORY features never-before seen footage and quickly catches you up on this lightning-rod case, initially tried without a shred of physical evidence and amidst hysterical claims of satanic cultism. We then flash forward to the present, where the accused await their final appeal and staggering new revelations further point to a gross miscarriage of justice. A remarkable journey filmed over 18 years, the film follows an American tragedy, and capped by an extraordinary reversal of fortune. PARADISE LOST 3: PURGATORY (which will air on HBO in 2012) is also a profound meditation on the passage of time, lives interrupted, and salvation too long in coming.
PATIENCE (AFTER SEBALD)
A multi-layered, highly original essay on landscape, history, art, life and loss, PATIENCE (AFTER SEBALD)offers a unique exploration of the work of W.G. Sebald. Structured as a journey through the coastal Suffolk landscapes described in Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn—one of the most highly praised and hotly discussed literary works of recent years—the film avoids typical art documentary strategies, weaving commentaries by artists and critics such as Robert McFarlane, Rick Moody, Adam Phillips, Tacita Dean and Chris Petit into a rich aural tapestry that offers a revealing counterpoint to images of places and things described in the book. The result is not an adaptation or explanation of Sebald, but a kind of aesthetic response to his work.
Soon after the first reports came about the occupation of Tahrir Square, filmmaker Stefano Savona headed for Cairo, where he stayed, amidst the ever-growing masses in the Square, for weeks. His film introduces us to young Egyptians such as Elsayed, Noha and Ahmed, spending all day and night talking, shouting, singing, and finally expressing everything they were forbidden to say out loud until now. As the protests grow in intensity, the regime’s repression becomes more violent, with the terrifying potential for massacre never far away. TAHRIR is a film written in the faces, hands, and voices of those who experienced this period in the Square. It is a day-to-day account of the revolution, capturing the anger, fear, resolve and finally elation of those who made it happen.
For over two decades, Vito Russo was a ubiquitous presence in New York, a ravenous, tireless cinephile and critic who became one of the earliest, most important voices in the struggle for gay rights. His two passions came together in an extraordinary book, The Celluloid Closet, a groundbreaking study of gay and lesbian imagery and themes in movies that remains a landmark in the field. Now Jeffrey Schwarz, using some incredible period footage as well as the testimonies of those who knew him best, has created this heartfelt, insightful portrait of Vito that serves simultaneously as a revealing chronicle of the birth of contemporary gay culture and of later AIDS activism. VITO is an HBO Documentary Film that will premiere on the network in 2012.
THE 99 – UNBOUND
Kuwaiti clinical psychologist—and comic book fan—Naif A. Al-Mutawa wondered what a set of comic heroes based on Islamic archetypes might look like. The result? THE 99, a posse of super-powered heroes based on derivatives of the 99 attributes of Allah; there’s Bari the Healer, Darr the Afflicter, Hadya the Guide, and Jabbar the Powerful—an international selection of young people each given their powers by the mysterious Noor Stones. Currently published in nine languages and having recently joined forces with Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman in a special series published by DC Comics, THE 99 can now be seen here in its first animated feature film, directed by Dave Osborne. Bring the kids! Afterwards, Dr. Al-Mutawa will be on hand to discuss the ideas behind the project and some of his plans for introducing THE 99 to America.
A Conversation with Susan Orlean: “Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend” with Noel Smith’s CLASH OF THE WOLVES
Writer Susan Orlean (The Orchid Thief) has turned a childhood fascination with the greatest of canine movie heroes into a wonderful new book that chronicles the triumphs and tragedies of the Rin Tin Tin dynasty. Orlean will offer a talk on Rin Tin Tin in the movies, as well as introduce and discuss Noel Smith’s CLASH OF THE WOLVES (1925), the movie that made Rinny a box office sensation. Copies of Ms. Orleans’ Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend will be available for purchase.
Dreileben: Three Films
NYFF audiences who feasted on such epic, multi-part television projects as the Red Riding Trilogy, Carlos and Mysteries of Lisbon are sure to enjoy this remarkable meeting of three of the brightest talents at work in contemporary German cinema. For Dreileben, directors Christian Petzold (Yella, Jerichow), Dominik Graf (A Map of the Heart) and Christoph Hochhäusler (The City Below) have each made a feature-length film on the same general subject—the escape of a convicted criminal in a small central German town—but told from completely different points of view and in radically contrasting filmmaking styles: one as an offbeat youth romance, one as a Big Chill-style relationship drama, and one as a tense police procedural. Taken together, these compulsively watchable films make for generous entertainment and a fascinating exercise in the polymorphous possibilities of storytelling.
Dreileben Part 1: Beats Being Dead
A convicted killer, released under police custody to pay his last respects to his late mother, escapes from a country hospital at the start of director Christian Petzold’s genre-bending, wonderfully unpredictable Beats Being Dead. But the film soon comes to center on the story of two star-crossed lovers: Johannes (Jacob Matschenz), a shy young hospital orderly, and Bosnian refugee Ana (Luna Mijovic), whom Johannes nobly rescues from the clutches of her abusive biker boyfriend. In the background, a police manhunt proceeds apace, while in the foreground Petzold reminds us there is sometimes nothing as dangerous as first love.
Dreileben Part 2: Don’t Follow Me Around
In the trilogy’s second chapter, Jo (Jeanette Hain), a big-city police psychologist, arrives in Dreileben to aid in the ongoing investigation, whereupon she finds herself greeted cooly by the local authorities but welcomed with open arms by Vera (Susanne Wolff), a college friend who lives nearby with her husband, a pretentious author. As the girlfriends reminisce about bygone days and discover they were both once in love with the same man, director Dominik Graf deftly juxtaposes their personal drama against the search for a killer, a police corruption scandal, and a possible case of interspecies transmutation—all underlining the trilogy’s recurring themes of false appearances and deeply hidden truths.
Dreileben Part 3: One Minute of Darkness
The Dreileben trilogy comes to a nail-biting close with director Christoph Hochhäusler’s expert thriller, which also brings escaped felon Molosch—a peripheral character in the first two parts—into sharp focus. Hot on the killer’s trail, grizzled police inspector Marcus (Eberhard Kirchberg) tries to put himself inside the mind of the criminal, even as he begins to wonder if the condemned man really is guilty as charged. Meanwhile, as Molosch (brilliantly played by Stefan Kurt) flees deeper into Dreileben’s possibly enchanted forest, he has an unexpectedly tender encounter with a young runaway girl—scenes that echo the Frankenstein story and transform One Minute of Darkness into a dark, memorably strange fairy tale.
FROM MORNING TILL MIDNIGHT (with The Alloy Orchestra) and A TRIP TO THE MOON
FROM MORNING TILL MIDNIGHT
This stunning adaptation of Georg Kaiser’s play pushed the Expressionist stylization of sets, costumes and gestures introduced by THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI (made a few months earlier) to such a radical point that German movie theaters refused to show it; long thought lost, a print was found and preserved by the National Film Center of Japan in the 1980s. Bored with his provincial, humdrum middle-class life as a bank teller, “the Cashier,” (a great performance by Ernst Deutsch) embezzles a considerable sum of money and heads to the city, where in no time he’s on a downward spiral. Of special note is the bicycle race, surely one of the most amazing sequences in silent cinema. The Alloy Orchestra has created a new score for this legendary work, which it will perform live at both shows. Thanks to the National Film Center of Japan for making this screening possible.
A TRIP TO THE MOON(La voyage dans la lune)
More than a century after its first release—and on the 150th anniversary of its creator’s birth—a fully restored color version of cinematic pioneer George Méliès’ 1902 science-fiction classic A Trip to the Moon is once again visible on screen. Long considered lost, a heavily damaged copy of the hand-painted film was anonymously donated in the 1990s to the Barcelona Cinematheque, and in 2010 an ambitious restoration project was launched by Lobster Films, Groupama Gan Foundation for Cinema and the Technicolor Foundation for Cinema Heritage. Thanks to state-of-the-art digital technology, the fragments of the 13, 375 frames have been reassembled and restored one by one. The stunning result screens here with a new original soundtrack by the French band Air.
Oliver Stone’s The Untold History of the United States
For much of his remarkable career, three-time Oscar-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone has set about exposing errors and omissions in the official record of such key moments in American history as the JFK assassination, the Vietnam War, and the Nixon administration. In his hugely ambitious new project, The Untold History of the United States, Stone puts nothing less than the entire 20th century under a microscope, with results that are sobering, surprising and sure to be controversial. Produced as a 10-part miniseries for Showtime (where it will premiere in 2012), we are thrilled to present this special sneak preview of Untold History‘s first three chapters, which focus on the events leading up to America’s entrance into World War II, the war itself, and the unjustly forgotten figure of former U.S. Vice President Henry Wallace. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Stone, co-writer Peter Kuznick, historian Douglas Brinkley (Rice University) and journalist Jonathan Schell (The Nation).
“Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark” with James Toback’s FINGERS
Confirmed panelists: David Edelstein (Film Critic, New York magazine), Brian Kellow, Geoffrey O’Brien (Editor in Chief, Library of America), film director James Toback, Camille Paglia (University Professor of Humanities and Media Studies, University of the Arts)
A decade after her death, Pauline Kael remains a pivotal figure in American film criticism, thanks to her inimitable style, the sharpness of her observations, and the influence she exerted over subsequent generations of writers. On the occasion of two new books—Brian Kellow’s biography Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark and the Library of America anthology The Age of Movies: Selected Writings of Pauline Kael—a panel of noted critics and filmmakers will discuss Kael’s life, work and legacy. The discussion will be followed by a screening of James Toback’s FINGERS, of which Kael wrote: “In FINGERS, the first film he has directed, James Toback is trying to be Orson Welles and Carol Reed, Dostoevsky, Conrad, and Kafka…Insanity, violent bouts of sex, Jacobean revenge killings—nothing is too much for Toback in his exhilarated state…Yet the film never seems ridiculous, because he’s got true moviemaking fever.”
Sodankylä Forever Parts 1-4
Surely the most singular of events in the annual calendar of film culture, the Midnight Sun Film Festival is held every June in the Finnish village of Sodankylä beyond the arctic circle—where the sun never sets. Founded by Aki and Mika Kaurismäki along with Anssi Mänttäri and Peter Von Bagh in 1985, the festival has played host to an international who’s who of directors and each day begins with a two-hour discussion. To mark the festival’s silver anniversary, festival director Peter Von Bagh edited together highlights from these dialogues to create an epic four-part choral history of cinema drawn from the anecdotes, insights, and wisdom of his all-star cast: Coppola, Fuller, Forman, Chabrol, Corman, Demy, Kieslowski, Kiarostami, Varda, Oliveira, Erice, Rouch, Gilliam, Jancso—and 64 more! Ranging across innumerable topics (war, censorship, movie stars, formative influences, America, neorealism) these voices, many now passed away, engage in a personal dialogue across the years that’s by turns charming, profound, hilarious and moving. Call it Finland’s idiosyncratic and playful answer to Godard’s Histoire(s) du cinema.