Though I did get to attend the TCM Classic Film Festival earlier this year (which was an amazing experience, and well worth your time), the New York Film Festival, in its 52nd year this time around, will be the first time I will have attended a festival as press. So, I’m very giddy about it. I’m excited to hobnob with other writers, get up at unfathomable times to catch screenings of films in languages I don’t often hear, and write like the wind. So, without further ado, here are my top five anticipated films of NYFF.
– Goodbye to Language 3D | Directed by Jean-Luc Godard
Though I’ve never felt much warmth towards the iconoclastic Godard (save for Vivre sa Vie), I found myself realizing, as word came from Cannes, that I was incredibly eager to test out his newest film Goodbye to Language. Intellectually stimulating, supposedly playful, and in 3D. What more could one ask for? Godard’s post-New Wave work is a total blind spot for me, and none of it particularly appeals to me, but I’m nonetheless intrigued by what the auteur will do with the technology. I’m expecting something more legitimately challenging and validating than Gravity in terms of its use of technology.
– Gone Girl | Directed by David Fincher
I’ll probably have my cinephile card revoked for even having Fincher’s name on the list, and though liking has work has earned derision from more studied cineastes, I still find something worthy of examination in Fincher’s work. Some claim his work to be empty, but I think it’s exactly that emptiness that appeals to me. That emptiness is superficiality and obsession, less interested in the male psyche than it is with the emptiness of human existence. Fincher is like a shiny Bergman or a sleek Antonioni, as capable of investigating those human conditions as either of those directors. So, Gone Girl, based on the bestselling novel, is something I’ve been waiting for.
– Inherent Vice| Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
I bought Thomas Pynchon’s novel (upon which the film is based) a month ago, more out of interest in the book than the film necessarily (maybe I’m a hipster). But because I am a monster, I still haven’t read it, despite the fact that I had gravitated towards its supposedly Big Lebowski-esque tone that several book critics wrote about it upon it publication. But, I can’t ignore that it’s Paul Thomas Anderson. It’s Paul Thomas Anderson, who can make even something as “light” as Punch-Drunk Love into a moving, nuanced piece of work, getting a superb performance out of its star, Adam Sandler. I expect nothing less than awesomeness from the film.
– Foxcatcher | Directed by Bennett Miller
Although my familiarity with Miller equates to hit or miss (loved The Cruise, liked Capote, hated Moneyball), it’s Steve Carell I’m going to see this film for, as well as its sinister examination of the American Dream. I don’t have any doubt that Carell can do dramatic, but I’m intrigued nonetheless in how he does dramatic. My hope is that Foxcatcher isn’t so on the nose with its Americana allegory.
– Birdman | Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu
I might as well be the most basic festival attendant of all time. But, I can’t help but be curious about a simulated one shot film, however gimmicky it sounds, or showbiz satire with Michael Keaton as a faded actor and former superhero, even if it does have a self-indulgent subtitle (Full title: Birdman, or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). I’m also excited to see Amy Ryan and Naomi Watts, because they’re great.
I start my NYFF adventure on Tuesday morning with the Godard film, so, wish me luck!