Film/TV

What to Catch At This Year's New York Film Festival

by Shelley Farmer

The New York Film Festival, put on by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and now in its 53rd year, is one of the most exciting American cinematic events of the year, bringing together the standouts of highbrow film festivals like Cannes with premieres of major American commercial films and mind-blowing experimental works. While high-profile works like Don Cheadle's Miles Davis biopic Miles Ahead, Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin's Steve Jobs, Steven Spielberg's Cold War flick Bridge of Spies, and Todd Hayne's Cate Blanchett-starring lesbian romance Carol have already generated plenty of buzz, this year's festival offers an endless, diverse array of riches. Here are ten can't-miss events filmgoers can see at Lincoln Center in the upcoming weeks.

The Forbidden Room
The mad Canadian genius behind such cinematic fever dreams as The Saddest Music in the World, My Winnipeg, and Brand Upon the Brain is at it again, and in excellent company. Guy Maddin's newest dreamy adventure features contributions from John Ashbery, Jacques Nolot, Matthieu Amalric, Charlotte Rampling, electro-pop duo Sparks, and Maddin veterans Louis Negin and Udo Kier. It's sure to be one of the most weird, wonderful, and purely cinematic works of the year.
Monday, September 28 at 9:00pm
Tuesday, September 29 at 8:30pm


Heart of a Dog
Multidisciplinary artist Laurie Anderson (who designed the festival's gorgeous poster) releases her first feature in 30 years with this lyrical memory piece about her belove, piano-playing dog Lolabelle. Both playful and poetic, this deeply personal film by a New York icon is not to be missed.
Thursday, October 8 at 6:00pm

The Doghouse
NYFF's Convergence series continues to blur the boundaries between mediums with another fascinating program of interactive events and illuminating panels that interrogate and expand our notions of how stories can be told. One of the most interesting this year, the free event The Doghouse, is a 360-degree cinematic experiment in which audiences don virtual reality headsets and take part in a family dinner as one of five characters.
Saturday, September 26 at 12pm
Sunday, September 27 at 12pm


Son of Saul
László Nemes' Cannes Grand Prix winner, a harrowing tale of an Auschwitz Sonderkommando (a Jewish prisoner forced to work at the death camps) attempting to bury the body of a boy he believes to be his son, has garnered responses as varied as Peter Bradshaw's glowing review in The Guardian and Manohla Dargis' Times pan, which dismissed the film as "radically dehistoricized" and "intellectually repellent." New York filmgoers can form their own opinions at NYFF's Special Events screening, with appearances from Nemes and star Géza Röhrig.
Tuesday, October 6 at 9pm

O Brother, Where Art Thou?
For cinephiles in search of something a bit lighter, NYFF will host a 15th anniversary screening of the Coen brothers' great comic odyssey, with visits from the brothers themselves, as well as members of the cast and musicians from the Grammy-winning soundtrack. Audiences are encouraged to bring instruments, so break out your banjos, Brooklynites.
Tuesday, September 29 at 9pm

Black Girl
This year's Revivals series features incredible selections, from Akira Kurosawa's magnum opus Ran to the North American premiere of Manuel de Olivera's posthumously released Visit, or Memories and Confessions. However, one of the most fascinating films screening is Ousmane Sembene's first feature, Black Girl. This 1969 story of a young Senegalese maid in France is considered to be the first African film to receive international attention, and remains one of the most visible films from a region often overlooked in American and European film criticism.
Tuesday, October 6 at 8:30pm

Luminous Intimacy: The Cinema of Nathaniel Dorsky and Jerome Hiler
Two of the great living experimental filmmakers, referred to in NYFF's press as "partners in life and in cinema," Dorsky and Hiler's work speaks in the fundamentally cinematic language of light, color, and movement. All of the works in this expansive series will be screened on 16mm, and the artists are scheduled to appear at all showings of their work.
Various Times HERE 
 
No Home Movie

In this intimate portrait, master filmmaker Chantal Akerman (director of the 1975 masterpiece Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles) presents a portrait of the final years of her mother's life. In a festival known for its auteurist approach to cinema, it's thrilling to see one of the few females filmmakers consistently recognized as an essential cinematic master in the lineup.
Wednesday, October 7 at 6pm
Thursday, October 8 at 6:15pm


Chevalier
With their Filmmaker in Residence initiative, Lincoln Center has been doing wonderful work in encouraging a new generation of female auteurs, from 2013's Andrea Arnold to current resident Athina Rachel Tsangari. This comic, allegorical psychodrama, in which six men on a yacht in the Aegean compete to determine who's the "best in general," is the latest from a filmmaker who got her start as a performer in Richard Linklater's Slacker and has gone on to become one of the major figures of the Greek New Wave.
Wednesday, October 7 at 9pm

Arabian Nights
Portuguese director Miguel Gomes' six-hour, three-part epic uses the classic One Thousand and One Nights as a lens to examine the state of contemporary Portugal and the act of storytelling itself. Highly political and wildly fantastic, and employing every genre and cinematic technique imaginable, Gomes' latest is sure to be one of the most radical and ambitious films of the year.
Volume 1: Wednesday, September 30 at 6pm
Volume 2: Thursday, October 1 at 6pm
Volume 3: Friday, October 2 at 6pm

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