Friday, September 17, 2010

Nathaniel's New York Film Festival: Coming Soon

The New York Film Festival starts officially on September 24th. Critics screenings have already begun but so far I've been in absentia. I have my reasons though the selection committee and certain cinephiles would surely scoff at them so they will go unnamed. This morning I picked up my credentials but opted to skip Carlos the Olivier Assayas film about Venezuelan revolutionary Ilich Ramirez Sanchez or "The Jackal" as he's infamously known in history and in the movies. I love Assayas (Summer Hours + demonlover = movie heaven plus rare artistic range!) but I can't do 5½ hour movies. I just can't!

That's one of the reasons people will scoff (oops. so much for unnamed). I've heard it's terrific but I know my limits. My back and ass know them, too. Hopefully I'll get a chance to see it in its piecemeal French miniseries form at some point. I love serialized drama as much as anyone but for me that's a television-specific experience and it should stay where it belongs.

While exiting the Walter Reade I spotted a "coming soon" poster for Desperately Seeking Susan.

It's not every day you see a "coming soon" poster for a movie that's 25 years old starring your favorite celebrity of all time. Director Susan Seidelman will speaking to the crowd at the screening (Sept 23rd -- get your tickets) and Rosanna Arquette and Aidan Quinn will also attend. If they blasted "Into the Groove" through the speakers and Madonna made a surprise appearance in her original costume I would die on the spot with a stupid grin on my face. What a way to go.

Susan is not part of the official festival (shame) though the fest usually does have a few retros. See, NYFF isn't exactly known for comedy if you know what I mean. They lean hard on Cannes lineups but only the dour subtitled selections. If NYFF goes "mainstream" it's usually for something gloomy, like say dead children a la Clint Eastwood's Changeling but not dead children a la Rachel Getting Married because that movie was too warm and humane! I'm partially joking since I love the NYFF but that 2008 selection committee decision will haunt me forever. They crazy. I shan't ever forgive them.

My point is this: in one particular NYFF year I sat through three films in a row from multiple countries starring voyeuristic barely verbal loners who stalked / killed women. I can't even talk about it! I just can't.

For 2010, I'm most excited for the following seven in roughly this order:
  • Another Year -because it's a Mike Leigh film. That's all I need.
  • Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives -because it won the Palme D'Or and I found Apichatpong Weerathesakul's Tropical Malady so worthwhile in its enigmas.
  • The Social Network -because people keep saying it's "a perfect 10".
  • My Joy -because Nick loved it.

  • Meek's Cutoff -because Michelle Williams and Kelly Reichardt's last collaboration Wendy & Lucy was so moving. I'm sometimes allergic to westerns, though, so we shall see.
  • Poetry -because I still think about Lee Chang-dong's Secret Sunshine frequently and staying power is not properly rewarded at the cinema.
  • Black Venus -because even though Guy Lodge didn't love it, it sounds fascinating.
I'll see other pictures too but those have made me the most curious.

And because Jonathan Glazer's Birth (2004) seems to be coming up frequently in discussions round here lately, you should probably know (should you be in NYC) that one of the special events this year is an evening with film scholar David Thomson (The New Biographical Dictionary of Film) in which he will screen and discuss this wonderful and misunderstood picture.

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