The 50th New York Film Festival concludes its first weekend today with a bursting slate of Convergence events, a long-awaited restoration of a beloved classic, a film noir double feature hosted by one of the godfathers of French film culture, and seven and a half hours of impossibly rare Portuguese cinema. Plus two NYFF Live events, featuring, among others, acclaimed documentarian Alan Berliner and former 20th Century Fox head Tom Rothman. Oh, and Main Slate selections Frances Ha, Caesar Must Die and Hyde Park on Hudson, all making their New York debuts!
Convergence concludes a packed weekend today with nine programs celebrating new forms of storytelling in the digital age. At 2:00pm, Jeff Wirth will present highlights from his “immersive fiction experience” Whispers in the Dark, which will send a non-actress heroine on a convoluted 24-hour odyssey through the city, tracked by an invisible crew in (seemingly) one extended take. An hour later, Adam Russell and John Sear's Renga will make its NYC premiere. It's a heroic journey that at once recalls video games of yore and plunges headlong into the future—for here the hero is none other than the audience itself, with members directing the action using their personal laser pointers. 5:00pm will be the grand finale: a keynote speech from digital filmmaking pioneer Jason Wishnow of TEDTalks, whom we recently interviewed.
Ask a devoted big-screen moviegoer why it's still worth going out to the theater, and you're bound to hear Lawrence of Arabia crop up. David Lean's 1962 epic, a classic among classics, is proof in itself for the continued necessity of the movie theater – nowhere else is it possible to experience Lean's sweeping, panoramic landscapes as they were meant to be experienced, with stupified, dizzying awe. And today Sony's new 4K restoration, years in the making and one of the triumphs of this year's Cannes film festival, will make its first mark on NYC screens.
Meanwhile, the Walter Reade will present a very different reason to catch a film on the big screen: a movie so rare that (to my knowledge) it's never been screened in New York in its full, uncut, seven-and-a-half hour glory, Manoel de Oliveria's The Satin Slipper. It's an adaptation of Paul Claudel's epic play, written entirely in verse, set in peroid Spain and packing in over 50 characters. This is a rare chance to see one of the crowning glories of Portuguese cinema, not only on the big screen but anywhere: it's never received a subtitled home video release. Don't miss it!
Among all these celebrations of big-screen moviegoing, it seems approropriate to honor one of the most legendary movie houses in film history, and the man behind it: the Cinema Mac Mahon, which thrived in 50s Paris under the leadership of famed critic-programmer Pierre Rissient. Rissient is at NYFF for four days to present a few of his favorite Mac Mahon selections, which all rank among the most delerious, radical products of Hollywood's golden age. Tonight's films: Jules Dassin's Night and the City, one the few films that can claim to represent an entire genre by its title alone, and Otto Preminger's (literally) hypnotic Whirlpool.
7:00pm: Tom Rothman on Life of Pi
8:00pm: Meet the Filmmakers, Part 1
10:00am: Novels in New Forms
10:30am: Work in Progress: NY_Hearts
11:00am: You're Such a Character: New Roles for Audiences in Storytelling
12:00pm: Best of Breed Transmedia Content Innovators
1:00pm: Transmedia Test Kitchen
2:00pm: Whispers in the Dark
2:30pm: XYEYE_storyForumla: Ingenuity and Vertical Immersion Meet
3:00pm: Renga: The NY Premiere!
5:00pm: Keynot Conversation: Jason Wishnow
11am: Lawrence of Arabia (rush tickets available!)
12pm: The Satin Slipper (rush tickets available!)
6:30pm: Night and the City
8:30pm: The King of Marvin Gardens (rush tickets available!)
3:45pm: Hyde Park on Hudson
6:30pm: Frances Ha (standby only)
9pm: Caesar Must Die (rush tickets available!)
7:00pm: Tom Rothman on “Life of Pi”
8:00pm: Meet the Filmmakers, Part 1
(Sort of) Midnight Movies:
9:00pm: The Bay (rush tickets available!)
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