Joining Mozart’s Sister and Mysteries of Lisbon, two new films will open at the Film Society’s Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center this Friday, August 26. Closing night selection of New Directors/New Films 2011, Circumstance follows two young Iranian women as they begin to explore their true feelings for each other, yet must live under the shadow of the regime and a rigid society. Written, directed, and produced by NYU/Tisch School of the Art graduate Maryam Keshavarz, Circumstance was a hit at Sundance 2011, where it won the Audience Award.

Opening in the Amphitheater is Asif Kapadia’s documentary Senna, which follows the meteoric rise and tragic death of legendary Brazilian race car driver Ayrton Senna. “The film is two things: a discreet hagiography of the handsome, soft-spoken Senna, who was only 34 when he died in a 1994 crash at the San Marino Grand Prix in Italy, and a compressed, esoteric slice of Formula One history during his 10-year ascendance,” said Stephen Holden of The New York Times. Critics have praised Kapadia for constructing a captivating narrative with appeal that is not limited only to fans race car driving. Kenneth Turan of Los Angeles Times wrote “Senna is a documentary with the pace of a thriller, a story of motors and machines that is beyond compelling because of the intensely human story it tells.”

Senna and Circumstance join René Féret’s Mozart’s Sister, a speculative biopic that focuses on Maria Anna “Nannerl” Mozart, who was a musical prodigy in her own right. The film was a success with audiences earlier this year when it showed at the Film Society’s annual Rendez-vous with French Cinema.

Finally, in light of master auteur Raúl Ruiz’s death on Friday, we found time in the Film Center’s busy schedule to hold over one daily screening of Mysteries of Lisbon. Much has been said of Ruiz’s four-hour epic – many call it one of the greatest films of the century – and we’re honored to have the chance to be the only theater screening it in New York.