The Film Society of Lincoln Center has announced its lineup of new releases for the 2017 fall/winter season, featuring Robin Campillo’s BPM, Ruben Östlund’s The Square, Hong Sang-soo’s On the Beach at Night Alone, Aki Kaurismäki’s The Other Side of Hope, and Andrei Tarkovsky’s The Sacrifice, all NYFF55 selections; plus Yuri Ancarani’s The Challenge (New Directors/New Films 2017); Jean-Stéphane Bron’s The Paris Opera (Rendez-Vous with French Cinema 2017); and Theo Anthony’s Rat Film (Art of the Real 2017 Opening Night). Please see below for the complete list of films with run dates and synopses.
Opening September 8 – Tickets Now On Sale
Yuri Ancarani, France/Italy, 2016, 70m
Arabic with English subtitles
If you have it, spend it: Italian artist Yuri Ancarani’s visually striking documentary enters the surreal world of wealthy Qatari sheikhs who moonlight as amateur falconers, with no expenses spared along the way. The Challenge follows these men through the rituals that define their lives: perilously racing blacked-out SUVs up and down sand dunes; sharing communal meals; taking their Ferraris out for a spin with their pet cheetahs riding shotgun; and much more. Ancarani’s film is a sly meditation on the collective pursuit of idiosyncratic desires. A 2017 New Directors/New Films selection. A Kino Lorber release.
Opening September 15
Theo Anthony, USA, 2016, 84m
Balancing a cultural history of rats in Baltimore with portraits of the city’s present-day rat catchers, Theo Anthony presents a damning account of entrenched racism and (sometimes questionable) scientific research ordered by governments and financial institutions. With a hypnotic voiceover by Maureen Jones and music by Baltimore native Dan Deacon, the film connects these multitudinous injustices with footage of Google Maps navigation, archival materials, interviews, poetry, and a tour of Frances Glessner Lee’s “Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death” forensic dioramas. Dense but accessible, Rat Film is a vital document that refuses easy answers or classifications. A 2017 Art of the Real selection. A Cinema Guild release.
Opening October 18
The Paris Opera / L’Opéra
Jean-Stéphane Bron, France, 2017, 110m
French with English subtitles
This all-access documentary goes behind the scenes of the Paris Opera, following the array of personnel—management, performers, costumers, cleaning crew—who work to bring breathtaking spectacle to audiences night after night. Over the course of a season, director Jean-Stéphane Bron nimbly juggles a dizzying number of storylines, from labor disputes to procuring a live bull for Schoenberg’s Moses und Aron to a PR crisis involving the head of the company’s ballet. Sweeping in scope yet full of intimate human moments, The Paris Opera offers a candid look at everything that goes into operating one of the world’s foremost performing arts institutions. A 2017 Rendez-vous with French Cinema selection. A Film Movement release.
Opening October 20
BPM (Beats Per Minute)/120 battements par minute
Dir. Robin Campillo, France, 2017, 144m
In the early 1990s, ACT UP—in France, as in the U.S.—was on the front lines of AIDS activism. Its members, mostly gay, HIV-positive men, stormed drug company and government offices in “Silence=Death” T-shirts, facing down complacent suits with the urgency of their struggle for life. Robin Campillo (Eastern Boys) depicts their comradeship and tenacity in waking up the world to the disease that was killing them and movingly dramatizes the persistence of passionate love affairs even in dire circumstances. All the actors, many of them unknown, are splendid in this film, which not only celebrates the courage of ACT UP but also tacitly provides a model of resistance to the forces of destruction running rampant today. An NYFF55 selection. A release of The Orchard.
Dir. Andrei Tarkovsky, Sweden, 1986, 142m
The sacrifice in Andrei Tarkovsky’s final film, completed only months before his death from cancer at the age of 54, is performed by Alexander, an aging professor who strikes a deal with God in order to avert humankind’s self-obliteration after the sudden outbreak of World War III. The Sacrifice is a work made under the sign of one of Tarkovsky’s masters, Ingmar Bergman: the film was shot in Swedish with several of Bergman’s principal actors, including Erland Josephson in the lead, and his DP Sven Nykvist. It is, most certainly, a final testament. But it is also, like every Tarkovsky film, a plunge into the uncanny and the uncharted. An NYFF55 Revivals selection. A Kino Lorber release.
Opening October 27
Dir. Ruben Östlund, Sweden, 2017, 150m
A precisely observed, thoroughly modern comedy of manners, Ruben Östlund’s 2017 Palme d’Or–winner revolves around Christian (Claes Bang), a well-heeled contemporary art curator at a Stockholm museum. While preparing his new exhibit—a four-by-four-meter zone designated as a “sanctuary of trust and caring”—Christian falls prey to a pickpocketing scam, which triggers an overzealous response and then a crisis of conscience. Featuring several instant-classic scenes and a vivid supporting cast (Elisabeth Moss, Dominic West, and noted motion-capture actor Terry Notary), The Square is the most ambitious film yet by one of contemporary cinema’s most incisive social satirists, the rare movie to have as many laughs as ideas. An NYFF55 selection. A Magnolia Pictures release.
Opening November 17
On the Beach at Night Alone
Dir. Hong Sang-soo, South Korea, 2017, 101m
Hong Sang-soo’s movies have always invited autobiographical readings, and his 19th feature is perhaps his most achingly personal film yet, a steel-nerved, clear-eyed response to the tabloid frenzy that erupted in South Korea over his relationship with actress Kim Min-hee. The film begins in Hamburg, where actress Young-hee (played by Kim herself, who won the Best Actress prize at Berlin for this role) is hiding out after the revelation of her affair with a married filmmaker. Back in Korea, a series of encounters shed light on Young-hee’s volatile state, as she slips in and out of melancholic reflection and dreams. Centered on Kim’s astonishingly layered performance, On the Beach at Night Alone is the work of a master mining new emotional depths. An NYFF55 selection. A Cinema Guild release.
Opening December 1
The Other Side of Hope/Toivon tuolla puolen
Dir. Aki Kaurismäki, Finland, 2017, 98m
Leave it to Aki Kaurismäki (Le Havre, NYFF 2011), peerless master of humanist tragicomedy, to make the first great fiction film about the 21st century migrant crisis. Having escaped bombed-out Aleppo, Syrian refugee Khlaed (Sherwan Haji) seeks asylum in Finland, only to get lost in a maze of functionaries and bureaucracies. Meanwhile, shirt salesman Wikström (Sakari Kuosmanen) leaves his wife, wins big in a poker game, and takes over a restaurant whose deadpan staff he also inherits. These parallel stories dovetail to gently comic and enormously moving effect in Kaurismäki’s politically urgent fable, an object lesson on the value of compassion and hope that remains grounded in a tangible social reality. An NYFF55 selection. A Janus Films release.