Film at Lincoln Center has announced the full lineup of repertory and new release programming for the 2021 fall/winter season.
Highlights include Art of the Real: Counter Encounters, with a focus on ethnography and its complicated foundations; a retrospective of the incomparable Danny Glover’s acting and producing work, with Glover appearing in person; and a bounty of official selections from the 59th New York Film Festival: Todd Haynes’s The Velvet Underground, Mia Hansen-Løve’s Bergman Island, Melvin Van Peebles’s Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song in a new 4K restoration, Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir Part II, Alexandre Koberidze’s What Do We See When We Look at the Sky?, Radu Jude’s Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn, Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s Drive My Car, Paul Verhoeven’s Benedetta, Bruno Dumont’s France, and Pedro Almodóvar’s Parallel Mothers.
New releases and revival runs are organized by Florence Almozini, Dennis Lim, and Tyler Wilson.
FILMS & DESCRIPTIONS
Opening October 13
The Velvet Underground
Todd Haynes, 2021, USA, 120m
Given the ingeniously imagined musical worlds of Velvet Goldmine and I’m Not There, it should come as no surprise that Todd Haynes’s documentary about the seminal band The Velvet Underground mirrors its members’ experimentation and formal innovation. Combining contemporary interviews and archival documentation with newscasts, advertisements, and a trove of avant-garde film from the era, Haynes constructs a vibrant cinematic collage that is as much about the New York of the ’60s and ’70s as it is about the rise and fall of the group that has been called as influential as the Beatles. Filmed with the cooperation of surviving band members, this multifaceted portrait folds in an array of participants in the creative scene’s cultures and subcultures. Tracing influences and affinities both personal and artistic, Haynes unearths rich detail about Andy Warhol, The Factory, Nico, and others, adding vivid context and texture that never diminish the ultimate enigma of the band’s power. An NYFF59 selection. An Apple release.
Tickets for The Velvet Underground are now on sale and can be purchased here.
Opening October 15
Mia Hansen-Løve, 2021, France/Germany/Belgium/Sweden, 113m
English, French, and Swedish with English subtitles
A masterful blend of the personal and the meta-cinematic, Mia Hansen-Løve’s meditation on the reconciliation of love and the creative process is also delightful cinephile catnip. Vicky Krieps and Tim Roth star as Chris and Tony, married filmmakers who venture to the remote Swedish island of Fårö—where director Ingmar Bergman lived and made many of his masterpieces—as a writing retreat for their new projects. Both inspired and troubled by the isolation and history of the place, Chris gets lost in the lives of her new fictional creations (realized on screen by Mia Wasikowska and Anders Danielsen Lie) while also reckoning with the lines between reality and fantasy. A tribute to a film artist that never crosses over into idolatry, and a sneakily emotional portrait of an artist finding her individual voice, Bergman Island is one of Hansen-Løve’s most gently profound films. An NYFF59 selection. An IFC Films release.
Tickets for Bergman Island are now on sale and can be purchased here.
Opening October 15
Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song
Melvin Van Peebles, 1971, USA, 97m
Among the all-time great American independent films, Melvin Van Peebles’s visionary third feature marked nothing short of a cinematic revolution. “Dedicated to all the Brothers and Sisters who had enough of the Man” (as announced by one of the film’s opening title cards), Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song stars Van Peebles as Sweetback, an orphan abandoned in an LA brothel in the 1940s who grows up to become a sex-show performer. During a run-in with the LAPD, Sweetback saves a Black Panther from a brutal assault by the police but finds himself on the lam, beginning a picaresque journey in which he encounters Black militants, hippies, biker gangs, old flames, and the clergy as he tries to flee to Mexico. A frenetic work of restless invention with an iconic soundtrack (courtesy of a then-unknown Earth, Wind & Fire), Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song was hailed at the time by Huey Newton as the “first truly revolutionary Black film ever made… [and] presented to us by a Black man.” A Janus Films release. 4K digital restoration approved by filmmaker Mario Van Peebles.
Tickets for Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song are now on sale and can be purchased here.
Opening October 29
The Souvenir Part II
Joanna Hogg, 2021, UK, 108m
Grieving and depleted from the tragic end of a relationship with a boyfriend who had suffered from drug addiction, young Julie (Honor Swinton Byrne) summons the emotional and creative fortitude to forge ahead as a film student in 1980s London. Continuing the remarkable autobiographical saga she had begun in 2019’s The Souvenir, British director Joanna Hogg (a filmmaker of unceasing visual ingenuity and sociological specificity) fashions a gently meta-cinematic mirror image of part one, cutting to the quick in one surprising, enthralling idea after another. A film about finding one’s artistic inspiration and individuality that avoids every possible cliché, The Souvenir Part II is a bold conclusion to this story of unsentimental education, told with the filmmaker’s inimitable oblique poignancy, and featuring a mesmerizing supporting cast including Tilda Swinton, Harris Dickinson, Ariane Labed, Joe Alwyn, and a scene-stealing Richard Ayoade. An NYFF59 selection. An A24 release.
Opening November 12
What Do We See When We Look at the Sky?
Alexandre Koberidze, 2021, Georgia/Germany, 150m
Georgian with English subtitles
Among contemporary cinema’s most exciting and distinctive new voices, Georgian director Alexandre Koberidze has created an intimate city symphony like no other with his latest film. Beginning as an off-kilter romance in which footballer Giorgi and pharmacist Lisa are brought together on the streets of Kutaisi by chance, only to have their dreams complicated when they become victims of an age-old curse, What Do We See When We Look at the Sky? continues to radically and pleasurably shape-shift. Ultimately it becomes a lovely portrait of an entire urban landscape and the preoccupations—and World Cup obsessions—of the people who live there. Koberidze has made an idiosyncratic epic out of passing glances that feels as free and fulsome as a fairy tale. An NYFF59 selection. A MUBI release.
Art of the Real Presents: Counter Encounters
Almost since its inception, ethnography has reckoned with its own complicated foundations, among them its roots in colonialism, Western centering, and the imbalances and troubled relations inherent in a one-sided narrative of encounter. Offering literal acts of refusal against ethnography, and singular, propositional ways to represent encounter—or the lack of it—Counter Encounters presents works by historical and contemporary filmmakers and artists, whose practices not only disturb classical ethnographic paradigms, but also reinvent an art of the real in itself. This program is intended as a cinephilic letter to ethnography, one of rupture and reignition, which is aimed at anyone interested in building a more plurally defined world.
Organized by Laura Huertas Millan and Rachael Rakes for the research and Curatorial Collective, Counter Encounters.
Opening November 19
Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn
Radu Jude, 2021, Romania/Luxembourg/Czech Republic/Croatia, 106m
Romanian with English subtitles
The targets are wide, the satire is broad, and every hit lands and stings in Romanian filmmaker Radu Jude’s angry, gleefully graceless Golden Bear winner from this year’s Berlin Film Festival. Evoking the unsanitized provocations of the great Dušan Makavejev in his prime, Jude crafts an invigorating, infuriating film in three movements that grows in both power and absurdity, centering around the trials of a teacher (Katia Pascariu) at a prestigious Bucharest school whose life and job are upended when her husband accidentally uploads their private sex tape to the internet for all to see. Jude has no compunction about shocking and skewering in his quest to toy with contemporary society’s religious and political hypocrisy, connecting conservative puritanical outrage to an entire history of violence. An NYFF59 selection. A Magnolia Pictures release.
Opening November 24
Drive My Car
Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, 2021, Japan, 179m
Japanese with English subtitles
Inspired by a Haruki Murakami short story, Ryûsuke Hamaguchi spins an engrossing, rapturous epic about love and betrayal, grief and acceptance. With his characteristic emotional transparency, Hamaguchi charts the unexpected, complex relationships that theater actor-director Yûsuke Kafuku (Hidetoshi Nishijima) forges with a trio of people out of professional, physical, or psychological necessity: his wife, Oto (Reika Kirishima), with whom he shares an erotic bond forged in fantasy and storytelling; the mysterious actor Takatsuki (Masaki Okada), whom he’s drawn to by a sense of revenge as much as fascination; and, perhaps most mysteriously, Misaki (Tôko Miura), a plaintive young woman hired by a theater company, against his wishes, to be his chauffeur while he stages Uncle Vanya. Hamaguchi specializes in revelations of the heart, and Drive My Car—a beautiful melding of two distinct authorial sensibilities—consistently steers clear of the familiar in its characters’ journeys toward self-examination. Winner of Best Screenplay at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. An NYFF59 selection. A Sideshow and Janus Films presentation.
A Tribute to Danny Glover and Louverture Films
Few actors or producers have left as indelible a mark on cinema as Danny Glover. Whether teaming up with key Hollywood directors (Steven Spielberg, Jonathan Demme, Robert Benton, Lawrence Kasdan, and others) or starring in one of the great American independent films of the 1990s (Charles Burnett’s To Sleep with Anger, centered on his unforgettable performance), Glover has captivated and enthralled audiences with his endlessly evocative screen acting. But he has also established himself as an important champion of world cinema’s leading auteurs through the production company, Louverture Films, that he founded with Joslyn Barnes. Among Louverture’s wide-ranging credits are lauded and beloved works by such contemporary masters as Abderrhamane Sissako, Lucrecia Martel, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Glover, one of cinema’s most tireless and courageous activists, will be recognized with the Motion Picture Academy’s Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in January 2022. This December, join us as we celebrate Glover’s incomparable career both as actor and producer, featuring in-person discussions with Glover and Barnes.
Organized by Dennis Lim and Dan Sullivan.
Opening December 13
Paul Verhoeven, 2021, France/Netherlands, 127m
French with English subtitles
Based on true events, Benedetta unearths the story of Benedetta Carlini, a 17th-century nun in Tuscany who believed she saw visions of Christ and engaged in a sexual relationship with a fellow sister at her abbey. Because this is a film by genre auteur par excellence Paul Verhoeven (whose movies include Robocop, Basic Instinct, and NYFF54 selection Elle), the result is anything but a reverent treatment of an odd footnote in Catholic European history. Forgoing the hallmarks of prestige cinema, this delirious, erotic, and violent melodrama is told with a boundless spirit for scandal, and unabashedly courts blasphemy as it unfolds its tale of religious hypocrisy. Wildly entertaining, and featuring standout performances from Virginie Efira as the title character and Charlotte Rampling as the stoic, conflicted Mother Abbess, Benedetta maintains both a feverish pitch and a fascinating ambiguity in its depiction of the miraculous and the mundane, the sacred and the profane. An NYFF59 selection. An IFC Films Release.
Opening December 10
Bruno Dumont, 2021, France/Germany/Belgium/Italy, 133m
French with English subtitles
Léa Seydoux brilliantly holds the center of Bruno Dumont’s unexpected, unsettling new film, which starts out as a satire of the contemporary news media before steadily spiraling out into something richer and darker. Never one to shy away from provoking his viewers, Dumont (The Life of Jesus, NYFF35) casts Seydoux as France de Meurs, a seemingly unflappable superstar TV journalist whose career, homelife, and psychological stability are shaken after she carelessly drives into a young delivery man on a busy Paris street. This accident triggers a series of self-reckonings, as well as a strange romance that proves impossible to shake. A film that teases at redemption while refusing to grant absolution, France is tragicomic and deliciously ambivalent—a very 21st-century treatment of the difficulty of maintaining identity in a corrosive culture. An NYFF59 selection. A Kino Lorber release.
Opening December 24
Pedro Almodóvar, 2021, Spain, 120m
Spanish with English subtitles
North American Premiere
In this muted contemporary melodrama, two women, a generation apart, find themselves inextricably linked by their brief time together in a maternity ward. The circumstances that brought them to the Madrid hospital are quite different—one accidental, the other traumatic—and a secret, hiding the truth of the bond that connects these two, is a powerful story that tackles a deep trauma in Spanish history. Penélope Cruz’s Janis is a uniquely complex, flawed, but ultimately alluring lead character, who finds herself in a morally and emotionally treacherous situation. She’s viewed in contrast with Ana, radiantly portrayed by newcomer Milena Smit, a discovery who brings a palpable innocence, pain, and longing to this interwoven portrait of women and motherhood. These charismatic stars inhabit characters who are singular among those drawn by Almodóvar in a career defined by striking portraits of women. An NYFF59 selection. A Sony Pictures Classics release.