Film at Lincoln Center has announced the full lineup of festival, repertory, and new release programming for the 2021 summer season.
Summer highlights include returning annual festivals Dance on Camera and the New York Asian Film Festival; a revival of Jafar Panahi’s newly remastered Crimson Gold (NYFF41); exciting new releases such as Hong Sangsoo’s playful comedy The Woman Who Ran; Annette, director Leos Carax’s eagerly anticipated follow-up to Holy Motors; Tsai Ming-liang’s Berlinale prizewinner Days; Ailey, Jamila Wignot’s celebratory documentary about visionary choreographer Alvin Ailey (with a sneak preview on July 12 as part of Lincoln Center’s Restart Stages initiative); Isabella, Matías Piñeiro’s latest feature, inspired by Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure; and from the 2021 New Directors/New Films festival, Jessica Beshir’s ethereal Faya Dayi. And as previously announced, Big Screen Summer: NYFF58 Redux continues, featuring limited runs and other highlights from last year’s festival, in theaters for the first time.
Film descriptions and additional details are listed below and on filmlinc.org. New releases and revival runs are organized by Florence Almozini, Dennis Lim, and Tyler Wilson.
FILMS & DESCRIPTIONS
All films screen at the Walter Reade Theater (165 W. 65th St.) or Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center (144 W. 65th St.) unless otherwise noted.
June 11–August 26
Big Screen Summer: NYFF58 Redux
Last fall, the New York Film Festival was forced to adapt to the extraordinary circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic, with its screenings taking place virtually and at drive-in theaters across the city… but not in cinemas, of course. Now that it’s possible to hold in-theater screenings in New York City again, we thought it only right to bring back much of the NYFF58 lineup to be screened and seen as these films were meant to be. So, this summer, join Film at Lincoln Center in the air-conditioned darkness of the Walter Reade Theater and the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center to see these films writ large in a special series of encore screenings of 33 titles from NYFF58.
Limited runs screening as part of Big Screen Summer: NYFF58 Redux include:
June 11 – 24
Lovers Rock dir. Steve McQueen (from the Small Axe anthology)
June 18 – 24
The Monopoly of Violence dir. David Dufresne
June 25 – July 8
Smooth Talk dir. Joyce Chopra
July 2 – 20
Flowers of Shanghai dir. Hou Hsiao-hsien
July 9 – 15
Her Socialist Smile dir. John Gianvito
July 16 – 22
The Works and Days dir. C.W Winter and Anders Edström
July 23 – August 12
Xiao Wu dir. Jia Zhang-ke
July 28 – August 3
The Year of the Discovery dir. Luis López Carrasco
July 30 – August 5
Fauna dir. Nicolas Pereda
Opens June 25—FLC Virtual Cinema
Crimson Gold / Talaye sorkh
Jafar Panahi, Iran, 2003, 96m
Persian with English subtitles
A searing critique of class conflict unfurls with compressed intensity in this newly remastered 2003 film by Jafar Panahi, from an original script by Abbas Kiarostami (reuniting the pair after their 1995 collaboration, The White Balloon). Crimson Gold focuses on Hussein (Hossain Emadeddin), a wounded veteran of the Iran-Iraq War lately relegated to delivering pizzas around Tehran’s wealthy districts. Despite his sedate disposition, Hussein succumbs to desperation after economic pressures gradually ensnare his life. Panahi’s concern isn’t so much with the violent crime foreshadowed in the film’s harrowing opening sequence as with the rage intrinsic to postwar Iran’s class divisions and the ultimately fatal hold it takes on the country’s marginalized people. An NYFF41 selection. A KimStim release.
Opens July 9
The Woman Who Ran
Hong Sangsoo, 2020, South Korea, 77m
Korean with English subtitles
Men are mostly, amusingly sidelined in Hong Sangsoo’s latest delight, which is anchored by the director’s regular collaborator—and real-life partner—Kim Minhee as the peripatetic Gamhee. Divided into three casually threaded yet distinct sections, the film follows Gamhee as she travels without her husband for the first time in years, visiting a succession of friends: two on purpose, one by chance. As usual, Hong allows the most minimal interactions to carry surprising weight, and uses subtle and sly narrative repetition to evoke a world of circular motion. The Woman Who Ran also features one of Hong’s most expert comic setpieces, a neighborly argument about stray cats that gets to the heart of the filmmaker’s lovingly crafted world of thwarted connections and everyday dysfunction. An NYFF58 selection. A Cinema Guild release.
Dance on Camera
Featuring three in-person programs and a slate of virtual films from Dance on Camera’s historical archive, this hybrid 49th edition of the festival offers films that explore dance from a variety of perspectives and eras, particularly illuminating each decade of the festival’s history. Highlights this year include Pontus Lidberg’s stunning new film, Written on Water, a sensual, philosophical interrogation of the permeable boundaries between fiction and reality, muse and siren, and the changeable roles we play in our lifelong quests for connection, love, and inspiration; Arthur Dong’s humorous and heartfelt Forbidden City, about San Francisco’s Chinatown nightclub scene in the 1930s and ’40s; and films featuring the legendary work of Merce Cunningham, José Limón, and others. Dance on Camera will also present last year’s Best of Festival winners, which were only featured virtually, in theaters for the first time.
Opens July 23
Jamila Wignot, USA, 2021, 82m
Jamila Wignot’s affectionate portrait of Alvin Ailey moves with the same spirited intensity embodied by the visionary founder of the world-renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Ailey poetically examines how its subject’s fascinating life inspired his passion for dance, suffusing rare archival footage with Ailey’s own words, in addition to interviews with celebrated company dancers and choreographers. Beginning with Ailey’s early experiences in the rural South, which would eventually inspire some of his most memorable works, and culminating in the creation of a dance inspired by his life, this documentary captures the artist’s enduring impact on modern dance and the preservation of the African-American cultural experience with fresh insight. A NEON release.
FLC will also present a sneak preview of Ailey as part of Lincoln Center’s Restart Stages initiative on July 12—details to be announced.
Opens August 6
Leos Carax, France, 2021, 140m
Leos Carax’s much-anticipated follow-up to 2012’s brilliantly uncategorizable Holy Motors is another staggeringly ambitious, unpredictable cinematic experience from the visionary director. A years-spanning musical melodrama drenched in greens and yellows, scored by oddball art-pop duo Sparks and based on their original story, Annette marks the French director’s first English-language film, which revolves around a celebrity couple in present-day Los Angeles. Henry (Adam Driver), a towering stand-up comedian, and Ann (Marion Cotillard), a world-famous singer, are living life happily in the spotlight until their world is upended after the birth of their first child, Annette, a mysterious little girl with a peculiar talent. Carax imbues his sixth feature with grandiose compositions, an exhilarating sense of movement, and a turbulent emotional register—alternately moody, beguiling, effusive, and hilarious—all the while toying with established genres in the most thrilling ways imaginable. An Amazon Studios release.
New York Asian Film Festival
Since 2002, the New York Asian Film Festival has been an annual celebration of the best and boldest in Asian cinema. As the first film festival in North America to champion the works of today’s leading Asian auteurs, NYAFF continues to introduce vibrant and vital voices in films ranging from explosive blockbusters to eccentric arthouse gems. As we celebrate Asian representation more than ever before, NYAFF provides an essential connection and awareness to our community, to New Yorkers, and beyond through screenings in Lincoln Center theaters and FLC Virtual Cinema.
Tsai Ming-liang, 2020, Taiwan/France, 127m
The great Taiwanese filmmaker Tsai Ming-liang has been directing exquisite examinations of alienation, isolation, and the fleeting beauty of human connection featuring his muse Lee Kang-sheng for decades. His latest film, Days—his first feature-length fiction since 2013’s magnificent Stray Dogs (NYFF51)—will undoubtedly stand as one of his best, sparest, and most intimate works. Lee once again stars as a variation on himself, wandering through a lonely urban landscape and seeking treatment in Hong Kong for a chronic illness; at the same time, a young Laotian immigrant working in Bangkok, played by Anong Houngheuangsy, goes about his daily routine. These two solitary men eventually come together in a moment of healing, tenderness, and sexual release. Among the most cathartic entries in Tsai’s filmography, Days is a work of longing, constructed with the director’s customary brilliance at visual composition and shot through with profound empathy. An NYFF58 selection. A Grasshopper Film release.
Opens August 27
Matías Piñeiro, 2020, Argentina, 80m
Spanish with English subtitles
Argentine filmmaker Matías Piñeiro continues to explore the porous line between performance and daily ritual in his most visually striking film yet. As in such subtly magical dramas of the everyday as The Princess of France (NYFF52) and Hermia & Helena (NYFF54), Piñeiro uses a Shakespeare text to anchor a loose yet intellectually rigorous examination of life’s loves, labors, and futile pursuits, all played out with the minutest of gestures. Isabella uses Measure for Measure as inspiration, with regular Piñeiro players María Villar and Agustina Muñoz as Mariel, a teacher with stage aspirations, and Luciana, a more established actress. The filmmaker jumps around in time, from the days leading up to a crucial audition to years later, after the women have moved on to other dreams; meanwhile we keep returning to their collaboration on an entrancing, James Turrell–like light installation. Piñeiro’s art has never been more graceful or structurally complex as in this work of solace amid anxiety and doubt. An NYFF58 selection. A Cinema Guild Release.
Opens September 3
Jessica Beshir, 2021, Ethiopia/USA, 120m
Amharic, Harari, and Oromiffa with English subtitles
In her hypnotic documentary feature, Ethiopian-Mexican filmmaker Jessica Beshir explores the coexistence of everyday life and its mythical undercurrents. Though a deeply personal project—Beshir was forced to leave her hometown of Harar with her family as a teenager due to growing political strife—the film she returned to make about the city, its rural Oromo community of farmers, and the harvesting of the country’s most sought-after export (the euphoria-inducing khat plant) is neither a straightforward work of nostalgia nor an issue-oriented doc about a particular drug culture. Rather, she has constructed something dreamlike: a film that uses light, texture, and sound to illuminate the spiritual lives of people whose experiences often become fodder for ripped-from-the-headlines tales of migration. A Janus Films release. A New Directors/New Films 2021 selection.