American artist Larry Rivers begins work on a hand-painted billboard to promote the 1st NYFF.
Below him hangs the first festival poster, also designed by Rivers. Photo by Bob Serating.

Tomorrow the Film Society of Lincoln Center center will kick off a series designed to provide a look back at the 50-year history of the New York Film Festival, which began in 1963. Each week until the 50th edition of the festival in 2012 we will present a film from a different year of NYFF's past. The festival's first ever Opening Night featured Luis Buñuel’s provocative classic The Exterminating Angel, which will screen Friday at 6:30pm at the Francesca Beale Theater. Some of the greatest films of the past 50 years have opened the festival.

The Exterminating Angel is part of the surrealist auteur Buñuel’s “Mexican period” (following his exile from his native Spain). An elegant dinner party disintegrates into social disorder once the guests begin to believe that they are trapped in the host’s home. Like many of Buñuel’s works, the film uses satire and surrealism to expose the hypocrisy of human relationships, with particular focus on class. His wit and criticisms feel as sharp today as they did in 1963. Read more about The Exterminating Angel in our NYFF Spotlight.

“50 Years of the New York Film Festival” will continue on Tuesday, October 18 (and every Tuesday after that) with Grigori Kozintsev’s unique adaptation of Hamlet, from the second edition of the festival in 1964.

Here is a list of all the films that played the first New York Film Festival in 1963:

The Exterminating Angel (El Angel Exterminador)
Luis Buñuel, Mexico, 1962

In The Midst Of Life (Au Coeur De La Vie)
Robert Enrico, France, 1962-63

Knife In The Water (Noz W Wodzie)
Roman Polsansky, Poland, 1962

Love In The Suburbs (Kertes Házak Utcája)
Tamás Fejér, Hungary, 1963

Masaki Kobayasi, Japan, 1963

An Autumn Afternoon (Samma No Aji)
Yasujiro Ozu, Japan, 1962-3

The Terrace (La Terraza)
Leopoldo Torre Nilsson, Argentina, 1963

Elektra (Elektra at Epidaurus)
Sophocles play staged by Takis Mouzenidis, Greece, 1962

Hallelujah The Hills
Adolfas Mekas, USA, 1963

All The Way Home
Alex Segal, USA, 1963

The Sky (Ouranos)
Takis Kanelopouos, Greece, 1962-63

The Trial Of Joan Of Arc (Le Procès De Jeanne D’arc)
Robert Bresson, France, 1962

The Fiancés (I Fidanziati)
Ermanno Olmi, Italy, 1963

Ro.Go.Pa.G [four short films]
    Virginity (Illibatezza), Roberto Rossellini. 
     The Range-Grown Chicken (Il Pollo Ruspante), Ugo Gregoretti
     The New World (Il Nuovo Mondo), Jean-Luc Godard,
     Cream Cheese (La Ricotta), Pier Paolo Pasolini

The Servant
Joseph Losey, Great Britain, 1963

The Sea, (Il Mare)
Guiseppi Patroni Griffi, Italy, 1962

Magnet Of Doom (L’ainé Des Ferchaux)
Jean-Pierre Melville, France/Italy, 1963

Le Joli Mai
Chris Marker, France, 1963

Alain Resnais, France/Italy, 1963

Glauber Rocha, Brazil, 1962

Sweet And Sour (Dragees Au Poivre)
Jacques Baratier, France/Italy, 1963