The Film Society of Lincoln Center has announced its full lineup of new releases for the winter/spring 2019 season. The lineup features Hu Bo’s masterpiece An Elephant Sitting Still (ND/NF 2018), as well as five NYFF56 Main Slate selections: Jean-Luc Godard’s latest film, The Image Book, Hong Sangsoo’s affecting Hotel by the River, Christian Petzold’s haunting Transit, Jia Zhangke’s extraordinary tragicomedy Ash Is Purest White, and Alex Ross Perry’s visceral Her Smell. More details and release dates are listed below.
The Image Book
Jean-Luc Godard, Switzerland, 2018, 90m
Jean-Luc Godard’s “late period” probably began with 2001’s In Praise of Love, and since then he has been formulating and enacting a path toward an ending: the ending of individual films, the ending of engagement with cinema, and, now that he’s 87, the possible ending of his own existence. With The Image Book all barriers between the artist, his art, and his audience have dissolved. The film is structured in chapters and predominantly comprised of pre-existing images, many of which will be familiar from Godard’s previous work. The relationship between image and sound is, as always, intensely physical and sometimes jaw-dropping. An NYFF56 selection. A Kino Lorber release.
Hotel by the River
Hong Sangsoo, South Korea, 2018, 96m
Two tales intersect at a riverside hotel: an elderly poet (Ki Joo-bong), invited to stay there for free by the owner, summons his two estranged sons, sensing his life drawing to a close; and a young woman (Kim Min-hee) nursing a recently broken heart is visited by a friend who tries to console her. At times these threads overlap, at others they run tantalizingly close to each other. Using a stark black-and-white palette and handheld cinematography (with frequent DP Kim Hyung-ku), Hong crafts an affecting examination of family, mortality, and the ways in which we attempt to heal wounds old and fresh. An NYFF56 selection. A Cinema Guild release.
Christian Petzold, Germany/France, 2018, 101m
In Petzold’s brilliant and haunting adaptation of German novelist Anna Seghers’s 1944 book Transit, a hollowed-out European refugee (Franz Rogowski), who has escaped from two concentration camps, arrives in Marseille assuming the identity of a dead novelist whose papers he is carrying. He enters the arid, threadbare world of the refugee community, where he becomes enmeshed in the lives of a desperate young mother and son and a mysterious woman named Marie (Paula Beer). Transit is a film told in two tenses: 1940 and right now, historic past and immediate present, like two translucent panes held up to the light and mysteriously contrasting and blending. An NYFF56 selection. A Music Box Films release.
An Elephant Sitting Still Exclusive run!
Hu Bo, China, 2018, 234m
Sure to be remembered as a landmark in Chinese cinema, this intensely felt epic marks a career cut tragically short: its debut director Hu Bo took his own life last October, at the age of 29. The protagonist of this modern reworking of the tale of Jason and the Argonauts is teenage Wei Bu, who critically injures a school bully by accident. Over a single, eventful day, he crosses paths with a classmate, an elderly neighbor, and the bully’s older brother, all of them bearing their own individual burdens, and all drawn as if by gravity to the city of Manzhouli, where a mythical elephant is said to sit, indifferent to a cruel world. Full of moody close-ups and virtuosic tracking shots, An Elephant Sitting Still is nothing short of a masterpiece. A New Directors/New Films 2018 selection. A KimStim release.
Ash Is Purest White
Dir. Jia Zhangke, China, 2018, 136m
Jia Zhangke’s extraordinary body of work has doubled as a record of 21st-century China and its warp-speed transformations. A tragicomedy in the fullest sense, Ash Is Purest White is at once his funniest and saddest film, portraying the passage of time through narrative ellipses and, like his Mountains May Depart (NYFF53), a three-part structure. Despite its jianghu—criminal underworld—setting, Ash is less a gangster movie than a melodrama, beginning by following Qiao and her mobster boyfriend Bin as they stake out their turf against rivals and upstarts in 2001 postindustrial Datong before expanding out into an epic narrative of how abstract forces shape individual lives. As the formidable, quick-witted Qiao, a never better Zhao Tao has fashioned a heroine for the ages. An NYFF56 selection. A Cohen Media Group release.
Alex Ross Perry, USA, 2018, 134m
The latest from Alex Ross Perry (Listen Up Philip, NYFF52) traces the psychology of an unforgettable woman under the influence. Becky Something (Elisabeth Moss, in a powerhouse performance), the influential lead singer of a popular ’90s alt-rock outfit, struggles with her demons as friends, family, and bandmates alike behold her unraveling through a prism of horror, empathy, and resentment. Perry tracks Becky’s self-destruction—and potential creative redemption—through snaking long takes (arguably some of DP Sean Price Williams’s finest work) in claustrophobic backstage hallways, garishly lit dressing rooms, and recording studios, and the film’s ensemble cast (including Cara Delevingne, Agyness Deyn, Ashley Benson, Amber Heard, Virginia Madsen, Dan Stevens, and Eric Stoltz) is impeccable in support of Moss’s rattling trip to the brink. An NYFF56 selection. A Gunpowder & Sky release.
New releases are organized by Dennis Lim and Florence Almozini.
Tickets will be available a week prior to each opening. See more details here.