20th Century Women, the new film by writer-director Mike Mills (Beginners, Thumbsucker), will have its World Premiere on October 8 as the Centerpiece of the 54th New York Film Festival. NYFF54 will take place September 30 – October 16 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
Mills’s texturally and behaviorally rich new comedy keeps redefining itself as it goes along, creating a moving group portrait of particular people in a particular place (Santa Barbara) at a particular moment in the 20th century (1979), one lovingly attended detail at a time. The great Annette Bening, in one of her very best performances, is a single mother raising her teenage son (newcomer Lucas Jade Zumann) in a sprawling bohemian house, shared by an itinerant carpenter (Billy Crudup) and a punk artist with a Bowie haircut (Greta Gerwig), and frequented by her son’s rebellious friend (Elle Fanning). 20th Century Women is warm, funny, and a work of passionate artistry.
“I was taken aback by 20th Century Women,” said New York Film Festival Director and Selection Committee Chair Kent Jones. “It’s made with an extraordinarily unusual level of craft and attention to detail, human and visual, which is now all but extinct. As someone who actually lived through 1979 in middle-class America, I will testify to the fact that Mike Mills and his remarkable cast approach the level of the uncanny. I felt like I was back there, with all the shared behaviors and worries, the divisions, the look and feel and smell of the world as it was.”
“Everyone who worked on this film is so honored we’re a part of NYFF,” added Mills. “It’s very exciting for me to premiere my film in the city where I discovered I wanted to be a writer and director, and at the film festival where I saw so many films that inspired me and truly showed me the way. My first film school was a combination of Kim’s Video on Avenue A, Theatre 80 St Marks, and all the innovations I saw at NYFF—so beginning this film’s public life here is especially meaningful to me.”
20th Century Women will be released by A24 in December. The film is produced by Megan Ellison of Annapurna Pictures, Anne Carey of Archer Gray, and Youree Henley.
The 17-day New York Film Festival highlights the best in world cinema, featuring works from celebrated filmmakers as well as fresh new talent. The selection committee, chaired by Jones, also includes Dennis Lim, Film Society’s Director of Programming; Florence Almozini, Film Society’s Associate Director of Programming; Amy Taubin, Contributing Editor, Film Comment and Sight & Sound; and Gavin Smith, who serves as a consultant.
Last week, we announced Ava DuVernay’s documentary The 13th as the Opening Night selection of NYFF54, the first-ever nonfiction work to open the festival. For the latest news, subscribe to the festival’s newsletter and follow the festival on Facebook and Twitter.
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Lead photo by Merrick Morton, courtesy of A24.