Twenty-five of the most exciting new feature films from around the world.
Opening Night · World Premiere · Ava DuVernay and special guests in person*Ava DuVernay’s extraordinary and galvanizing nonfiction film refers to the loophole in the 13th Amendment that allowed for a progression from slavery to the horrors of mass incarceration and the prison industry. The director lays this out with a bracing lucidity that makes for a work of grand historical synthesis and an overwhelming emotional experience. To quote Woodrow Wilson on another movie, it’s like writing history with lightning.
Centerpiece · World Premiere · Mike Mills and Annette Bening in person*Mike Mills’s warm, funny, texturally and behaviorally rich new comedy, starring the great Annette Bening, creates 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.
Closing Night · World Premiere · James Gray, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, Tom Holland, and Angus Macfadyen in person*James Gray’s emotionally and visually resplendent epic tells the story of Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam), the British military-man-turned-explorer whose search for a lost city in the Amazon grew into an increasingly feverish, decades-long magnificent obsession.
U.S. Premiere • Q&As with Kleber Mendonça Filho and Sonia BragaA 65-year-old widow, transcendently played by the great Brazilian actress Sônia Braga, enters into a protracted struggle with a dubious real estate promoter attempting to buy her apartment in this humane, sophisticated drama.
Q&A with Kelly Reichardt, Kristen Stewart, Michelle Williams, Laura Dern, and Lily Gladstone*Adapting short stories by Maile Meloy, Kelly Reichardt constructs a lean triptych of subtly intersecting lives in Montana, starring Laura Dern, Michelle Williams and Kristen Stewart. Shooting on 16mm, Reichardt creates understated, uncannily intimate dramas nestled within a clear-eyed depiction of the modern American West.
Sneak Preview!Paul Verhoeven’s first feature in a decade—and his first in French—ranks among his most incendiary, improbable concoctions: a wry, almost-screwball comedy of manners about a woman (a brilliant Isabelle Huppert) who responds to a rape by refusing the mantle of victimhood. An NYFF54 selection.
Q&As with Gianfranco Rosi*Gianfranco Rosi’s documentary observes Europe’s migrant crisis from the vantage point of Lampedusa, where hundreds of thousands of refugees have landed in recent decades. Rosi shows the harrowing work of rescue operations but devotes most of the film to the daily rhythms of this Mediterranean island.
Q&As with Cristian MungiuParents anxious about their children’s education will appreciate the moral dilemma of a doctor desperate to ensure his daughter’s acceptance at a British university. Like Mungiu’s 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (NYFF ’07), this superbly constructed, brilliantly acted critique of contemporary Romania resonates worldwide.
U.S. PremiereKen Loach’s thoroughly shattering film about the English health care system, which won the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, will strike a chord with anyone who has ever tried to negotiate their way through the labyrinth of bureaucracy.
Q&As with Pedro Almodóvar, Adriana Ugarte, and Emma Suarez*Pedro Almodóvar explores his favorite themes of love, sexuality, guilt, and destiny through the poignant story of Julieta, who has a chance encounter that stirs up sorrowful memories of the daughter who abandoned her.
Q&A with Kenneth Lonergan, Casey Affleck, Lucas Hedges, and more*In Kenneth Lonergan’s intimate yet grandly scaled new film, Casey Affleck is the volatile and deeply troubled Lee Chandler, a Boston-based handyman coping with the overwhelming loss of his brother (Kyle Chandler) and the memory of an unspeakable tragedy.
Q&A with Barry Jenkins on January 5Barry Jenkins’s this three-part narrative spans the childhood, adolescence, and adulthood of a gay African-American man who survives Miami’s drug-plagued inner city, finding love in unexpected places and the possibility of change within himself. An NYFF54 selection. An A24 release. Preceded by: My Josephine (Barry Jenkins, 8m).
U.S. Premiere • Q&As with Dash ShawDash Shaw, known for such celebrated graphic novels as Bottomless Belly Button and New School, brings his subjective, dreamlike sense of narrative; his empathy for outsiders and their desire to connect; and his rich, expressive drawing style to his first animated feature.
U.S. Premiere • Q&A with Jim Jarmusch and Adam Driver on 10/2 • Sponsored by The Village VoiceAdam Driver is Paterson, a bus driver who writes poetry and happens to live and work in the city of Paterson, New Jersey, with his effervescent and energetic girlfriend (Golshifteh Farahani). Jim Jarmusch’s exquisite film is set to the rhythm of an individual consciousness and is made under the sign of the great American poet and New Jersey resident William Carlos Williams.
U.S. Premiere • Q&As with Olivier Assayas and Kristen Stewart*Kristen Stewart is the medium, in more ways than one, for this sophisticated genre exploration from director Olivier Assayas. As a fashion assistant whose twin brother has died, leaving her bereft and longing for messages from the other side, Stewart is fragile and enigmatic—and nearly always on-screen.
U.S. Premiere • Q&As with Alison Maclean and select castAlison Maclean (Jesus’ Son) returns to her New Zealand filmmaking roots with a multilayered coming-of-age story about a young actor searching for the truth of a character he’s playing onstage and the resulting moral dilemma in his personal life.
U.S. PremiereSet largely within a family’s labyrinthine Bucharest apartment during a memorial gathering for a deceased patriarch, Cristi Puiu’s virtuosic chamber drama is a film of partial glimpses and slyly obscured information. As claustrophobia mounts, the heated, humorous exchanges coalesce into a brilliantly staged and observed portrait of personal and social disquiet.
Q&As with Mia Hansen-Løve and Isabelle Huppert*The new film from Mia Hansen-Løve (Eden) is an exquisite expression of time’s passing. Isabelle Huppert is Nathalie, a Parisian professor of philosophy who comes to realize that the tectonic plates of her existence are slowly but inexorably shifting. Huppert’s remarkable performance is counterpointed by the quietly accumulating force of the action.
Maren Ade and Sandra Hüller in person*An audacious twist on the screwball comedy, in which the twosome is an aging-hippie prankster father and his corporate-ladder-climbing daughter, Toni Erdmann delivers art and entertainment in equal measure and charmed just about everyone who saw it at the Cannes Film Festival this year.
U.S. Premiere • Q&As with Jean-Pierre and Luc DardenneIn Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne’s new film, Adèle Haenel gives an extraordinary performance as a doctor who is spurred by a tragic occurrence to diagnose not just her dispossessed patients’ illnesses but also the greater malady afflicting her community.