Film at Lincoln Center announces the Retrospective and Revivals sections for the 57th New York Film Festival (September 27–October 13).
Since its founding in 1919, the ASC has served as an integral presence within the film industry. The organization’s membership has included many of the cinematographers whose technical innovations and artistic contributions have defined what we think of as the visual language of American cinema. On the occasion of the American Society of Cinematographers’s centennial, building on our 2017 Master Class with Ed Lachman and Vittorio Storaro, this year’s Retrospective section pays tribute to the vital society with a selection of historically significant and brilliantly photographed films shot by just a few of its most notable members past and present. Highlights of the section include the work of such cinematography luminaries as Néstor Almendros (Days of Heaven), Joan Churchill (Soldier Girls), James Wong Howe (The Hard Way), Ellen Kuras (Dave Chapelle’s Block Party), Sven Nykvist (The Passion of Anna), Haskell Wexler (America, America), Gordon Willis (The Godfather: Part II), and more.
The Revivals section showcases major works from filmmakers that have been digitally remastered, restored, and preserved with the assistance of generous partners. Highlights of this year’s selections include a long overdue restoration of William Wyler’s Dodsworth, a restrained and sensitive portrait of a disintegrating marriage adapted from the Sinclair Lewis novel of the same name; Béla Tarr’s magnum opus Sátántangó, restored in 4K from the original 35mm camera negative, which FLC will also open for a week-long run following the festival on October 18; a pairing of the transcendent Le franc and The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun, directed by the masterful Senegalese filmmaker Djibril Diop Mambéty; and a new 4K restoration of Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí’s second collaboration, the surrealist fever dream L’age d’or.
The NYFF57 Retrospective section is programmed by NYFF director Kent Jones and FLC Assistant Programmer Dan Sullivan. The Revivals section is programmed by Jones, Sullivan, Dennis Lim, and Florence Almozini.
Presented by Film at Lincoln Center, 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, FLC Director of Programming, and Florence Almozini, FLC Associate Director of Programming.
As part of their commitment to celebrating filmmaking talent, Warby Parker is proud to return this year as the presenting partner of the Retrospective section.
Tickets for the 57th New York Film Festival will go on sale to the general public on September 8.
As previously announced, the NYFF57 Opening Selection is Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story is the Centerpiece Selection, and Edward Norton’s Motherless Brooklyn is the Closing Selection. The complete lineup for Main Slate, Projections, Convergence, Spotlight on Documentary, Special Events, Talks, and Shorts can be found here.
Denis Lenoir; Department of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; UCLA Film & Television Archive
FILMS & DESCRIPTIONS
Elia Kazan, USA, 1963, 35mm, 174m
The great Haskell Wexler shot any number of films that could be highlighted in this section, but few can match the overwhelming ambition of this epic by Elia Kazan, based on the life of his uncle. Powered by a largely unknown cast, America, America follows Stavros (Stathis Giallelis), a Cappadocian Greek, from his tiny Anatolian village to Constantinople and finally to New York City, encountering poverty, hardship, and struggle all along the way. Wexler’s sumptuous and kinetic black-and-white handheld cinematography suffuses America, America with a spontaneous energy uncharacteristic of period films at the time, greatly enhancing Kazan’s turn-of-the-20th-century portrayal of an immigrant’s journey to a better life.
Dave Chapelle’s Block Party
Michel Gondry, USA, 2005, 35mm, 103m
One of the great recent concert films, Michel Gondry’s 2005 documentary of a free daylong performance in Brooklyn hosted by comedian Dave Chapelle abounds with life, energy, and rhythm—thanks in no small part to DP Ellen Kuras’s nimble camera, which captures the all-star concert as a kaleidoscopic, reverberant event. Featuring the likes of Erykah Badu, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, the Fugees, Jill Scott, and more, Block Party also makes for an indelible portrait of the event’s host, arguably the world’s greatest working standup comedian at the time, operating at the height of his powers, clowning around with members of the lineup, and, most crucially, serving as the catalyst for this unforgettable happening.
Days of Heaven
Terrence Malick, USA, 1978, 94m
Before coming to the United States and joining the ASC, Néstor Almendros cut his teeth as a go-to cinematographer for François Truffaut and Éric Rohmer; his first Hollywood film was Terrence Malick’s anticipated follow-up to his debut, Badlands. Almendros promptly won a 1979 Academy Award for his work. (Haskell Wexler, who received an Additional Photography credit, stepped in to help finish the film.) Hired by Malick for his sure hand with natural lighting, Almendros ravishingly draws out and amplifies the inherent beauty and poetry of Malick’s 1916-set story, concerning a laborer (Richard Gere) who accidentally kills his boss and flees Chicago for the Texas Panhandle with his girlfriend (Brooke Adams) and younger sister (Linda Manz), where they find work with a farmer (Sam Shepard).
Jim Jarmusch, USA, 1995, 129m
Jim Jarmusch’s hypnotic, parable-like, revisionist Western follows the spiritual rebirth of a dying 19th-century accountant (Johnny Depp) named William Blake (no relation to the poet . . . or is there?). Guiding Blake through a treacherous landscape of U.S. Marshals, cannibalistic bounty hunters, shady missionaries, and cross-dressing fur traders is a Plains Indian named Nobody (Gary Farmer), one of the most fully realized Native American characters in contemporary cinema. Dead Man doubles as a barbed reflection on America’s treatment of its indigenous people and a radical twist on the myths of the American West, expressed in no small part by frequent Jarmusch collaborator Robby Müller’s striking black-and-white cinematography.
The Godfather: Part II
Francis Ford Coppola, USA, 1974, 35mm, 212m
Francis Ford Coppola and Gordon Willis enjoyed one of the 1970s’ most defining cinematographic partnerships, and their most astonishing collaboration was this, the second installment of Coppola’s adaptation of Mario Puzo’s best-selling novel. Picking up where the first film left off—with Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) having assumed power over his family’s criminal syndicate—Part II tracks the young don’s move into the casino business in Las Vegas while dealing with increased attention from Washington, D.C. But most striking are the flashbacks to the early life of Michael’s father, Vito (portrayed here by an Oscar-winning Robert De Niro), lent unsurpassed dimension and atmosphere by Willis’s masterful compositions and lighting. Rare I.B. Technicolor print!
The Grapes of Wrath
John Ford, USA, 1940, 129m
Though Gregg Toland is perhaps best known for his work with Orson Welles and William Wyler on such films as Citizen Kane and The Best Years of Our Lives, his camerawork in John Ford’s adaptation of John Steinbeck’s classic novel rates among the influential cinematographer’s greatest achievements. Starring Henry Fonda as Tom Joad, the iconic itinerant ex-con leading his large family down Highway 66 in search of work and a better life in California, The Grapes of Wrath—one of American literature’s great politically liberal books adapted by a famously conservative auteur—stands as perhaps Ford’s most powerfully compassionate movie.
The Hard Way
Vincent Sherman, USA, 1943, 35mm, 109m
The pioneering Chinese-American cinematographer James Wong Howe shot more than 130 films during his distinguished career—perhaps none as engrossing and entertaining as Vincent Sherman’s 1943 genre-melding musical melodrama. Ida Lupino stars as housewife social-climber Helen, who schemes to use the budding career of her singer sister Katie (Joan Leslie) as her ticket out of their dingy steel town (conjured by earlier documentary footage shot by Pare Lorentz). But when Katie falls for an up-and-coming band leader (Jack Carson), she must choose between her new love and her conniving sister. 35mm print courtesy of UCLA Film & Television Archive.
He Walked by Night
Alfred L. Werker, USA, 1948, 35mm, 79m
Alfred Werker’s pseudo-documentary noir is a lean, mean thriller concerning a petty thief (Richard Basehart) who kills a cop and roams Los Angeles, igniting a manhunt—including future Dragnet star Jack Webb as a shrewd LAPD forensics specialist—that culminates in a climactic chase scene reminiscent of Carol Reed’s The Third Man. Finished by an uncredited Anthony Mann, the film represents one of cinematographer John Alton’s crowning achievements, an endless, anxious maze of urban shadows. 35mm restored print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive. Restoration funding provided by the George Lucas Family Foundation and The Film Foundation.
Leave Her to Heaven
John M. Stahl, USA, 1945, 110m
John M. Stahl’s landmark Technicolor melodrama-noir stars Gene Tierney as Ellen, a young socialite who meets Richard (Cornell Wilde), a reclusive ex-con novelist, on a train; they fall in love and marry after she leaves her fiancé (Vincent Price), setting off a chain of events that leads to Ellen’s escalating suspicion that Richard is actually in love with her adopted sister Ruth (Jeanne Crain). Stahl steers his brilliant cast through a mind-boggling, winding plot, toward its exorable tragic crescendo. Fox stalwart DP Leon Shamroy’s Oscar-winning work on Leave Her to Heaven marks a historically inspired attempt at a kind-of squaring of the circle: shooting a gripping noir in vibrantly beautiful Technicolor.
McCabe & Mrs. Miller
Robert Altman, USA, 1971, 121m
Robert Altman’s revisionist western classic stars Warren Beatty at the height of his powers as fur-clad gambler John McCabe, who blows into a snowy town in Washington State and sets up a brothel. He lucks into a business (and, later, romantic) partnership with a wayward cockney woman (Julie Christie), but their success lands McCabe on the radar of some unsavory types who want to buy the brothel and its adjoining zinc mines and won’t take no for an answer. Equally known for Beatty and Christie’s lead performances, Altman’s signature overlapping dialogue, and use of Leonard Cohen songs, McCabe & Mrs. Miller is defined by Vilmos Zsigmond’s fleet camerawork, which masterfully captures Altman’s characters amid snow-covered landscapes and in candlelit back rooms.
The Passion of Anna
Ingmar Bergman, Sweden, 1969, 100m
Filmed on Fårö, Ingmar Bergman’s bleak island home, The Passion of Anna is the case history of a contemporary Everyman, one Andreas Winkelmann (Max von Sydow), a lost soul ricocheting emotionally among a trio of equally damaged folk. Trapped in one of Bergman’s hellish marriages, Bibi Andersson and Erland Josephson are worlds apart—she, fading from lack of love; he, armored in cold cynicism. Anna (Liv Ullmann), the woman who becomes Andreas’s lover, assaults him with her righteous honesty until he explodes in brutal rage. Passion was filmed by legendary Bergman collaborator Sven Nykvist, who would later secure his American Society of Cinematographers membership working in America with Philip Kaufman, Bob Rafelson, James L. Brooks, Woody Allen, and others.
Nick Broomfield & Joan Churchill, USA/UK, 1981, 87m
Following a platoon of female cadets through basic training at Georgia’s Fort Gordon, Nick Broomfield and Joan Churchill’s 1981 documentary endures as a comical and often critical look at the military industrial complex. The film’s subjects have enlisted for a myriad of reasons, ranging from genuine patriotism to socioeconomic circumstance. But once the women begin training, they find themselves performing strange drills, encountering stranger drill sergeants, and experiencing no shortage of sadism and prejudice. In her collaborations with Broomfield, Churchill’s work is always impeccable, but it’s especially striking here, where her dual role as cinematographer and director intensifies her already complicated relationship to the subject.
Frank Borzage, USA, 1928, 102m
In Frank Borzage’s essential silent melodrama, a young woman (Janet Gaynor in an Oscar-winning role) forced into a life of crime by her ailing mother’s escalating medical costs finds herself on the lam, seeking refuge with a traveling circus—where she falls in love with a bad boy painter, played by Borzage axiom Charles Farrell. Brilliantly shot by Ernest Palmer and Paul Ivano, Street Angel has endured as one of Borzage’s most transporting and affecting weepies. The film is also notable for being a key example of the transitional silent/sound hybrid form, featuring no recorded dialogue but nevertheless boasting an early Movietone track of sound effects and passages of recorded music. 4K restoration!
Luis Buñuel, 1930, France, 63m
Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí followed up their seminal first collaboration, the short Un chien andalou, with this equally bold, unforgettable surrealist masterpiece, which they co-wrote. In L’age d’or, a documentary about scorpions gives way to a series of seemingly disconnected, absurdist scenarios and Freudian symbols—a young couple writhing in the mud near a religious ceremony, a woman fellating the toe of a statue—adding up to an acridly funny picture of the hypocrisies of modern bourgeois life. Months after its premiere, right-wing groups rioted against the film, leading to its being banned in France until the eighties. L’age d’or eventually came to be seen as an essential modernist work, and this incredible new 4K restoration by the Cinémathèque française and Centre Pompidou (MNAM-CCI expérimental cinema department) has brought its image and sound back to brilliant life. Special thanks to Pathé and Maison de Champagne Piper-Heidsieck.
William Wyler, 1936, USA, 101m
This worldly, richly layered adaptation of Sinclair Lewis’s 1929 novel is one of the triumphs of the storied career of director William Wyler—and that’s saying a lot. A stoic yet tender Walter Huston brilliantly inhabits the title character, a newly retired Midwestern auto magnate whose marriage to the perpetually dissatisfied Fran (early talkies star Ruth Chatterton in perhaps her finest role) is put to the test during an extended voyage to Europe. Mary Astor, David Niven, and Paul Lukas round out the luminous supporting cast as the various objects of flirtation who guide the Dodsworths as they change life’s course. Considered a high watermark of Hollywood sophistication upon release, this Samuel Goldwyn production (a Retrospective selection in NYFF24) increasingly feels like a singular movie about the variable definitions of American progress, with Wyler effortlessly depicting the shifting tides of marriage with restraint and maturity. Restored by the Academy Film Archive and The Film Foundation, in association with The Samuel Goldwyn Jr. Family Trust, with funding provided by the George Lucas Family Foundation.
The Incredible Shrinking Man
Jack Arnold, 1957, USA, 81m
A dangerous combination of radiation and insecticide causes the unfortunate Scott Carey (Grant Williams) to shrink, slowly but surely, until he is only a few inches tall. His home becomes a wilderness where he must survive everything from spiders living in the cellar to his beloved cat. Through the clarity of its existential vision and trick photography effects, The Incredible Shrinking Man is a cornerstone of the sci-fi B-movie boom of the American fifties, written by the incomparable Richard Matheson, based on his own story, and directed by Jack Arnold, whose credits also include It Came from Outer Space and The Creature from the Black Lagoon. A Universal Pictures release. This is the domestic premiere of a new 4K digital restoration by Universal Pictures; the restoration work was conducted by NBCUniversal StudioPost.
Jazz on a Summer’s Day
Bert Stern, 1959, USA, 85m
One of the most extraordinary concert films ever made, Brooklyn-born fashion photographer Bert Stern’s glistening, full-color document of the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island is as intimate and gorgeous a depiction of a live music event as one could hope to see. And the lineup of legendary talent truly astonishes: Thelonius Monk, Big Maybelle, Dinah Washington, Chuck Berry, Louis Armstrong, Mahalia Jackson, Anita O’Day, Gerry Mulligan, and many others, all of them performing at the top of their game and captured on warm, saturated color film stock, with close-up camerawork that captures every bead of sweat. New 4K Restoration by IndieCollect, created with support from the Library of Congress.
Le franc + The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun
Djibril Diop Mambéty, 1999/1994, Senegal, 45m/46m
The great Senegalese director Djibril Diop Mambéty, who is best known for 1971’s epochal Touki Bouki—and whose legacy can be felt in this year’s NYFF, with his niece Mati Diop’s masterful, Cannes-awarded Atlantics in the Main Slate—made two wonderful medium-length films in the nineties that were intended to be part of a trilogy titled “Tales of Ordinary People,” but the filmmaker in died 1998 before he could finish. In Le franc, a broke musician comes upon a lottery ticket after his beloved instrument is confiscated by his landlady; in the posthumously released The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun, a young girl decides to sell newspapers on the streets, despite the fact that boys have historically run that racket. The two films function beautifully as a pair of magical realist works grounded in the political realities of Dakar. Restored in 2K in 2019 by Waka Films with the support of the Institut Français, Cinémathèque Afrique and CNC – Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée, in agreement with Teemur Mambéty, at Éclair Laboratories from the original negative.
Los Olvidados (The Young and the Damned)
Luis Buñuel, 1950, Mexico, 80m
Nearly two decades after the scandals of Un chien andalou and L’age d’or, Luis Buñuel had a major international comeback with Los Olvidados, which remains one of the world’s most influential films in its unsentimental yet vivid, sometimes surreal depiction of impoverished youths in Mexico City. In the story of a juvenile delinquent who reunites with his gang after breaking out of prison, unflinching, desperate violence becomes riveting visual poetry with lyrical experimental flourishes. Buñuel won Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival for this film, which all but reignited his career, leading to two decades of increasingly daring work. Restored by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project at L’Immagine Ritrovata in collaboration with Fundación Televisa, Televisa, Cineteca Nacional Mexico, and Filmoteca de la UNAM. Restoration funding provided by The Material World Foundation.
Valerio Zurlini, 1972, Italy/France, 132m
In Valerio Zurlini’s penetrating character study, Alain Delon—who also co-produced—stars as Daniele, a tragically hip poetry and literature professor who travels to Rimini for a four-month teaching assignment with his suicidal wife, Monica (Lea Massari), in tow. During his tenure, Daniele is indifferent to his students, even letting them smoke in class. He spends his free time gambling with locals, and begins an ill-fated affair with one of his students, Vanina (Sonia Petrovna). This melancholic visual poem, a film of cold and fog, shot in shades of gray disaffection, was cut down upon its release at the insistence of Delon. Now, 45 minutes have been added back in for a new generation of viewers. New 4K restoration by Pathé and Films du Camélia, by the lab L’Image Retrouvée (Paris). Special thanks to Ronnie Chammah.
Béla Tarr, Hungary/Germany/Switzerland, 1994, 432m (plus two intermissions)
Among the world’s most respected and transformative filmmakers, Béla Tarr—whose final film, The Turin Horse, played at NYFF49—made his international breakthrough with this astonishing, singular adaptation of the novel by László Krasznahorkai about the arrival of a false prophet in a small farming collective during the waning days of Communism. Divided into 12 distinct episodes, this seven-and-a-half hour masterpiece weaves in and out of the lives of the locals as the silver-tongued Irimiás (played by Tarr’s longtime musical composer Mihály Vig) promises a bright future in a new promised land. This bleak yet mordantly funny study of domestic and social decay was ranked 36th on the most recent Sight & Sound critics’ poll of the greatest film ever made. Sátántangó has been restored in 4K from the original 35mm camera negative by Arbelos in collaboration with the Hungarian Filmlab. An Arbelos release. Opening October 18 at Film at Lincoln Center.
Three Short Films by Sergei Parajanov
Sergei Parajanov, Soviet Union, 1966–86, 46m
Armenian-Georgian filmmaker and artist Sergei Parajanov’s radical, visually dynamic Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors and The Color of Pomegranates, distinguished by cultural folklore and myth, are only the best known works of this peerless Soviet-era filmmaker, a student of Moscow’s prestigious VGIK film school. Internationally respected, he nevertheless became increasingly controversial in the Soviet Union, dealing with censorship and imprisonment. This program brings together three remarkable short works, meditations on the nature of art and artists that boast his singular, colorful, collage-like style and which have been newly restored: Kiev Frescoes (1966), consisting of the remaining footage of a confiscated project about post–WWII Kiev; Hakob Hovnatanyan (1967), a tribute to the art of nineteenth-century Armenian painter; and Arabesques on the Pirosmani Theme (1986), bringing to life the playful work of Georgian outsider artist Niko Pirosmani. Restorations by Fixafilm (Warsaw), produced within the Hamo Bek-Nazarov Project. Restoration supervised by Lukasz Ceranka and produced by Daniel Bird. Financial support from Kino Klassika Foundation (London).
The House Is Black
Forough Farrokhzad, Iran, 1962, 21m
In her only film—one of the most acclaimed shorts ever made—Iranian director Forough Farrokhzad depicts with compassion and poetry the lives of people living in a leper colony in Northern Iran. Farrokhzad wrote, directed, and edited The House Is Black, and she creates a world unto itself, using unexpected disjunctions between sound and image to enhance the feeling of marginalized experienced by her subjects. Restored by Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna and Ecran Noir productions, in collaboration with Ebrahim Golestan. With the support of Genoma Films and Mahrokh Eshaghian.
Ten Documentary Shorts by Vittorio De Seta
Vittorio De Seta, Italy, 1954–59, 119m
The extraordinary documentary shorts made by Italian director Vittorio De Seta in the fifties stand alone from the films of his contemporaries for the rigor of their observational eye. Shot in locations around Sicily, Sardinia, and Calabria, these vivid, colorful, narration-free nonfiction works alight on the daily labors and traditional customs of rural workers and their families, bringing out their rituals with such focused determination that they become almost dreamlike. Watching these films together creates a mesmeric immersion into a time, place, and cinema itself. Titles include Lu tempu di li pisci spata (1954), Isole di fuoco (1954), Pasqua in Sicilia (1955), Surfarara (1955), Contadini del mare (1955), Parabola d’oro (1955), Un giorno in Barbagia (1958), Pescherecci (1958), Pastori di orgosolo (1958), and I dimenticati (1959). Restored by the Cineteca di Bologna at L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory and The Film Foundation, with funding provided by the George Lucas Family Foundation.