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25 of the most exciting new feature films from around the world.

Lovers Rock

  • Steve McQueen
  • 2020
  • UK
  • 68 minutes
A movie of tactile sensuality and levitating joy, Lovers Rock is part of Steve McQueen’s Small Axe anthology of decades-spanning films that alight on various lives in London’s West Indian community. Here, McQueen, in an ecstatic yet no less formally bold mode, charts the growing attraction between Martha (newcomer Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn) and a brooding stranger (Micheal Ward) over the course of one night at a house party.

Nomadland

  • Chloé Zhao
  • 2020
  • USA
  • 108 minutes
Chloé Zhao’s richly textured follow-up to her acclaimed The Rider recounts a year in the life of Fern (Frances McDormand), a stoic, stubbornly independent widow who, having spent her adult life in a now-defunct company town, repurposes an old van and sets off in search of seasonal work. Mixing professionals and non-actors, Nomadland is a road movie for our precarious times.

French Exit

  • Azazel Jacobs
  • 2020
  • USA
  • 110 minutes
  • English and French with English subtitles
Michelle Pfeiffer is entirely bewitching as an imperious, widowed New York socialite who, facing financial insolvency, relocates to a friend’s empty apartment in Paris with her dyspeptic son, Malcolm (Lucas Hedges), and their mercurial cat, and begins to grimly plan for an impossible future. Azazel Jacobs’s adaptation of the best-selling novel by Patrick deWitt is a rare American film of genuine eccentricity, with a brilliant central performance.

Atarrabi and Mikelats

  • Eugène Green
  • 2020
  • France/Belgium
  • 123 minutes
  • Euskara with English subtitles
The sacred Atarrabi and the profane Mikelats follow wildly divergent paths in Eugène Green’s tale of two brothers, a modern-dress take on Basque myth perched on the line between earnest spirituality and sly satire.

Beginning

  • Dea Kulumbegashvili
  • 2020
  • Georgia
  • 125 minutes
  • Georgian with English subtitles
In her striking feature debut, Georgian filmmaker Dea Kulumbegashvili tells the devastating story of a persecuted family of Jehovah’s Witness missionaries in a remote village outside of from the perspective of a traumatized wife and mother.

The Calming

  • Song Fang
  • 2020
  • China
  • 93 minutes
  • English, Japanese, and Mandarin with English subtitles
In Song Fang’s film of arresting beauty and tranquility, a young director makes her way around Japan, China, and Hong Kong after the dissolution of a relationship, presenting her work, engaging with friends and artists, and dealing with the realities of aging parents.

City Hall

  • Frederick Wiseman
  • 2020
  • USA
  • 272 minutes
In his latest kaleidoscopic look at the function and practice of community, policy, and civic engagement in American life, Frederick Wiseman trains his camera on the inner workings of the city of Boston to get at larger ideas about a country’s steps toward inclusivity and social reform.

Days

  • Tsai Ming-liang
  • 2020
  • Taiwan/France
  • 127 minutes
  • Taiwanese
In one of Tsai Ming-liang’s best and sparest works, Lee Kang-sheng plays a variation on himself, wandering through a lonely urban landscape and seeking treatment for a chronic illness; at the same time, a young Laotian immigrant working in Bangkok goes about his daily routine. The lives of these two solitary men eventually converge.

The Disciple

  • Chaitanya Tamhane
  • 2020
  • India
  • 128 minutes
  • Bengali, English, Hindi, and Marathi with English subtitles
Indian filmmaker Chaitanya Tamhane’s much-anticipated follow-up to Court is a finely crafted labor of love set in the world of Hindustani classical music, starring singer—and remarkable first-time actor—Aditya Modak as a man living in Mumbai who tries to follow in the footsteps of his father and become a maestro in the Khayal raag music tradition.

Gunda

  • Victor Kossakovsky
  • 2020
  • Norway
  • 93 minutes
Victor Kossakovsky’s remarkable, heartbreaking documentary uses natural sound design and crisp, pastoral black-and-white cinematography to immerse the viewer in the compassionate tale of a sow who lives on a farm in Norway.

I Carry You With Me

  • Heidi Ewing
  • 2020
  • USA/Mexico
  • 111 minutes
  • Spanish with English subtitles
Among the most emotionally resonant and innovatively conceived cinematic love stories in years, I Carry You With Me unexpectedly and brilliantly incorporates documentary elements into the tale of a burgeoning romance between two men who cross the border from Mexico to the U.S.

Isabella

  • Matías Piñeiro
  • 2020
  • Argentina
  • 80 minutes
  • Spanish with English subtitles
Never has Argentinian filmmaker Matías Piñeiro’s art been more graceful or structurally complex than in his latest, in which he again uses a Shakespeare text to anchor a loose yet intellectually rigorous examination of life’s loves, labors, and futile pursuits.

Malmkrog

  • Cristi Puiu
  • 2020
  • Romania
  • 200 minutes
  • French, German, Hungarian, and Russian with English subtitles
A turn-of-the-20th-century Christmas Eve gathering among five members of the European elite at an elegant Transylvanian estate becomes the setting for an increasingly intense succession of conversations in Cristi Puiu’s pristine, sometimes terrifying vision of the simmering violence beneath the colonialist’s veneer of politesse.

Mangrove

  • Steve McQueen
  • 2020
  • UK
  • 126 minutes
An epic piece of Steve McQueen’s Small Axe anthology, Mangrove tells the true story of Frank Crichlow, the Trinidad-born owner of a café in Notting Hill who was arrested for protesting the police’s intimidation and brutality. This is a vivid and gripping dramatization of these events and the resulting landmark 1970 court case of Crichlow and the other defendants, who came to be known as the Mangrove Nine.

MLK/FBI

  • Sam Pollard
  • 2020
  • US
  • 104 minutes
Throughout his history-altering political career, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was often treated by U.S. intelligence and law enforcement like an enemy of the state. In this virtuosic documentary, veteran editor and director Sam Pollard lays out a detailed account of the FBI surveillance that dogged King’s activism throughout the 1950s and ’60s.

Night of the Kings

  • Philippe Lacôte
  • 2020
  • France/Ivory Coast/Canada/Senegal
  • 93 minutes
  • Dioula, French, and Ivorian slang with English subtitles
Paying homage to the tradition of the griot in West African culture, this original vision from breakout Ivory Coast filmmaker Philippe Lacôte tells the story of a pickpocket (Koné Bakary), newly arrived at a correctional facility in the Ivorian capital of Abidjan, who, in order to stay alive, must keep his fellow inmates entertained with wild tales over the course of a night.

Notturno

  • Gianfranco Rosi
  • 2020
  • Italy/France/Germany
  • 100 minutes
  • Arabic and Kurdish with English subtitles
Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Gianfranco Rosi returns with an immersive work of nonfiction; shot over the course of three years along the borders of Iraq, Kurdistan, Syria, and Lebanon, Notturno is a nighttime ramble through a region rocked and shattered by catastrophe and violence.

Red, White and Blue

  • Steve McQueen
  • 2020
  • UK
In Steve McQueen’s vivid adaptation of a true story set in the early ’80s, John Boyega gives an impassioned yet nuanced performance as Leroy Logan, a member of the London Metropolitan police force who both witnessed and experienced first-hand the organization’s fundamental racism.

The Salt of Tears

  • Philippe Garrel
  • 2020
  • France
  • 100 minutes
  • French with English subtitles
Handsome Luc (Logann Antuofermo) aggressively courts Djemila (Oulaya Amamra) on a Paris suburb metro. But in veteran filmmaker Philippe Garrel’s pinpoint precise and economically told moral tale, she isn’t destined to be his one and only.

Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue

  • Jia Zhangke
  • 2020
  • China
  • 111 minutes
  • Mandarin with English subtitles
In his evocative new documentary, Jia Zhangke gathers three prominent authors—Jia Pingwa, Yu Hua, and Liang Hong—in Shanxi province, where he grew up, to create a tapestry of testimonies about the drastic changes in Chinese life and culture that began with the social revolution of the 1950s.

Time

  • Garrett Bradley
  • 2020
  • USA
  • 81 minutes
The tireless 20-year campaign of Louisiana woman Fox Rich to secure her husband’s release after he received a 60-year prison sentence for robbery becomes a delicate work of nonfiction cinematic alchemy in the hands of filmmaker Garrett Bradley.

Tragic Jungle

  • Yulene Olaizola
  • 2020
  • Mexico
  • 96 minutes
  • English, Creole, Maya, and Spanish with English subtitles
In the 1920s, Agnes (Indira Andrewin) escapes from the white British landowner she doesn’t want to marry into the deep thickets of the tropical forest along the Rio Hondo River. Mexican filmmaker Yulene Olaizola immerses the viewer in a richly drawn, tactile experience that works as both a gripping adventure and a contemplative rumination on the brutality and splendor of nature.

The Truffle Hunters

  • Michael Dweck, Gregory Kershaw
  • 2020
  • Italy/USA/Greece
  • 84 minutes
  • Italian and Piedmontese with English subtitles
This revelatory, earthy documentary immerses the viewer in the forests of Northern Italy where dogs, accompanied by their elderly and often irascible human owners of modest means, seek the precious white Alba truffle.

Undine

  • Christian Petzold
  • 2020
  • Germany
  • 90 minutes
  • German with English subtitles
German director Christian Petzold (Phoenix, Transit) injects a mythological element into a lush melodrama about a pair of star-crossed lovers—Undine (Paula Beer), a historian and museum tour guide specializing in urban development, and Christoph, an industrial diver—linked by an affinity for the water.

The Woman Who Ran

  • Hong Sangsoo
  • 2020
  • South Korea
  • 77 minutes
  • Korean with English subtitles
Divided into three casually threaded yet distinct sections, Hong Sangsoo’s latest delight follows Gamhee—played by the director’s regular collaborator Kim Minhee—as she travels without her husband for the first time in years, reconnecting with a succession of friends, on purpose and by chance.

Spotlight

NYFF’s showcase of sneak previews, gala events, screenings with live elements, and other special evenings.

All In: The Fight for Democracy

  • Lisa Cortés, Liz Garbus
  • 2020
  • USA
  • 102 minutes
Candid interviews with the Democratic Party’s rising star Stacey Abrams anchor this invigorating and rigorous primer on the history of voter suppression in the United States. It’s a film of clarifying urgency, especially in an election year in which the very process of voting has come under threat from those determined to stay in power.

David Byrne’s American Utopia

  • Spike Lee
  • 2020
  • USA
  • 105 minutes
Spike Lee’s film of David Byrne’s acclaimed Broadway show is an exhilarating record of a seismic theater event as well as a momentous work of cinema in its own right. Both joyous and politically engaged, it’s a reckoning of these dark times through music and togetherness, with a galvanizing rendition of Janelle Monáe’s “Hell You Talmbout” that’s destined to be one of the year’s most talked-about screen moments.

Hopper/Welles

  • Orson Welles
  • 2020
  • USA
  • 130 minutes
In November 1970, two movie mavericks, one already a legend (Orson Welles) and the other on his way to mythic status (Dennis Hopper), met for an epochal conversation, sharing their candid thoughts and feelings about cinema, art, and life. This entertaining and revealing footage, never before seen in full, has been resurrected by producer Filip Jan Rymsza and editor Bob Murawski.

The Human Voice

  • Pedro Almodóvar
  • 2020
  • Spain
  • 30 minutes
  • English and Spanish with English subtitles
Tilda Swinton swallows up the screen as a woman traumatized by the end of a relationship in Pedro Almodóvar’s new short film. An impeccably designed yet combustible adaptation of Jean Cocteau’s 1930 play The Human Voice, it marks the Spanish director’s English-language debut.

The Monopoly of Violence

  • David Dufresne
  • 2020
  • France
  • 86 minutes
  • French with English subtitles
In this essential and timely documentary about police violence in contemporary France, filmmaker and journalist David Dufresne examines the ways in which a government justifies brutal acts against its own citizens, enacting totalitarian methods to keep the populace under its control.

On the Rocks

  • Sofia Coppola
  • 2020
  • USA
  • 95 minutes
In Sofia Coppola’s lighthearted but poignantly personal comedy about aging, marriage, and the tenuous bond between parents and grown children, New York author and married mother-of-two Laura (Rashida Jones) has become suspicious that her career-driven husband (Marlon Wayans) may be having an affair with a coworker—a speculation encouraged by her caddish, bon vivant father (Bill Murray).

Currents

The new Currents section complements the Main Slate, tracing a more complete picture of contemporary cinema with an emphasis on new and innovative forms and voices.

The Inheritance

  • Ephraim Asili
  • 2020
  • USA
  • 100 minutes
An endlessly generative work of politics, humor, and philosophy, Ephraim Asili’s feature-length debut takes place almost entirely within the walls of a West Philadelphia house where a community of young people have come together to form a collective of Black artists and activists.

Fauna

  • Nicolás Pereda
  • 2020
  • Mexico/Canada
  • 70 minutes
  • Spanish with English subtitles
Nicolás Pereda’s ticklish and dark-toned feature mixes realism and absurdity in the story of a television actress who joins her estranged brother and new boyfriend to visit her parents’ rustic home in the Mexican countryside, where they encounter culture clash and familial tensions. But Pereda has a metafictional trick up his sleeve.

Her Name Was Europa

  • Anja Dornieden, Juan David González Monroy
  • 2020
  • Germany
  • 76 minutes
  • Dutch and English with English subtitles
Berlin-based filmmakers Anja Dornieden and Juan David González Monroy fashion a poetic and deadpan 16mm work of fanciful nonfiction based on historical attempts to bring back the aurochs, a breed of wild cattle extinct since the early 17th century. Screening with the latest archival wonder from Sergei Loznitsa, an ironic mini-portrait of the galas of Paris’s Palais Garnier in the 1950s and ’60s.

Her Socialist Smile

  • John Gianvito
  • 2020
  • USA
  • 93m minutes
In his new film, John Gianvito (The Mad Songs of Fernanda Hussein) meditates on a particular moment in early 20th-century history: when Helen Keller began speaking out passionately on behalf of progressive causes. The film is a rousing reminder of Keller’s undaunted activism for labor rights, pacifism, and women’s suffrage.

The Last City

  • Heinz Emigholz
  • 2020
  • Germany
  • 100 minutes
In Heinz Emigholz’s ambitious and surprisingly funny film, five cities around the world become the backdrops for a series of spiraling tête-a-têtes on such issues such as war crimes, racism, family, religion, sex, and cosmology. As one character says, it’s a film of “social taboos, the paradoxical logic of dreams, an infinite round dance.”

The Lobby

  • Heinz Emigholz
  • 2020
  • Germany/Argentina
  • 76 minutes
An Old White Male (John Erdman) holds court in the lobbies of various apartment buildings in Buenos Aires and expounds with measured disgust on death, consciousness, and the state of contemporary human relations. Heinz Emigholz’s spare continuation—and sardonic distillation—of certain themes explored in The Last City is morbid, confrontational, and hilarious.

My Mexican Bretzel

  • Nuria Giménez
  • 2019
  • Spain
  • 74 minutes
  • Spanish with English subtitles
Mid-century home movies in glorious color and onscreen subtitles taken from the diaries of one Vivian Barrett provide the narrative skeleton for a singular exploration of storytelling in Nuria Giménez’s first feature, an imaginative cinematic sleight of hand.

Ouvertures

  • The Living and the Dead Ensemble
  • 2020
  • UK/France
  • 132 minutes
  • Haitian Creole and French with English subtitles
In this first film from The Living and the Dead Ensemble—a collaboration among artists and performers from Haiti, France, and the United Kingdom spearheaded by artist Louis Henderson and curator Olivier Marboeuf—a group of young actors translate, rehearse, and debate their Creole production of Édouard Glissant’s play Monsieur Toussaint, creating a space in which the ghosts of Haiti’s colonial past return to address its present.

The Plastic House

  • Allison Chhorn
  • 2019
  • Australia
  • 46 minutes
  • Khmer with English subtitles
Economical yet expansive, and largely wordless, The Plastic House takes place inside and around a dilapidated greenhouse that belongs to filmmaker Allison Chhorn’s Cambodian family; in this quiet environment, she oversees inspiring regrowth despite the sometimes harsh natural elements. Screening with Laida Lertxundi’s embodied meditation on women’s everyday experiences and the indeterminacy of the self, and Shun Ikezoe’s textured, black-and-white Super 8mm recollection of the life—as it was, and as it could have been—of his grandmother.

Slow Machine

  • Joe DeNardo, Paul Felten
  • 2020
  • US
  • 72 minutes
The thriller genre is exploded and reassembled in DeNardo and Felten’s funny and alluring work on paranoia, surveillance, and performance, featuring an intriguingly eclectic cast: experimental theater performers Stephanie Hayes and Scott Shepherd, the musician Eleanor Friedberger, and Chloë Sevigny, among others. Screening with Mark Jenkin’s deliriously arch gothic, made with his trademark hand-processed black-and-white photography, about a Cornish-revivalist poet’s encounter with a haunted unfinished poem.

There Are Not Thirty-Six Ways of Showing a Man Getting on a Horse

  • Nicolás Zukerfeld
  • 2020
  • Argentina
  • 63 minutes
  • English and Spanish with English subtitles
Nicolás Zukerfeld’s third feature is a wry, surprising work of filmmaking-as-criticism that traces a mysterious and amusing arc across the vast oeuvre of pantheon auteur Raoul Walsh, before suddenly reinventing itself as an essayistic investigation into memory, cinema, and their shared mutability. Screening with the latest entry in Guy Maddin’s strange universe: a bizarrely humorous and modernist dystopian fable about a carnival mindreader who finally meets his match.

The Tango of the Widower and Its Distorting Mirror

  • Raúl Ruiz, Valeria Sarmiento
  • 2020
  • Chile
  • 64 minutes
  • Spanish with English subtitles
This latest dispatch from beyond the grave by the legendary Chilean director Raúl Ruiz (completed, as ever, by his widow, the filmmaker Valeria Sarmiento) tells the surrealistic tale of a sickly literature professor haunted the memory of his wife and attempting to carry on as normal despite the ever-weakening boundary between his dreams and waking life.

The Works and Days (of Tayoko Shiojiri in the Shiotani Basin)

  • C.W. Winter, Anders Edström
  • 2020
  • USA/Sweden/Japan/UK
  • 480 minutes
  • English, Japanese, and Swedish with English subtitles
Five seasons, four parts, eight hours: the dimensions of C.W. Winter and Anders Edström’s film are as incommensurable as its central figure. Tayoko Shiojiri, a vegetable farmer who works and cares for her ailing husband in a small village north of Kyoto, Japan, is the nominal core of this monumental work, observed through precise tableaux and dense sonic collage that bend distinctions between fiction and documentary.

The Year of the Discovery

  • Luis López Carrasco
  • 2020
  • Spain
  • 200 minutes
  • Spanish with English subtitles
Shot on Hi-8 videotape entirely within a smoky snack bar, with occasional interruptions by archival news bulletins and TV commercials, Luis López Carrasco’s second feature excavates the forgotten histories of 1992—a pivotal year in which Spain celebrated both the Olympic Games in Barcelona and the quincentenary of Columbus’s arrival in the Americas, and ushered in a new age of neoliberalism.

Program 1: Remains to Be Seen

  • Various
  • 2020
  • 73 minutes
Featuring Ismaïl Bahri's Apparition, Pilar Monsell's A Revolt Without Images, Vika Kirchenbauer's UNTITLED SEQUENCE OF GAPS, Mouaad el Salem's This Day Won't Last, and Jafar Panahi's Hidden.

Program 2: Free Radicals

  • Various
  • 2019-2020
  • 66 minutes
Featuring Akosua Adoma Owusu's King of Sanwi, Simon Liu & Jennie MaryTai Liu's - force -, Suneil Sanzgiri's Letter From Your Far-Off Country, Shobun Baile's Trust Study #1, and Riccardo Giacconi's Ekphrasis.

Program 3: Letters from Home

  • Various
  • 2019-2020
  • 91 minutes
Featuring Luis Arnías's Malembe, Alexandra Cuesta's Notes, Imprints (on Love): Part I, Ute Aurand's Glimpses from a Visit to Orkney in Summer 1995, Carla Simón & Dominga Sotomayor's Correspondence, Ayo Akingbade's Claudette's Star, and Mathilde Girard's Episodes - spring 2018.

Program 4: There Are Other Worlds They Have Not Told You Of

  • Various
  • 2019-2020
  • 67 minutes
Featuring Sylvia Schedelbauer's Labor of Love, Ben Rivers's Look Then Below, Mary Helena Clark's Figure Minus Fact, Burak Çevik's While Cursed by Specters, and Andrew Norman Wilson's In the Air Tonight.

Program 5: The Medium Is the Message

  • Various
  • 2019-2020
  • 79 minutes
Featuring Steve Reinke's An Arrow Pointing to a Hole, Hsu Che-Yu's Single Copy, and Lawrence Abu Hamdan's Once Removed.

Program 6: Here and Elsewhere

  • Various
  • 2019-2020
  • 83 minutes
Featuring Thirza Cuthand's Extractions, Melisa Liebenthal's Aquí y allá, Kevin Jerome Everson's Sanfield, and Ana Vaz's Apiyemiyekî?.

Program 7: Code Unknown

  • Various
  • 2020
  • 81 minutes
Featuring Aya Kawazoe's Humongous!, Jacqueline Lentzou's The End of Suffering (a proposal), Sofia Bohdanowicz's Point and Line to Plane, Phạm Ngọc Lân's The Unseen River, and Graham Foy's August 22, This Year.

Program 8: New York Stories

  • Various
  • 2020
  • 97 minutes
Featuring Sarah Friedland's Drills, Ricky D’Ambrose's Object Lessons, or: What Happened Whitsunday, Noah Kloster & Lewie Kloster's Shots in the Dark with David Godlis, Oliver Shahery's Wild Bill Horsecock, Neo Sora's The Chicken, Tayler Montague's In Sudden Darkness, and Jay Giampietro's The Isolated.

Revivals

The Revivals section connects cinema’s rich past to its dynamic present through an eclectic assortment of new restorations, titles selected by the festival’s filmmakers, rarities, and more.

John Waters Presents: Art Movie Hell at the Drive-In

  • 212 minutes
Ever the filth elder, NYFF58 poster designer John Waters has also selected a shock-epic double feature as part of NYFF58’s Revivals section, including Gaspar Noé’s frenetic dance into madness, Climax, and Pier Paolo Pasolini’s infamously grotesque—and masterful—Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom.

The Chess Game of the Wind

  • Mohammad Reza Aslani
  • 1976
  • Iran
  • 93 minutes
  • Farsi with English subtitles
A recently (re)discovered landmark of Iranian cinema, Mohammad Reza Aslani’s sumptuous debut feature is set during the rule of the Qajar dynasty and chronicles the fallout when a noble family’s matriarch passes away, kindling tensions new and old among her heirs.

Damnation

  • Béla Tarr
  • 1988
  • Hungary
  • 116 minutes
  • Hungarian with English subtitles
A key turning point in Béla Tarr’s career, the first of the director’s six collaborations with novelist László Krasznahorkai is a highly stylized, black-and-white film noir, focusing on the efforts of a dour loner (Miklós Székely B.) to steal back his estranged lover from her debt-addled husband.

Flowers of Shanghai

  • Hou Hsiao-hsien
  • 1998
  • Taiwan
  • 113 minutes
  • Cantonese and Shanghainese with English subtitles
Hou Hsiao-hsien made his seventh festival appearance with this transfixing masterwork, a ravishingly beautiful chamber drama that follows the intertwined fortunes and intrigues of four “flower girls” serving in the opulent brothels of fin-de-siècle 19th-century Shanghai.

The Hourglass Sanatorium

  • Wojciech Has
  • 1973
  • Poland
  • 124 minutes
The collective trauma of the Holocaust looms over this adaptation of Jewish author Bruno Schulz’s visionary and poetic reflection on the nature of time and death, which won the Jury Award at Cannes.

In the Mood for Love

  • Wong Kar Wai
  • 2000
  • Hong Kong
  • 98 minutes
  • Cantonese, Shanghainese, French, and Spanish with English subtitles
In Wong Kar Wai’s lusciously stylized, swoon-inducing instant classic, iconic screen couple Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung play next-door neighbors who carry out a platonic romance amid the alleyways and noodle shops of 1960s Hong Kong.

Meeting the Man: James Baldwin in Paris

  • Terence Dixon
  • 1971
  • UK/France
  • 27 minutes
This rare film document of one of the towering figures of 20th-century American literature—photographed by Jack Hazan (Rude Boy, A Bigger Splash)—captures the iconic writer in several symbolic locations, including the Place de la Bastille.

Muhammad Ali, the Greatest

  • William Klein
  • 1974
  • France
  • 123 minutes
  • English and French with English subtitles

William Klein’s masterful portrait of Ali is arguably the most complex documentary about an athlete ever made and exhilarating evidence that the three-time undisputed heavyweight champion of the world was one of the key cultural and political figures of his time.

Simone Barbes or Virtue

  • Marie-Claude Treilhou
  • 1980
  • France
  • 77 minutes
  • French with English subtitles
A criminally overlooked work from the post-post-New Wave era of French cinema, Marie-Claude Treilhou’s stylish and atmospheric feature debut follows a porno theater usher through a series of curious encounters with acquaintances and eccentric strangers alike.

Smooth Talk

  • Joyce Chopra
  • 1985
  • USA
  • 92 minutes
In her first lead role, 18-year-old Laura Dern gave one of her most stirring, layered performances in Joyce Chopra’s adaptation of a Joyce Carol Oates short story about a teenager whose sexual exploration during her summer days in the Northern California suburbs takes a dangerous turn when she meets a mysterious stranger.

The Spook Who Sat by the Door

  • Ivan Dixon
  • 1973
  • U.S.
  • 102 minutes
An iconoclastic work of American political cinema whose polemical power has only grown with time, Ivan Dixon’s adaptation of Sam Greenlee’s 1969 novel—about a Black nationalist who infiltrates the CIA—endures as an incisive portrayal of Black militant struggle in the wake of the Civil Rights Movement and the convulsive 1960s.

Xiao Wu

  • Jia Zhangke
  • 1997
  • Chiina
  • 112 minutes
  • Mandarin with English subtitles
Among the most essential filmmakers of the past several decades, Jia Zhangke launched his career with this, his 1997 debut about a pickpocket struggling to keep up with the current of China’s transformation into an economic powerhouse.

Zero for Conduct

  • Jean Vigo
  • 1933
  • France
  • 49 minutes
A delirious and visually astonishing achievement and an acknowledged inspiration for Francois Truffaut’s The 400 Blows and Lindsay Anderson’s if..., Zero for Conduct is at once a sweet ode to childhood and a dreamlike exaltation of youthful chaos set in an all-boys boarding school.

Talks

Free Talk: NYFF58 Kick-off

  • 60 minutes
Get ready for the 58th edition of the New York Film Festival with a special preview led by NYFF's new programming team! NYFF58 Talks programmers Devika Girish and Maddie Whittle will chat with the rest of the team about curating the historic festival in an unprecedented year and the must-see films in this year's lineup.

Deep Focus

In-depth dialogues with festival filmmakers & their collaborators.

Free Talk: Smooth Talk with Laura Dern, Joyce Chopra, and Joyce Carol Oates

  • 60 minutes
To celebrate the premiere of the new restoration of Smooth Talk (1985) in NYFF58’s Revivals section, tune in for a live conversation with the three powerhouse women behind the film: director Joyce Chopra; actress Laura Dern; and author Joyce Carol Oates, whose short story provided the inspiration for the film. Moderated by TCM host Alicia Malone.

Free Talk: Tsai Ming-liang 

  • 60 minutes
An unparalleled portraitist of loneliness and longing, Tsai Ming-liang returns to NYFF with Days: his first feature since 2013’s Stray Dogs, and undoubtedly one of his best, sparest, and most intimate films. We are delighted to welcome the legendary Taiwanese director for an extended conversation about this latest entry in his masterful, decades-spanning oeuvre.

Free Talk: Marie-Claude Treilhou with Serge Bozon

  • 60 minutes
Marking the NYFF58 Revivals premiere of Simone Barbes or Virtue’s new restoration, we’re honored to host Treilhou in a talk with Serge Bozon about the making and the enduring legacy of the vital and vivid film.

Free Talk: The Making of Small Axe

  • 60 minutes
With his Small Axe anthology, Steve McQueen has made the films of the moment. The director and his collaborators will dig into the making of this sprawling project—which McQueen has dedicated to George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement—and illuminate the artistic and political ambitions that have shaped it.

Free Talk: Gianfranco Rosi

  • 60 minutes
The veteran documentary filmmaker, last seen at NYFF with 2016’s Fire at Sea, joins us to discuss his extraordinary body of immersive, empathetic, and urgent nonfiction. 

Crosscuts

Conversations between filmmakers across festival sections, genres, and styles.

Free Talk: Sam Pollard & John Gianvito 

  • 60 minutes
We’re excited to bring the veteran directors of MLK/FBI and Her Socialist Smile together to discuss their formal, aesthetic, and discursive approaches to filmmaking, and the challenge of crafting art that resonates in the present moment while frankly reckoning with the untidy contours of the past.  

Free Talk: Garrett Bradley & Ephraim Asili

  • 60 minutes
Don’t miss this conversation between the directors of Time and The Inheritance, two of the most formally inventive and politically astute films in the NYFF58 program. Moderated by writer and researcher Yasmina Price.

Free Talk: Matías Piñeiro & Nicolás Pereda

  • 60 minutes
In Matías Piñeiro’s Isabella (Main Slate) and Nicolás Pereda’s Fauna (Currents), one never knows where performance ends and life begins. In what is sure to be a conversation full of creative insight, the two filmmakers will chat about their shared affinities and inimitable idiosyncrasies.

Free Talk: Valeria Sarmiento & Filip Jan Rymsza/Bob Murawski

  • 60 minutes
The filmmakers behind the posthumously completed works of Raúl Ruiz (The Tango of the Widower and Its Distorting Mirror) and Orson Welles (Hopper/Welles) will chat about the unique artistic and logistical process of fashioning a film out of the fragments left behind by an iconic auteur. 

Free Talk: Christian Petzold & Heinz Emigholz

  • 60 minutes
Two major auteurs of German cinema—and brilliant portraitists of modernity—bring sublime and surprising new works to this year’s NYFF. Catch the two filmmakers in an unmissable exchange about their common concerns, formal divergences, and cinematic philosophies. 

Roundtables

Panels and discussions that connect the festival to the themes of the moment.

Free Talk: New York Stories

  • 60 minutes
Join us for what is sure to be a lively, expansive roundtable with the directors featured in NYFF58’s New York Stories short film program, part of this year’s Currents section. These nine NYC-based filmmakers will discuss their working methods, influences, and creative networks, and the ways in which their filmmaking practices reflect and refract this most cinematic of cities.

Free Talk: Outside the Canon

  • 60 minutes
As discussions about reforming and expanding the cinematic canon rage on, some argue that it’s time to do away with it entirely—to imagine new and equitable structures, instead of trying to fix the old flawed ones. This roundtable discussion turns the spotlight on individuals and initiatives that bypass gatekeeping institutions, choosing instead to build alternative, collective, and grassroots methods of film distribution and exhibition.

Free Talk: The Revolution Will Be Filmed

  • 60 minutes
To expand on the timely questions raised by NYFF58 selections The Monopoly of Violence, Mangrove, and Red, White and Blue, we’re bringing together a group of film artists, writers, and scholars for a conversation about the cinematic representation of police brutality and revolutionary protest.

Free Talk: Rethinking World Cinema

  • 60 minutes
This year’s NYFF features trailblazing filmmakers from around the globe who are not only reinventing world cinema, but challenging the very assumptions of that label. A selection of these directors will join us for a discussion about breaking boundaries and inventing new international canons.

Free Talk: The Artist, the Athlete, and the Revolutionary

  • 60 minutes
Two Revivals selections featuring James Baldwin and Muhammad Ali pose the questions: Can artists and athletes act as political—perhaps even revolutionary—agents of change? And what are the double binds faced by Black artists and athletes in the public eye? Join us for a timely roundtable discussion featuring critics and scholars.

Free Talk: Festival Report

  • 60 minutes
For the festival’s final week, a group of critics will gather together for a spirited discussion with Devika Girish, Assistant Editor of Film Comment and Film at Lincoln Center, about the movies they’ve seen in the NYFF58 lineup and their tales from the trenches of the pandemic-era festival.