August 12, 2008

New York Film Festival Has a Taste of Cannes This Year!

Here's the slate:
-Opening Night "The Class" (Entre les murs)Laurent Cantet, France, 2008; 128mA tough, lively and altogether revelatory look inside a high school classroom, enacted by real teachers and students.
-Centerpiece "Changeling"Clint Eastwood, USA, 2008; 140mAngelina Jolie is a single mother whose troubles are just beginning when her son goes missing in Clint Eastwood's majestic fact-based period drama.
-Closing Night "The Wrestler"Darren Aronofsky, USA, 2008; 109mMickey Rourke gives the performance of a lifetime in Darren Aronofsky's raw and raucous new movie.
-"24 City" (Er shi si cheng ji)Jia Zhangke, China/Hong Kong/Japan, 2008; 112mThe rise and fall of a Chinese factory town is chronicled in this film, straddling the border between fiction and documentary.
-"Afterschool"Antonio Campos, USA, 2008; 122mWhen two students at a posh prep school accidentally overdose, a student filmmaker struggles to create an appropriate tribute for them.
-"Ashes of Time Redux"Wong Kar Wai, Hong Kong, 2008; 93mThe final, definitive version of Wong Kar Wai's modernist take on the classic Chinese martial arts tale.
-"Bullet in the Head" (Trio en la cabeza)Jaime Rosales, Spain/France, 2008; 85mA powerful, engrossing meditation on politics and the contemporary cult of surveillance.
-"Che"Steven Soderbergh, France/Spain, 2008; 268mSteven Soderbergh's two-part Spanish-language epic about Che Guevara's revolutionary military campaigns in Cuba and Bolivia features a brilliant lead performance by Benicio del Toro.
-"Chouga" (Shuga)Darezhan Omirbaev, France/Kazakhstan, 2007; 91mA Kazakh, minimalist adaptation of Anna Karenina.
-"A Christmas Tale" (Un conte de Noel)Arnaud Desplechin, France, 2008; 150mArnaud Desplechin's grand banquet of a movie brims with life, as Catherine Deneuve, Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Devos and the other members of a marvelous ensemble cast come home for Christmas.
-"Four Nights with Anna" (Cztery noce z Anna)Jerzy Skolimowski, Poland/France, 2008; 87mThis visually mesmerizing tale of a shy man and his obsession with the woman across the way marks the triumphant return of Polish maestro Jerzy Skolimowski.
-"Gomorrah" (Gomorra)Matteo Garrone, Italy, 2008; 137mA blistering version of Roberto Saviano's modern true crime classic about the modern-day Neapolitan mafia.
-"Happy-Go-Lucky"Mike Leigh, UK, 2008; 118mAn affectionate portrait of an unattached, 30-something London schoolteacher coming to terms with the fact that she's no longer young.
-"The Headless Woman" (La mujer sin cabeza)Lucrecia Martel, Argentina/France/Italy/Spain, 2008; 87mArgentine filmmaker Lucrecia Martel's powerful third feature takes us into an altered perceptual state with a woman who hits something with her car.
-"Hunger"Steve McQueen, UK, 2008; 96mBritish visual artist Steve McQueen's feature film debut is an uncompromising look at the hunger strike led by IRA prisoner Bobby Sands in 1974.
-"I'm Going to Explode" (Voy a explotar)Gerardo Naranjo, Mexico, 2008; 103mTwo Mexican teenagers go into hiding to see the reactions their disappearance will get from relatives and friends.
-"Let It Rain" (Parlez-moi de la pluie)Agnes Jaoui, France, 2008; 110mA portrait of a rising feminist politician may be the ticket to fame and jobs for two aspiring filmmakers.
-"Lola Montes"Max Ophuls, France/West Germany, 1955; 115mThe life of the legendary courtesan and circus performer--lover of kings, knaves and Franz Liszt--is presented in its definitive, restored version.
-"Night and Day" (Bam guan nat)Hong Sang-soo, South Korea, 2008; 144mWhen his life in Seoul becomes too complicated, an artist hightails it to Paris--but things don't get any easier.
-"The Northern Land" (A Corte do Norte)Joao Botelho, Portugal, 2008; 101mA woman searches for the truth about her life in the stories of ancestors and the distant manor house they inhabited.
-"Serbis"Brillante Mendoza, Philippines/France, 2008; 90mA family tries to quell the tensions tearing it apart while it struggles to keep the family business--a porn movie theater--afloat
-"Summer Hours" (L'heure d'ete)Olivier Assayas, France, 2008; 103mJuliette Binoche is one of three siblings brought face-to-face with time and mortality by the sudden death of her mother in this moving new film from Olivier Assayas.
-"Tokyo Sonata"Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Japan/Netherlands, 2008; 85mA Japanese family struggles to re-define itself after the father loses his corporate job.
-"Tony Manero"Pablo Larrain, Chile/Brazil, 2008; 98mIn the dark days of the Pinochet dictatorship, a John Travolta wannabe blazes a murderous trail through the back alleys of Chile.
-"Tulpan"Sergey Dvortsevoy, Germany/Kazakhstan/Poland/Russia/Switzerland, 2008; 100mWinner of the Un Certain Regard Prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival, Tulpan charts an aspiring herdsman's efforts to win the attention of his intended.
-"Waltz with Bashir" (Vals in Bashir)Ari Folman, Israel/Germany/France, 2008; 90mIsraeli filmmaker Ari Folman's haunting autobiographical memory piece about his experiences as a soldier during the 1982 war in Lebanon are given a hyper-real spin by state-of-the-art animation.
-"Wendy and Lucy"Kelly Reichardt, USA, 2008; 80mIn Kelly Reichardt's follow-up to her acclaimed Old Joy, Wendy (Michelle Williams) searches for her dog Lucy. The troubled spirit of modern America is beautifully evoked along the way.
-"The Windmill Movie"Alexander Olch, USA, 2008; 80mFilmmaker Alexander Olch, using material left by the late filmmaker Richard Rogers for a never completed film autobiography, attempts to make sense of the life of his former teacher and friend.
+Call me crazy, but the one that has my interest the most is The Wrestler. It might be the surprise of the year, but more on that later...


  1. The wrestler is definitely up there in interest. Is it coming out this year though?

  2. no distribution deal yet, but this and Venice should help get it something for november/december

  3. Here's hoping. I loved Requiem For A Dream and hated The Fountain, so I'd love to see Arronofsky do us proud. And I hope I'm not the only one seeing a potential Best Actor push for Mr. Rourke.

  4. I love The Fountain in a big bad way, but Aronofsky overall is someone who i'm a huge fan of