New York Film Festival 2019

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“We Didn’t Try to Colonize the Boy in Making the Film”: The Dardenne Brothers on Young Ahmed

For 20 years running, the films of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne have confronted a single fundamental facet of modern life: class. From their breakout La Promesse (1996) to The Unknown Girl (2016), the messy tangle of money, employment, and morality has defined their work. The brothers take a hard turn, in subject if not style, with Young Ahmed. The film debuted at Cannes, like their previous seven features, where it won the Best Director prize earlier this year. Despite that honor–which they won over Almodóvar, Tarantino, and Malick among other heavyweights–the film has earned the harshest reviews of the Dardennes’ career. […]

NYFF 2019: Oh Mercy!, Synonyms

Arnaud Desplechin’s returned to his hometown onscreen many times: “I still have to go back in my tracks, as a malediction—not as a dream, but as a curse,” he’s said of Roubaix, where My Sex Life and My Golden Years‘ protagonist stand-in Paul Dédalus hails from and where A Christmas Tale unfolds. Desplechin’s also shot digitally before, but this is the first time he’s ever aggressively leaned into it: like Tale, Oh Mercy! also starts during the holiday season, but—opening strings of Christmas lights over city streets aside—the dominant colors aren’t red and green but the familiar digital color-correction staples of orange and blue. […]

NYFF 2019: Vitalina Varela, Fire Will Come

Vitalina Varela is a luxuriantly claustrophobic staging of a story Pedro Costa’s title subject, playing herself, first orally recounted in 2014’s Horse Money. The world Costa constructs around her is, initially, an endless night—daylight is, at best, the barest suggestive sliver peeking in from outside. As the narrative unfolds, more sunlight penetrates interiors, but a full radiant glare seems, at best, a hypothetical perk for people with more money, and in the very final-stretch shots in exterior day, colors have been graded down enough where the effect isn’t overwhelming but mutedly in keeping. There isn’t a pixel Costa hasn’t accounted for in his […]

“In a Way, It is My Most Gentle Film…”: Manfred Kirchheimer on His NYFF-Premiering Free Time

There’s poetry in the misery of a hot New York summer day. Spike Lee found it, in 1989, with Do the Right Thing: the sun-drunk torpor, the beads of sweat gliding down bare skin. Where winter tends to drive us indoors, away from the streets, summer promotes a more collective suffering. Rear Window hits a similar note of mutual, summertime malaise. The heat forces characters to sleep on their fire escapes and keep their windows open, turning the private public. Before air conditioners, where else could you escape the heat but outside, with everyone else? Manfred “Manny” Kirchheimer considered many […]

Thirteen Don’t-Miss Films and Programs at the 2019 New York Film Festival

The 2019 New York Film Festival kicks off tonight with Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman — and do you really need us to recommend it to you? With our editorial staff seeing the film tonight, we’ve been avoiding Film Twitter, where extremely positive reactions have been leaking out from this morning’s press screening. But Scorsese’s long-anticipated, epic, effects-driven film is just one of many highlights we’re certain of as New York brings together some of the best out of Cannes, Venice, Telluride and Toronto along with some fantastic short-film premieres, talks (Lynn Ramsay!, DP Denis Lenoir!, Olivier Assayas!), and new VR […]

“A Movie is Not Something Where I Need to Convey a Message About How People Are Supposed to Live”: Director Kôji Fukada on A Girl Missing

Since his debut feature, Human Comedy in Tokyo, in 2008, Kôji Fukada has steadily become one of the most interesting filmmakers working out of Japan in the last decade plus. Many of his features can be characterised by a protagonist or family unit’s apparent stability being upended by one event, a plot development that illustrates how easily and turbulently lives can spiral out of control. In his sophomore feature, Hospitalité (2010), this was played for laughs. In that film, a family printing business is gradually taken over by a former associate who talks his way into a job, moves into […]

NYFF 2019 Announces Main Slate Titles

NYFF has announced the main slate for this year’s edition, set to run from September 27 to October 13. In addition to the previously announced opening night (Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman), centerpiece (Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story) and closing night screenings (Edward Norton’s Motherless Brooklyn), 23 titles have been announced. In addition to expected titles from established auteurs including Pedro Almodóvar, Kelly Reichardt, the Dardennes brothers, Arnaud Desplechin and Bong Joon-ho’s Palme d’Or-winning Parasite, the selection includes deeper cuts like Pietro Marcello’s loose Jack London adaptation Martin Eden and Oliver Laxe’s Fire Will Come, the third feature from the director of You All Are Captains and Mimosas. Below, from […]