We've got ideal weather for my film and fiction walking tour of beautiful Carnegie Hill! A visit inside Central Park is on the list.
There is much great culture to savor in Carnegie Hill, one of the country's oldest, and most architecturally rich neighborhoods. The tour combines Central Park, Museum Mile, lush mansions, celebrity homes, and countless filming locations — not to mention the chance of seeing a celebrity on the tour! Stranger things have happened on the rewarding streets of Carnegie Hill.
The filmmaker responsible for "Ex Machina" (Alex Garland) seems to be upping his game with his own adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer's novel. Natalie Portman is due for a comeback. Welcome to a world where "the rules of nature do not apply."
Color me curious.
Tina Fey hits it out of the park on this one! Wow!
Palme d’Or: “The Square” (Ruben Östlund)
Special Prize: Nicole Kidman
Grand Prix: “BPM (Beats Per Minute)” (Robin Campillo)
Director: Sofia Coppola, “The Beguiled”
Actor: Joaquin Phoenix, “You Were Never Really Here”
Actress: Diane Kruger, “In the Fade”
Jury Prize: “Loveless” (Andrey Zvyagintsev)
Screenplay — TIE: “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” (Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthimis Filippou) and “You Were Never Really Here” (Lynne Ramsay)
Camera d’Or: “Jeune femme” (Montparnasse-Bienvenüe) (Léonor Serraille)
Short Films Palme d’Or: “Xiao Cheng Er Yue” (Qiu Yang)
Short Films Special Mention: “Katto” (Teppo Airaksinen)
Golden Eye Documentary Prize: “Faces Places” (Visages Villages) (Agnès Varda, JR)
Ecumenical Jury Prize: “Radiance” (Naomi Kawase)
UN CERTAIN REGARD
Un Certain Regard Award: “A Man of Integrity,” Mohammad Rasoulof
Best Director: Taylor Sheridan, “Wind River”
Jury Prize: Michel Franco, “April’s Daughter”
Best Performance: Jasmine Trinca, “Fortunata”
Award for Poetry of Cinema: Mathieu Amalric, “Barbara”
Art Cinema Award: “The Rider” (Chloe Zhao)
Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers Prize — TIE: “Lover for a Day” (Philippe Garrel) and “Let the Sunshine In” (Claire Denis)
Europa Cinemas Label: “A Ciambra” (Jonas Carpignano)
Grand Prize: “Makala” (Emmanuel Gras)
Visionary Prize: “Gabriel and the Mountain” (Fellipe Barbosa)
Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers Prize: “Ava” (Léa Mysius)
Competition: “BPM (Beats Per Minute)”
Un Certain Regard: “Closeness” (Kantemir Balagov)
Directors’ Fortnight: “The Nothing Factory” (Pedro Pinho)
FilmStruck has launched. This streaming collaboration between Kino Lorber, Criterion, and Turner Classic Movies is every film-lovers dream. This is going to be HUGE I tell ya!
The films I most look forward to screening at the 54th New York Film Festival are informed by Cannes since many of the films in the NYFF main slate premiered there back in May. That said, there are plenty of other films I'll be able to screen because I have a running start. This is going to be fun!
Directed by Paul Verhoeven
France/Germany/Belgium, 2016, 131m
French with English subtitles
"Elle" was my favorite film at Cannes this year. I can't wait to see it again. This is one racy satirical thriller, and by racy I mean sexy, dark, and badass in a hyper-feminist way. "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 who responds to a rape by refusing the mantle of victimhood. As the film opens, Parisian heroine Michèle (a brilliant Isabelle Huppert) is brutally violated in her kitchen by a hooded intruder. Rather than report the crime, Michèle, the CEO of a video game company and daughter of a notorious mass murderer, calmly sweeps up the mess and proceeds to engage her assailant in a dangerous game of domination and submission in which her motivations remain a constant source of mystery, humor, and tension. A Sony Pictures Classics release."
Directed by Ava DuVernay
I'm looking for Ava DuVernay's doc to set the proper cultural and political tone for the 2016 NYFF. The film promises to foster constructive discussion about addressing America's systemic racism and ongoing incremental genocide of black citizens by militarized State police. "The title of Ava DuVernay’s extraordinary and galvanizing documentary refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which reads “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.” The progression from that second qualifying clause to the horrors of mass criminalization and the sprawling American prison industry is laid out by DuVernay with bracing lucidity. With a potent mixture of archival footage and testimony from a dazzling array of activists, politicians, historians, and formerly incarcerated women and men, DuVernay creates a work of grand historical synthesis. A Netflix original documentary."
20th Century Women
Directed by Mike Mills
The director behind the great LGBT drama "Beginners" (2010) puts together a dream-team cast for his self-penned observation of '70s era women's liberation. Annette Bening, Elle Fanning, Alia Shawkat, Greta Gerwig, and Billy Crudup star in what could prove to be the hottest ticket at the festival. This film is a must-see if not for Annette Bening's appearance. Bening is a national treasure whose mastery of acting craft is beyond reproach. "Mike Mills’s texturally and behaviorally rich new comedy seems to keep redefining itself as it goes along, creating 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. The great Annette Bening, in one of her very best performances, is Dorothea, a single mother raising her teenage son, Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann), in a sprawling bohemian house, which is shared by an itinerant carpenter (Billy Crudup) and a punk artist with a Bowie haircut (Greta Gerwig) and frequented by Jamie’s rebellious friend Julie (Elle Fanning). 20th Century Women is warm, funny, and a work of passionate artistry. An A24 Release."
Directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho
Brazil/France, 2016, 142m
Portuguese with English subtitles
"Aquarius" contributes to the female-dominated films at this year's festival. I missed it at Cannes, but will be sure to catch this buzzed-about drama on the rebound. "A highlight of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Kleber Mendonça Filho’s follow-up to his acclaimed Neighboring Sounds revolves around the leisurely days of a 65-year-old widow, transcendently played by the great Brazilian actress Sônia Braga. Clara is a retired music critic and the only remaining resident of the titular apartment building in Recife. Trouble starts when an ambitious real estate promoter who has bought up all of Aquarius’s other units comes knocking on Clara’s door. She has no intention of leaving, and a protracted struggle ensues. Braga’s transfixing, multilayered performance and the film’s deliberate pacing and stylistic flourishes yield a sophisticated, political, and humane work."
Fire at Sea / Fuocoammare
Directed by Gianfranco Rosi
Italy/France, 2016, 108m
English and Italian with English subtitles
The fact that this doc is a Kino Lorber release is reason enough to seek out this year's Winner of the Golden Bear at Berlin. "Gianfranco Rosi’s documentary observes Europe’s migrant crisis from the vantage point of a Mediterranean island where hundreds of thousands of refugees, fleeing war and poverty, have landed in recent decades. Rosi shows the harrowing work of rescue operations but devotes most of the film to the daily rhythms of Lampedusa, seen through the eyes of a doctor who treats casualties and performs autopsies, and a feisty but anxious pre-teen from a family of fishermen for whom it is simply a peripheral fact of life. With its emphasis on the quotidian, the film reclaims an ongoing tragedy from the abstract sensationalism of media headlines. A Kino Lorber release."
Manchester by the Sea
Directed by Kenneth Lonergan
USA, 2016, 137m
Writer/director Kenneth Lonergan promises a slice of authentic cinema with a solid cast. "Casey Affleck is formidable as the volatile, deeply troubled Lee Chandler, a Boston-based handyman called back to his hometown on the Massachusetts North Shore after the sudden death of his brother, Joe (Kyle Chandler), who has left behind a teenage son (Lucas Hedges). This loss and the return to his old stomping grounds summon Lee’s memories of an earlier, even more devastating tragedy. In his third film as a director, following You Can Count on Me (2000) and Margaret (2011), Kenneth Lonergan, with the help of a remarkable cast, unflinchingly explores grief, hope, and love, giving us a film that is funny, sharply observed, intimately detailed yet grand in emotional scale. An Amazon Studios Release."
Directed by Pablo Larraín
Chile/Argentina/France/Spain, 2016, 107m
Spanish and French with English subtitles
You had me at Neruda. "Pablo Larraín’s exciting, surprising, and colorful new film is not a biopic but, as the director himself puts it, a “Nerudean” portrait of the great Chilean poet Pablo Neruda’s years of flight and exile after his 1948 denunciation of his government’s leadership. Larraín’s heady blend of fact and fancy (the latter embodied in an invented character, straight out of detective fiction, played by Gael García Bernal) is many things at once: a loving, kaleidoscopic recreation of a particular historical moment; a comical cat-and-mouse game; and a pocket epic. Featuring Luis Gnecco, a dead ringer for the poet and a formidable actor, alongside a terrific cast. A release of The Orchard."
Directed by Cristi Puiu
Romania, 2016, 173m
Romanian with English subtitles
Cristi Puiu is the real deal in his output as card-carrying member of the Romanian New Wave (see "The Death of Mr. Lazarescu"). File under "Must-See." "Cristi Puiu returns with a virtuosic chamber drama set largely within a labyrinthine Bucharest apartment where a cantankerous extended family has gathered forty days after its patriarch’s death (and three days after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris). Rituals and meals are anticipated and delayed, doors open and close, and the camera hovers at thresholds and in corridors. As claustrophobia mounts, heated, humorous exchanges—about the old Communist days and the present age of terror—coalesce into a brilliantly staged and observed portrait of personal and social disquiet."
Things to Come / L’Avenir
Directed by Mia Hansen-Løve
France/Germany, 2016, 100m
French with English subtitles
Isabelle Huppert makes her second appearance in the Festival, behind her Oscar-worthy performance in Paul Verhoeven's "Elle." If there's one actress I can never get enough it's the wonderful Isabelle Huppert. Sign this one with love. "In the new film from Mia Hansen-Løve (Eden), 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: her husband (André Marcon) leaves her, her mother (Edith Scob) comes apart, her favorite former student decides to live off the grid, and her first grandchild is born. Hansen-Løve carefully builds Things to Come around her extraordinary star: her verve and energy, her beauty, her perpetual motion. Huppert’s remarkable performance is counterpointed by the quietly accumulating force of the action, and the result is an exquisite expression of time’s passing. A Sundance Selects release."
Yourself and Yours
Directed by Hong Sangsoo
South Korea, 2016, 86m
Korean with English subtitles
Hong Sangsoo's 2012 film "In Another Country" is a bold cinematic statement that commands inspection of this remarkable filmmaker's latest effort. "Prolific NYFF favorite Hong Sangsoo boldly and wittily continues his ongoing exploration of the painful caprices of modern romance. Painter Youngsoo (Kim Joo-hyuk) hears secondhand that his girlfriend, Minjung (Lee Yoo-young), has recently had (many) drinks with an unknown man. This leads to a quarrel that seems to end their relationship. The next day, Youngsoo sets out in search of her, at the same time that Minjung—or a woman who looks exactly like her and may or may not be her twin—has a series of encounters with strange men, some of whom claim to have met her before . . . Yourself and Yours is a break-up/make-up comedy unlike any other, suffused with sophisticated modernist mystery."
When Obama was elected, pundits said having the first-ever African-American president would change everything, especially for blacks. As it turns out, however, by most measures the lives of American blacks remained the same or got worse during his two terms. Now women are being told that the election of Hillary Clinton as the first woman president would lead to meaningful changes for women.