The lineup for next month’s New York Film Festival was unveiled today, and there’s pretty much something to suit all preferences. The highlights: the opening-night premiere of Alan Resnais’s Wild Grass, Todd Solondz’s Life During Wartime, Michael Haneke’s Palme d’Or–winning White Ribbon, a cleaned-up print of The Wizard of Oz, and — rejoice, castration fans! — Lars von Trier’s Antichrist. The fest runs from September 25 to October 11 at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center.
New York Film Festival 2009
September 25–October 11
Wild Grass / Les herbes folles
Alain Resnais, France, 2009; 113 min
The venerable Alan Resnais creates an exquisite human comedy of manners, mystery and romance with some of France’s — and our — favorite actors: Sabine Azéma, André Dussollier, Emmanuelle Devos, and Mathieu Almaric. A Sony Pictures Classics release.
Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire
Lee Daniels, USA, 2009; 109 min
Precious is sixteen and living a miserable life. But she uses all the emotional energy she possesses to turn her life around. Director Lee Daniel’s audacious tale features unforgettable performances by Mo’Nique, Mariah Carey, and newcomer Gabourey Sidibe. A Lionsgate release.
Broken Embraces / Los abrazos rotos
Pedro Almodóvar, Spain, 2009; 128 min
Almodóvar’s newest masterwork is a candy-colored emotional roller that barrels from comedy to romance to melodrama to the darker haunts of film noir and stars his muse, Penélope Cruz, in a multilayered story of a man who loses his sight and the love of his life. A Sony Pictures Classics release.
36 Views of Saint-Loup Peak / 36 vues du Pic Saint-Loup
Jacques Rivette, France, 2009, 84 min
The legendary Jacques Rivette returns with an elegiac look at the final days of a small-time traveling circus.
Lars von Trier, Denmark, 2009, 109 min
Sure to be one of the year’s most discussed films, Lars von Trier’s latest chronicles a couple’s efforts to find their love again after a tragic loss, which unleash hidden monsters lurking in their souls. An IFC Films release.
The Art of the Steal
Don Argott, USA, 2009, 101 min
Bound to be controversial, this intriguing account of the travails of the legendary Barnes collection of art masterworks and the foundation set up to protect it raises vital questions about public versus private “ownership” of art.
Bluebeard / La Barbe Bleue
Catherine Breillat, France, 2009, 78 min
Two sisters reading Charles Perrault’s seventeenth-century tale of perhaps the first “serial killer” becomes a meditation on the enduring fascination with a character who has served as inspiration for countless novels, plays, and films.
Crossroads of Youth / Cheongchun’s Sipjaro
An Jong-hwa, Korea, 1934, 73 min
The oldest surviving Korean film, this recently rediscovered masterwork will be presented with live musical accompaniment as well as a benshi (off-screen narrator).
Eccentricities of a Blonde
Manoel de Oliveira, Portugal/France, 2009, 64 min
One hundred years young, director Manoel de Oliveira returns with another gem: a wry, moving tale of a pure, if frustrated, love, adapted from a novel by Eça de Queiroz.
Everyone Else / Alle Anderen
Maren Ade, Germany, 2009, 119 min
The ups and downs, joys and jealousies, frustrations and fulfillments of a young couple on a summer holiday provide the premise for this brilliant meditation on modern coupling.
Zhao Dayong, China, 2008, 180 min
A revealing, one-of-a-kind look at China far away from the glittering urban skylines, this portrait of a contemporary rural community in China offers extraordinary insights into everything from the role of religion to gender relationships to the place of social deviants.
Bruno Dumont, France, 2009, 105 min
A young woman searches for an absolute experience of faith — and in the process grows increasingly distant from the world around her.
Raya Martin, Philippines, 2009, 77 min
Maverick director Raya Martin offers a kind of alternative history of the Philippines and its struggle for nationhood in this stylized tale of a mother and son hiding in the mountains after the U.S. takeover of the islands.
Inferno / L’Enfer
Serge Bromberg, France, 2009, 100 min
A film buff’s delight, this Serge Bromberg film resurrects the surviving footage of Clouzot’s aborted, experimental film L’Enfer, revealing a slightly mad but beguiling project that will always remain one of cinema’s great “what ifs.”
Sabu, Japan, 2009, 109 min
Kanikosen is a highly stylized, stirring, manga-flavored update of a classic Japanese political novel, with labor unrest aboard a crab-canning ship evolving into a cry of a younger generation aching to break the bonds of conformity.
Samuel Maoz, Israel, 2009, 92 min
Debut director Samuel Maoz takes us inside an Israeli tank and the emotions of its crew during the 1982 invasion of Lebanon.
Life During Wartime
Todd Solondz, USA, 2009, 96 min
Preparing for his bar mitzvah, a young man must deal with his divorced mother’s prospective fiancé as well as rumors that his own father is not really dead.
Souleymane Cissé, Mali/France, 2009, 135 min
A work of startling originality, Souleymane Cissé’s first film in over a decade insightfully and incisively chronicles the dissolution of an upper-middle-class African marriage.
Bong Joon-ho, South Korea, 2009, 128 min
Convinced that her son has been wrongly accused of murder, a widow throws herself body and soul into proving his innocence. Kim Hye-ja in the title role gives perhaps the performance of the year.
Ne Change Rien
Pedro Costa, France/Portugal, 2009, 103 min
A shimmering valentine, Costa’s latest is less a portrait than a kind of visual homage to the artistry of actor and singer Jeanne Balibar.
Police Adjective / Politist, adj.
Corneliu Porumboiu, Romania, 2009, 115 min
Discovering a teenager with hashish, a young policeman hesitates about turning him in. But his supervisor has other ideas in this beautifully acted, provocative modern morality play. An IFC Films release.
Room and a Half / Poltory komnaty ili sentimentalnoe puteshtvie na rodinu
Andrey Khrzhanovsky, Russia, 2009, 131 min
Former animator Andrey Khrzhanovsky combines scripted scenes, archival footage, several types of animation, and surrealist flights of fancy to create this stirring portrait of poet Josef Brodsky and the postwar Soviet cultural scene. A Seagull Films release.
Ilisa Barbash, Lucien Castaing-Taylor, USA, 2009, 105 min
This breathtaking chronicle follows an ever-surprising group of modern-day cowboys as they lead an enormous herd of sheep up and then down the slopes of the Beartooth Mountains in Montana on their way to market.
Sweet Rush / Tatarak
Andrzej Wajda, Poland/France, 2009, 85 min
Celebrated master Andrzej Wajda returns with a bold, experimental work that juxtaposes a story about a terminally doctor’s wife rediscovering romance with a heart-rending monologue written and performed by actress Krystyna Janda about the death of her husband.
To Die Like a Man / Morrer como um homen
João Pedro Rodrigues, Portugal, 2009, 138 min
This touching, finely etched portrait follows Tonia, a veteran drag performer, confronting younger competition and her boyfriend’s demands that she undergo a sex change.
Marco Bellocchio, Italy, 2009, 129 min
Mussolini’s “secret” marriage to Ida Dalser, afterward completely denied by Il Duce, along with the son born from the relationship, becomes the springboard for this visually ravishing meditation on the fascist manipulation of history. An IFC Films release.
Claire Denis, France, 2009, 100 min
A handful of Europeans try to make sense of — and survive — the chaos happening all around them in an African country torn apart by civil war.
The White Ribbon / Das weisse band
Michael Haneke, Austria/France, 2009, 144 min
The Palme d’Or winner at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, this is a starkly beautiful meditation on the consequences of violence — physical, emotional, spiritual — in a Northern German town on the eve of World War I. A Sony Pictures Classics release.
The Wizard of Oz
Victor Fleming, 1939, USA, 103 min
The 70th anniversary of the timeless classic presented in a spectacular newly restored edition makes the film a new experience even for those who practically have it memorized. A Warner Bros. release.