Fincher, Eastwood Headline The New York Film Festival
The 48th annual New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center opens with a bang this Friday with David Fincher’s The Social Network, so make sure to Facebook all your friends about it, lol.
The auteur-heavy fest also offers creative visions by Julie Taymor, Mike Leigh, Jean-Luc Godard, and some people even I’ve never heard of. (Certified Copy is “a French production with a European cast speaking in a mixture of English, French, and Italian.” By an Iranian director!) Then the festival goes back to the big names and aptly closes with Hereafter, Clint Eastwood’s foray into the afterlife, with Matt Damon forging yet another chapter in his illustrious career.
Before picking from this refined plate of high–toned cinema, I tracked down freelance critic Dennis Lim, who’s on the selection committee, for some insight into the process:
Me: Hi, Dennis. Are you happy with the choice of The Social Network as the opening night film? (I would imagine so, since you were on the committee.)
Lim: We’ve been told not to have our opinions known about specific films that haven’t shown yet. But yeah, it’s great and I’m very happy with it.
Me: The festival remains a classy haven for die-hard cineastes. The Tribeca Film Festival, on the other hand, is beyond eclectic. It’s literally everything—they’ll have Shrek 4 and then some world documentary that will never be seen.
Lim: The New York Film Festival is such a small, curated festival. It’s not like Tribeca or Toronto. We have a five person committee and it’s a fairly democratic process. Everything in the festival has the support of the majority, but not necessarily everyone. The festival is more important than ever as a distribution channel. Many of these films don’t have distribution. This is the only way to get these films into a New York theater. There are fewer distributors willing to take risks on unknown filmmakers or challenging works.
Me: Are there any explosive fights that erupt while you’re choosing? Sort of like what happened behind the scenes with Facebook, ha ha?
Lim: There are always going to be disagreements about what to include because it’s so small, only 25 or 30 films. But I think with Toronto they’ve left very little out because they show more than 300 films.
Me: I know there are times when you don’t sit through the entire movie being submitted because it’s just that bad. When does “challenging” become “unbearable” to you?
Lim: It’s different for everyone. I have a pretty high tolerance for challenging films, actually, and a low tolerance for the more predictable and familiar.
Me: So you’re probably not exactly running to see Eat Pray Love.
Lim: I haven’t seen it. It looks like a good plane movie.