new york film festival

New York Film Festival preview: LIFE OF PI, FLIGHT and more

New York Film Festival preview: LIFE OF PI, FLIGHT and more

The 50th New York Film Festival is bookmarked by two films in which disasters lead to personal awakenings. The opening movie on September 28 is Ang Lee’s LIFE OF PI, a 3D adventure tale about an Indian boy’s antics with various wildlife after a shipwreck sets them adrift on the ocean. The closing night attraction is Robert Zemeckis’ FLIGHT, about a pilot, played by Denzel Washington, who saves a plane — if not necessarily his life — from crashing.

Fincher, Eastwood Headline The New York Film Festival

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:

Counting Sheep: SWEETGRASS and the NYFF

Counting Sheep: SWEETGRASS and the NYFF

I’ve been thinking about sheep. Ever since I saw the documentary SWEETGRASS over the weekend, I’ve been replaying the images in my mind. Newborn lambs thrown on top of each other, their bodies bouncing like rubber with no obvious damage done. A sheep chews cud and then pauses to give the camera a penetrating stare. A sheep herder’s frustrated and extended cussing diatribe at the herd he’s trying to control as the camera pulls back further and further to show the majestic expanse of wilderness that surrounds him. The sheep, their bodies flowing like water through the streets of a small town. SWEETGRASS (directed by Ilisa Barbash and Lucien Castaing-Taylor) is a documentary about the last sheep drive up the Beartooth Mountains in Montana, a kind of elegy to the west and a meditation on existence dictated by nature and man’s limited control. A film so out of place and yet exactly the kind of unusual film you expect to see as part of the New York Film Festival.

The 47th Annual NY Film Festival

The 47th Annual NY Film Festival

The NY Film Festival needs little introduction. Every year much anticipated films from well respected and brand new directors are screened alongside a timeless classic or two. With categories that range from Religious Interest (Lars Von Trier’s ANTICHRIST) to Women’s Interest (Bong Joon-ho’s MOTHER) to French (Jacques Rivette’s AROUND A SMALL MOUNTAIN) to American Independents…

Dramatic Grand Jury Prize Winner: Frozen River

Dramatic Grand Jury Prize Winner: Frozen River

Courtney Hunt shooting FROZEN RIVER Courtney Hunt first heard the story of Native Americans smuggling merchandise over the frozen St. Lawrence river – an anecdote that would become the basis for her 2008 Sundance Film Festival Dramatic Grand Jury Prize FROZEN RIVER [frozenriverthemovie.com] – more than ten years ago. She had just graduated from Columbia’s…