Friday, September 17, 2010

Nathaniel's New York Film Festival: Coming Soon

The New York Film Festival starts officially on September 24th. Critics screenings have already begun but so far I've been in absentia. I have my reasons though the selection committee and certain cinephiles would surely scoff at them so they will go unnamed. This morning I picked up my credentials but opted to skip Carlos the Olivier Assayas film about Venezuelan revolutionary Ilich Ramirez Sanchez or "The Jackal" as he's infamously known in history and in the movies. I love Assayas (Summer Hours + demonlover = movie heaven plus rare artistic range!) but I can't do 5½ hour movies. I just can't!

That's one of the reasons people will scoff (oops. so much for unnamed). I've heard it's terrific but I know my limits. My back and ass know them, too. Hopefully I'll get a chance to see it in its piecemeal French miniseries form at some point. I love serialized drama as much as anyone but for me that's a television-specific experience and it should stay where it belongs.

While exiting the Walter Reade I spotted a "coming soon" poster for Desperately Seeking Susan.

It's not every day you see a "coming soon" poster for a movie that's 25 years old starring your favorite celebrity of all time. Director Susan Seidelman will speaking to the crowd at the screening (Sept 23rd -- get your tickets) and Rosanna Arquette and Aidan Quinn will also attend. If they blasted "Into the Groove" through the speakers and Madonna made a surprise appearance in her original costume I would die on the spot with a stupid grin on my face. What a way to go.

Susan is not part of the official festival (shame) though the fest usually does have a few retros. See, NYFF isn't exactly known for comedy if you know what I mean. They lean hard on Cannes lineups but only the dour subtitled selections. If NYFF goes "mainstream" it's usually for something gloomy, like say dead children a la Clint Eastwood's Changeling but not dead children a la Rachel Getting Married because that movie was too warm and humane! I'm partially joking since I love the NYFF but that 2008 selection committee decision will haunt me forever. They crazy. I shan't ever forgive them.

My point is this: in one particular NYFF year I sat through three films in a row from multiple countries starring voyeuristic barely verbal loners who stalked / killed women. I can't even talk about it! I just can't.

For 2010, I'm most excited for the following seven in roughly this order:
  • Another Year -because it's a Mike Leigh film. That's all I need.
  • Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives -because it won the Palme D'Or and I found Apichatpong Weerathesakul's Tropical Malady so worthwhile in its enigmas.
  • The Social Network -because people keep saying it's "a perfect 10".
  • My Joy -because Nick loved it.

  • Meek's Cutoff -because Michelle Williams and Kelly Reichardt's last collaboration Wendy & Lucy was so moving. I'm sometimes allergic to westerns, though, so we shall see.
  • Poetry -because I still think about Lee Chang-dong's Secret Sunshine frequently and staying power is not properly rewarded at the cinema.
  • Black Venus -because even though Guy Lodge didn't love it, it sounds fascinating.
I'll see other pictures too but those have made me the most curious.

And because Jonathan Glazer's Birth (2004) seems to be coming up frequently in discussions round here lately, you should probably know (should you be in NYC) that one of the special events this year is an evening with film scholar David Thomson (The New Biographical Dictionary of Film) in which he will screen and discuss this wonderful and misunderstood picture.


Burning Reels said...

Looking forward to the coverage:)

Can't wait for Weerathesakul's new baby - I also loved Tropical Malady, actually I think that was your influence again haha

My Joy sounds interesting - Russian Ark was breathtaking stuff.

I just saw the very individual Dogtooth - be interesting to see your reaction to that.

pomme said...

the last "perfect 10" movie (on every one's opinion)was "inception" and before "inception",it was "avatar 3D" so i don't believe in "perfect 10" movies above all if it's directed by Fincher(he directed the one&only movie where i HATE Cate Blanchet's acting and because of him,Timberlake could have chances to be nominated for awards).Next to him, Nolan's movies are warm

Andrew R. said...

@Burning Reels-What did you think of Dogtooth?

I wish I was there. I want to (eventually) see Another Year, Uncle Bounmee, Social Network, and maybe Poetry.

Scott said...

boo grr hiss! susan screening is sold out. any other options for this nathaniel? i was just telling the boyfriend i wanted to watch it again. guess i'll have to wait for it to show up on Netflix on Demand in October.


Scott -- damn that was fast. I didn't buy a ticket yet and it's not part of the fest so i don't get in free. ARGH.

Burning Reels said...

@ Andrew R, I would say have a look at my blog but my lack of clarity following my viewing of the film doesn't really help haha

Now it's settled a little, I admired the tense narrative of the picture, the layered script and performances - particularly 'the eldest'. The only issue I had were a few minor character actions. A film hasn't disturbed my mind this much since Antichrist (yes, I am a fan), and it seems it's as divisive too.

What I really appreciate is that there are many elements which are open to interpretation - it's definitely one of those films to talk over and debate with others.

Glenn said...

"because Michelle Williams and Kelly Reichardt's last collaboration Wendy & Lucy was so movie."

Is that like a Mamet "you're so money" moment or a typo?

All those moments are movies I would see except probably Black Venus.

Guy Lodge said...

Regarding Black Venus, that "even though" isn't even necessary: yes, I didn't love the way Kechiche frames and organises his material, but said material is undeniably fascinating. Very interested to hear/read what you think.

Andrew R. said...

@Burning Reels-Agree about everything, although I would not compare this film to Antichrist for two reasons:

1. The eldest is not as good as Gainsbrough.
2. This film is better than Antichrist.

So Antichrist really didn't disturb me outside of Gainsbrough, it just grossed me out.

Dogtooth disturbed AND grossed me out.

Burning Reels said...

I never directly compared Antichrist and Dogtooth, and agree GAINSBOURG is better:)