Here is a run-down of some of the most notable movies in the 47th annual New York Film Festival (NYFF) Main Slate selection. There are plenty of great films to screen that make a trip to Lincoln Center on Manhattan’s Upper West Side worthwhile.
Lars von Trier’s Antichrist
Danish director Lars von Trier returns with the controversial Antichrist (2009). The film stars Charlotte Gainsbourg as a grieving mother who goes slowly and violently mad after the death of her only child. Gainsbourg won the Best Actress award for her performance at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Masterful cinema but not for the faint-hearted. Screenings on October 2 at 9pm and October 3 at 1pm.
Precious Screens as NYFF ‘Centerpiece’
Director Lee Daniels’ harrowing but hopeful film Precious (2009) will be screened as NYFF’s ‘centerpiece’. The film stars Mariah Carey, Lenny Kravitz, Mo’Nique, Paula Patton and Sherri Shepherd in supporting roles and newcomer Gabourey Sidibe in the title role. Abused by her mother and raped by her father, African-American teenager Claireece ‘Precious’ Jones (Sidibe) is angry, illiterate, overweight and pregnant. After being offered the chance to enrol in an alternative school, she meets literacy teacher Ms. Rain (Patton) who sets her on a new path of hope and self-determination.
The gritty tale premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival, bagging the audience award there as well as at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. Backed by Oprah Winfrey, who is one of the movie’s executive producers, Precious already looks Oscar-bound. Screenings on October 3 at 7pm and 10pm.
Cannes Award Winner The White Ribbon
Austrian director Michael Haneke won the top prize, the Palme d’Or, at this year’s Cannes Film Festival for his socio-political drama The White Ribbon (Das Weisse Band). Shot in black and white, The White Ribbon is set on the eve of the First World War in a small town in Protestant Northern Germany, where a cruel and disturbing current flows under the surface of a seemingly placid community. Screenings on October 7 at 6pm and October 8 at 9pm.
NYFF to Close with Almodóvar’s Broken Embraces
NYFF will close out its 47th edition on October 11 with Pedro Almodóvar’s Broken Embraces (Los Abrazos Rotos, 2009). Once again starring the Spanish director’s muse Penélope Cruz, the genre-bending film crams a labyrinthine plot, flashbacks, a multitude of characters and sumptuous cinematography into 128 minutes, while managing not to lose the viewer. It is arguably Almodóvar’s most introspective film to date, but does not quite pack the emotional punch of 2006’s Volver. Screenings on October 11 at 5pm and 8pm.
For details of other Main Slate screenings, the complete festival program or to buy tickets online, visit the NYFF website.