NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL 2009 September 25 – October 11 Entire Slate Announced Opening Night: Alain Resnais’ Wild Grass Centerpiece: Lee Daniels’ Precious Closing Night: Pedro Almodóvar’s Broken Embraces NYFF Returns to the Fully Renovated Alice Tully HallNEW YORK, August 11, 2009––The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced today the entire slate of the 2009 New York Film Festival. The 47th edition will open with the U.S. premiere of Alain Resnais’s Wild Grass (Les herbes folles) and close with Pedro Almodóvar’s Broken Embraces (Los abrazos rotos). This year’s Centerpiece will be Lee Daniels’ Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire. The Festival returns this year to its renowned home, Alice Tully Hall, beautifully restored and renovated with superb, state-of-the-art sound and projection. In addition this year’s festival will include two Masterworks series from China and India. The 17-day NYFF highlights the best in international cinema, featuring the top films from around the world. The selection committee chose 29 films from 17 countries by celebrated filmmakers as well as fresh new independent directors. “I think this year’s slate is diverse, fresh and compelling”, said Richard Peña, Program Director of the Film Society and Chairman of the Selection Committee. “It’s been a great year for many directors who have already achieved acclaim and you can see that in some of the works of masters returning to the Festival. But the slate includes several exciting new voices, launching who we believe will become major new filmmakers that deserve world attention.” The New York Film Festival begins a new chapter in the renovated Alice Tully Hall which The New York Times called “sparkling.” “The Film Society contributed financially to the renovation of Alice Tully Hall so that in addition to being a world class performance hall, it will be a world class showcase for films with state-of-the art sound and projection”, said Mara Manus, Executive Director of The Film Society. “It will provide New Yorkers and the New York Film Festival with an incredible venue which will be wonderfully appreciated by filmmakers and audiences alike.” This Year’s Selections: A Film Society veteran, legendary French auteur Alain Resnais returns with Wild Grass, his 10th film selected for the New York Film Festival. His film Muriel appeared in the first New York Film Festival in 1963. And recently, Private Fears in Public Places showed at the 44th edition of the Festival in 2006. On the fiftieth anniversary of the French New Wave and fifty years after his groundbreaking debut with Hiroshima Mon Amour, Resnais delivers a career-crowning masterpiece with Wild Grass, a delightful roundelay based on Christian Gailly’s novel The Incident, about the fate-altering ripples triggered by a seemingly ordinary purse snatching. The purse belongs to Marguerite (Resnais regular Sabine Azema), a dentist who moonlights as an aviatrix. Its contents are retrieved by Georges (André Dussollier), a married man who soon finds himself infatuated with the purse’s owner, even though he hasn’t actually met her yet. Add in a couple of keystone cops (hilariously played by Mathieu Amalric and Michel Vuillermoz), some dizzying aerial acrobatics, and the glorious widescreen camerawork of cinematographer Eric Gautier and Wild Grass becomes a uniquely playful meditation on coincidence and desire that suggests Resnais, at age 87, is truly in his prime. Wild Grass is a Sony Pictures Classics release. Winner of both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Lee Daniels’ Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire, marks the first time the American director has been at the Festival. In his astonishing adaptation of Sapphire’s 1996 novel, Daniels unsparingly recounts the horrific life of Clareece “Precious” Jones, an obese, barely literate 16-year-old living in late ’80s Harlem who’s sexually abused by both her father and mother. But Precious is not just a tale of endless abjection—it’s also an exhilarating celebration of a young woman’s determination to free herself from the pathologies surrounding her, guided by a teacher who senses her innate talents. Without a trace of easy, unearned sentimentality, Precious might be the most spirit-affirming movie of the year. Bringing this raw, uncompromising material to the screen, Daniels has assembled a remarkable cast: Paula Patton as Precious’s devoted teacher, Mariah Carey as a tough yet compassionate welfare officer, fearless newcomer Gabourey Sidibe as Precious, and—most memorably—Mo’Nique as her monstrous mother, which won the actress a Special Jury Prize at Sundance. Precious is a Lionsgate release. Also no stranger to New York audiences, and a true NYFF favorite, Pedro Almodóvar’s newest, Broken Embraces (Los abrazos rotos), marks his eighth film in the New York Film Festival. (Seven of these have either been Opening Night, Centerpiece or Closing Night selections.) Broken Embraces tells the story of a blind screenwriter, living and working under a pseudonym, who learns of the death of a powerful industrialist, triggering a flood of memories that encompass a tale of naked ambition, forbidden love and devastating loss. Moving from Madrid sound stages to the volcanic landscapes of the Canary Islands, Almodóvar takes us on a candy-colored emotional roller coaster that barrels from comedy to romance to melodrama to the darker haunts of film noir—with even a salute to the “Making Of…” film along the way. Penelope Cruz has never been better, nor more ravishing, and she’s ably aided by Lluis Homar (Bad Education), Blanca Portillo (Volver), and a wonderful newcomer to the Almodóvar stable, Rubén Ochandiano. The luscious cinematography is by Rodrigo Prieto (Amores Perros, Brokeback Mountain). Broken Embraces is a Sony Pictures Classics release. Rounding out the 2009 slate, The Film Society welcomes a group of well-established alumni back to the New York Film Festival with new features, including Marco Bellocchio (Vincere), Catherine Breillat (Bluebeard), Claire Denis (White Material), Manoel de Oliveira, (Eccentricities of a Blonde), Michael Haneke (The White Ribbon), Jacques Rivette (36 Views of Saint-Loup Peak), Todd Solondz (Life During Wartime), Lars von Trier (Antichrist) and Andrzej Wajda (Sweet Rush). New directors to the Festival include Maren Ade (Everyone Else), Ilisa Barbash and Lucien Castaing-Taylor (Sweetgrass), Zhao Dayong (Ghost Town), Samuel Maoz (Lebanon), Raya Martin (Independencia), Joao Pedro Rodrigues (To Die Like A Man) and Sabu (Kanikosen). This year the NYFF introduces Masterworks which will feature works from India and China. • “Re-Inventing China: A New Cinema for a New Society, 1949-1966” • “A Heart as Big as the World: The Films of Guru Dutt” Both series will screen at the Walter Reade Theater. In addition, this year’s Spotlight Retrospective will be Victor Fleming’s beloved favorite, The Wizard of Oz, for its 70th Anniversary presentation in a brand new high definition restoration. The 2009 New York Film Festival was programmed by five critics and curators. Richard Peña, Selection Committee Chair and Program Director at The Film Society; Melissa Anderson, Freelance Critic; Scott Foundas, Film Editor and Chief Film Critic for LA Weekly; J. Hoberman, Senior Film Critic at The Village Voice and Visiting Lecturer at Harvard University; and Dennis Lim, Editor at Moving Image Source and Freelance Critic joined forces to hand-pick the 29 features that make up the main slate. Presented by The Film Society, the annual Festival showcases new works by both emerging talents and internationally recognized artists, including numerous New York, U.S., and world premieres. Last year’s slate lived up to the festival’s reputation as a distinguished arbiter of the best in contemporary cinema, screening Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or winner The Class and the Academy Award-nominated films The Wrestler, Changeling, and Waltz with Bashir. Sponsors: The Film Society receives generous, year-round support from 42BELOW, GRAFF, Stella Artois, Illy Caffè, The New York State Council on the Arts, and The National Endowment for the Arts. The 47th Annual New York Film Festival is sponsored by HBO Films, The New York Times, and Kodak. Since 1969, The Film Society of Lincoln Center has brought great films from all genres to American audiences. Year round, The Film Society offers Hollywood premieres, film classics, the best in foreign cinema, and cutting-edge independent films. Our two renowned film festivals attract global attention: The New York Film Festival which is in its 47th year, and New Directors/ New Films which is presented in conjunction with MoMA. The prestigious Chaplin Award is awarded by The Film Society. Recipients have included Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks. It also offers definitive examinations of essential films and artists to a worldwide audience through Film Comment magazine. http://www.filmlinc.com/.
New York Film Festival 2009 September 25 – October 11 Main SlateOPENING NIGHT Wild Grass / Les herbes folles Alain Resnais, France, 2009; 113m 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. CENTERPIECE Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire Lee Daniels, USA, 2009; 109m 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. CLOSING NIGHT Broken Embraces / Los abrazos rotos Pedro Almodóvar, Spain, 2009; 128m 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, 84m The legendary Jacques Rivette returns with an elegiac look at the final days of a small-time traveling circus. Antichrist Lars von Trier, Denmark, 2009, 109m Surely 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, only to unleash hidden monsters lurking in their souls. An IFC Films release. The Art of the Steal Don Argott, USA, 2009, 101m 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 vs. private “ownership” of art. Bluebeard / La Barbe Bleue Catherine Breillat, France, 2009, 78m Two sisters reading Charles Perrault’s 17th 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, 73m The oldest surviving Korean film, this recently-rediscovered masterwork will be presented with live musical accompaniment as well as a benshi (offscreen narrator). Eccentricities of a Blonde Manoel de Oliveira, Portugal/France, 2009, 64m 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, 119m 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. Ghost Town Zhao Dayong, China, 2008, 180m 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. Hadewijch Bruno Dumont, France, 2009, 105m A young woman searches for an absolute experience of faith—and in the process grows increasingly distant from the world around her. Independencia Raya Martin, Philippines, 2009, 77m 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 US takeover of the islands. Inferno / L’Enfer Serge Bromberg, France, 2009, 100m A film buff’s delight, 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.” Kanikosen Sabu, Japan, 2009, 109m 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. Lebanon Samuel Maoz, Israel, 2009, 92m 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, 96m 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. Min Yé Souleymane Cissé, Mali/France, 2009, 135m 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. Mother/ Maedo Bong Joon-ho, South Korea, 2009, 128m 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, 103m 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, 115m 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, 131m 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. Sweetgrass Ilisa Barbash, Lucien Castaing-Taylor, USA, 2009, 105m 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, 85m Celebrated master Andrzej Wajda returns with a bold, experimental work that juxtaposes a story about a terminally doctor’s wife rediscovering romance thanks 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 Joao Pedro Rodrigues, Portugal, 2009,138m 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. Vincere Marco Bellocchio, Italy, 2009, 129m Mussolini’s “secret” marriage to Ida Dalser, afterwards 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. White Material Claire Denis, France, 2009, 100m 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, 144m 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, 103m 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.