Our 10 Favorite Films of This Year’s NYFF

For the last two weeks, the Film Society of Lincoln Center has been hosting to this year’s New York Film Festival—and it has been an absolute pleasure to attend. In our upcoming interview with director Claire Denis—whose new filmBastards premiered last week—she spoke about the festival, saying, “It’s a place where you have time to think about the film you just finished. You’re not under the pressure of publicity or competition. It’s an open space with people I like and people I like to meet, and so it makes me a better filmmaker.”

And for their 51st annual festival, NYFF unveiled some of the most acclaimed features of the coming few months and year—from the best of international cinema to the features that have been on the tip of everyone’s tongue for months. Alongside their incredible line-up of new films—from Spike Jonze’s Her and Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive to Jia Zhangke’s A Touch of Sin and  Hirokazu Koreeda’s Like Father, Like Son—NYFF also is currently also hosting an expansive Jean-Luc Godard retrospective. So after the past few weeks of watching wonderful films from the Walter Reade theater, here are our ten favorite of this year’s NYFF (that we were able to catch), in no particular order.

Only Lovers Left Alive
Jim Jarmusch’s absolutely delicious and cool baby cool tale of bloodsucking, undead love. A playful and nocturnal examination of modernity’s foibles through the RayBan covered eyes of those who’ve lived through its beauty and its horror. Scored to perfection and directed with the touch of a man who knows how to make a story feel like a jazz riff, the film is as if the Nick Cave scene in Wings of Desire made friend’s with Mick Jagger in Performance to create your new favorite onscreen romance from Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston.

The Immigrant
James Gray’s very own McCabe & Mrs. Miller that begins with familiarity but divulges into a trying look at the lengths one goes to for survival, the madness of love, and forgiveness as a means of salvation. Shot with a Vilmos Zsigmond-esque glow, the film has a painful allure that proves a wonderful showcase for its cast.

Her
Spike Jonze’s strange and frightening portrait of modern love that shows the dichotomy and tension between the comforting affection of fantastical, easy love over the struggles of real human connection. While at times sharply funny, beautifully moving, and very smart, the film felt like it could never fully commit to its own ethos, leaving the most profound moments unrealized or turned into comedy. But all the while, it was a brilliantly acted case study of emotion and visually a pleasure to take in without ever really cutting the skin.

A Touch of Sin
Jia Zhangke’s forceful tetraptych drama that explodes with violence yet allows its own moments for reflection. A portrait of modern China that explores the fine line between man and beast and the pleasure and satisfaction that can be derived from that brutality.

12 Years a Slave
Steve McQueen’s fearless and unflinching masterpiece whose absolute brutality is matched by its adamant exposure to what makes us human and the evils we’re capable of. The film truly showcases the work of a man who harbors an uncompromising vision and an incredible ability to pull performances from the marrow of his actors.

Stray Dogs
Tsai Ming-liang’s bleak urban endurance test whose silence allowed for reflection but conjured up only slight emotion in the absence of movement. The removed spacial silence eminded me of Stephen Shore’s Oregon billboard, except it’s raining and devoured by someone’s incisors.

Like Father, Like Son
Hirokazu Koreeda’s emotional drama that forces us to question our own internal set of values and those that have given us life. It’s a delicate tickling of most potent emotional keys that asks a question almost too painful to consider answering and examines it with genuinely heartbreaking honesty.

Bastards
Claire Denis’ haunting family portrait that lives in the darkness that rises from the aftermath of death. An oddly sensuous nightmare voyage through an unforgiving world that lurks in shadows and painful lies. Exposes a kind of evil culled from the stories that we read and see everyday which have become second nature to us, their dastardliness barely leaving a mark on our skin.

Captain Phillips
Paul Greengrass’ thrillingly tense drama that captures you with a forceful hand and refuses to let go until its highly emotional end. Void of spectacle and infused with a kind of genuine force rarely seen in docudramas, the film possesses the cinematic excitement of the best hostage thrillers but strips the genre of its pretense.

Manakahmana
Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez’s entrancing and beautiful ethnographic documentary taking place high above the mountains of Nepal. As the Holy Motors of Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab, perhaps a packed theater is too limited for such a film, as it deserves to be free of confines. A meditative and exploratory journey that perhaps should be projected in a large space that allows for its audience to enter the film in a more unconventional way.

 

From Spike Jonze to Claire Denis, Here’s What You Should Be Seeing This Weekend in New York

Sundays may be a "wan, stuff shadow of a robust Saturday" or a day of "forced leisure for folks who have no aptitude for leisure," according to Tom Robbins, but a weekend is still a weekend. The pleasure of a Friday night, the knowing the burdens of work week have a brief respite carry themselves into the following two days of leisure, and what better way to indulge in that leisure than heading to the cinema.  

And this weekend, there are more than enough wonderful films showing around New York for you to disappear into. Whether it’s your favorite Claire Denis, Roman Polanski, David Lynch, or the latest NYFF premieres from Jim Jarmusch, Spike Jonze, and the Coen Brothers, there’s surely something to satisfy every cinematic appetite. I’ve founded up the best of what’s playing around the city, so peruse our list, and enjoy.  

IFC Center

The Last Picture Show
Bottle Rocket
Escape From Tomorrow
Design Is One: The Vignellis
Blue Caprice
Dracula 3D
I Used to Be Darker
Frances Ha
Alien (1979)
Gahan Wilson: Born Dead, Still Weird
Mulholland Drive
Muscle Shoals
A Touch of Sin
Una Noche
Wicker Man: The Final Cut

Film Forum

Un Chambre En Ville
Let the Fire Burn
Russian Ark
Model Shop
The Pied Piper
Donkey Skin
Shall We Dance

MoMA

An Evening With Bruce Dern:
Smile Arabian Nights
I Am Suzanne!
Whistle Down the Wind
Requiem NN
Nightmare Alley
Kundun
Hangover Square
Goha
The Aviator
10 Rillngton Place
Hugo

Landmark Sunshine

A.C.O.D.
The Summit
We Are What We Are
In a World…
Short Term 12
Army of Darkness

Film Linc

Blue is the Warmest Color
Afternoon of a Faun: Le Clercq
NYFF Live: David V. Picker
Inside Llewyn Davis
Sam in the Snow
Weekend
Hail Mary
Her
Nebraska
On Cinema: James Gray
Only Lovers Left Alive
Protecting Arizona
The Senate Speaks
Bastards

Museum of the Moving Image

Beau Travail
His Girl Friday
Red River
Ball of Fire
Sergeant York
A Song is Born

BAM

Trouble Every Day
Enough Said
Gravity 3D

Nitehawk

House of the Devil
Vampire Lovers
Don Jon
Machete Kills
We Are What We Are
Devil and Daniel Johnston
Rosemary’s Baby

What You Should Be Seeing at This Year’s New York Film Festival

With the forceful hand that took you captive and refused to let go, Paul Greengrass’s thrillingly tense Captain Phillips premiered on Friday, kicking off the 51st annual New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center. And for the next two weeks, 2013’s film slate will continue to roll out some of the most acclaimed features of the year—from the best of international cinema to the features that have been on the tip of everyone’s tongue for months. Alongside their incredible line-up of new films— Spike Jonze’s Her and the Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis to Jia Zhangke’s A Touch of Sin and  Hirokazu Koreeda’s Like Father, Like Son—NYFF will also be hosting an expansive Jean-Luc Godard retrospective, a series of beloved revivals from the likes of Leos Carax and Apichatpong Weerasetakhul, HBO Directors Dialogues, an in-depth look at the best of avant-garde cinema, various gala tributes, and much more.

After celebrating the festival’s opening night with a wonderful party at the Harvard Club on Friday, the events are now in full, glorious swing—and you’re going to want to see as much as you can. From their vast array of features, we’ve whittled down what we’re most anticipating from this year’s showcase; so peruse our list, check out the full slate, get your tickets fast, and enjoy.

Her, Spike Jonze 

Spike Jonze’s magical, melancholy comedy of the near future, lonely Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with his new all-purpose operating system (the voice of Scarlett Johansson), leading to romantic and existential complications. 

Abuse of Weakness, Catherine Breillat

Catherine Breillat’s haunting film about her 2004 stroke and subsequent self-destructive relationship with star swindler Christophe Rocancourt, starring Isabelle Huppert.

Manakamana, Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez 

The new film from Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab, shot inside a cable car that carries pilgrims and tourists to and from a mountaintop temple in Nepal, is both literally and figuratively transporting. *The Holy Motors of Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab* 

Bastards, Claire Denis 

Claire Denis’s jagged, daringly fragmented and deeply unsettling film inspired by recent French sex ring scandals is the rarest of cinematic narratives—a contemporary film noir, perfect in substance as well as style.

Blue Is the Warmest Color, Abdellatif Kechiche 

The sensation of this year’s Cannes Film Festival is an intimate – and sexually explicit – epic of emotional transformation, featuring two astonishing performances from Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux. 

Gloria, Sebastián Lelio 

A wise, funny, liberating movie from Chile, about a middle-aged woman who finds romance but whose new partner finds it painfully difficult to abandon his old habits. 

The Immigrant, James Gray 

In James Gray’s richly detailed period tragedy, set in a dusty, sepia-toned 1920s Manhattan, a young Polish immigrant (Marion Cotillard) is caught in a dangerous battle of wills with a shady burlesque manager (Joaquin Phoenix).

Inside Llewyn Davis, Joel & Ethan Coen

Directors Joel and Ethan Coen, composer T-Bone Burnett, and stars Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Adam Driver, Alex Karpovsky, John Goodman, and more in person on September 28! Joel and Ethan Coen’s picaresque, panoramic and wryly funny story of a talented and terminally miserable folk musician is set in the New York film scene of the early 60s and features a terrific array of larger-than-life characters and a glorious score of folk standards. 

Like Father, Like Son, Hirokazu Kore-eda Hirokazu

Kore-eda’s sensitive drama takes a close look at two families’ radically different approaches to the horribly painful realization that the sons they have raised as their own were switched at birth.  

Boy Meets Girl, Leos Carax 

Leos Carax’s debut feature, a lush black-and-white fable of last-ditch romance drawn from a cinephilic grab bag of influences and allusions, instantly situated the young director as a modern-day heir to the great French Romantics. 

The Missing Picture, Rithy Panh 

Filmmaker Rithy Panh’s brave new film revisits his memories of four years spent under the Khmer Rouge and the destruction of his family and his culture; without a single memento left behind, he creates his "missing images" with narration and painstakingly executed dioramas. 

Nebraska, Alexander Payne

This masterful film from Alexander Payne, about a quiet old man (Bruce Dern) whose mild-mannered son (Will Forte) agrees to drive him from Montana to Nebraska to claim a non-existent prize, shades from the comic to multiple hues of melancholy and regret.

12 Years a Slave, Steve McQueen

Tim’s Vermeer, Teller 

A bouncy, entertaining, real-life detective story about one man’s obsessive quest to re-paint Vermeer’s "The Music Lesson" according to David Hockney’s controversial theories. 

Un film comme les autres, Jean-Luc Godard

Two 54-minute segments, with identical successions of images but different soundtracks. Students from Nanterre (where May 68 more or less began) sit on the grass (shot from the neck down) and discuss where the movement will go next; two Renault workers discuss their own ideas of a revolutionary future—their images are intercut with black and white footage of May 68, their words mingle with Godard’s own rhetoric. When the film was shown at the 1968 New York Film Festival, Godard told the projectionist to flip a coin and decided on the spot which 16mm reel to begin with. According to D.A. Pennebaker, the American distributor, the audience “began to tear up their seats.”

Mysterious Object at Noon, Apichatpong Weerasetakhul

A camera crew travels the length of Thailand asking villagers to invent episodes in an ever-expanding story in the first feature from Apichatpong Weerasethakul: part road movie, part folk storytelling exercise, part surrealist party game.

Chris Marker – Description of a Struggle 

Screening with Redemption (Miguel Gomes, Portugal/France/Germany/Italy, 2013, 26m)

Nobody’s Daughter, Haewon Hong Sang-soo 

A young student at loose ends after her mother moves to America tries to define herself one encounter and experience at a time, in reality and in dreams, in another deceptively simple chamber-piece from South Korean master Hong Sang-soo.

Norte, The End of History, Lav Diaz 

Filipino director Lav Diaz’ twelfth feature – at four-plus hours, one of his shortest – is a careful rethinking of Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, whose tortured anti-hero is a haunting embodiment of the dead ends of ideology. 

Only Lovers Left Alive, Jim Jarmusch 

Jim Jarmusch’s wry, tender and moving take on the vampire genre features Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston as a centuries-old couple who watch time go by from multiple continents as they reflect on the ever-changing world around them.

Stray Dogs, Tsai Ming-liang 

Tsai Ming-liang’s fable of a homeless family living the cruelest of existences on the ragged edges of the modern world is bracingly pure in its anger and its compassion, and as visually powerful as it is emotionally overwhelming. 

La Chinoise, Jean-luc Godard 

A brightly colored, politically sharp, and quite poignant film. "Godard is the only contemporary director with the ability to express through graceful cinema what young people are feeling at this time in world history," wrote Andrew Sarris. 

Program 32: Max Ophuls

Sans Lendemain Sans Lendemain (Max Ophuls, France, 1939-40, 82m)

Mauvais Sang, Leos Carax 

Leos Carax’s swoon-inducing portrait of love among thieves offers an ecstatic depiction of what it feels like to be young, restless and madly in love.

A Touch of Sin, Jia Zhangke

Jia Zhangke’s bloody, bitter new film builds a portrait of modern-day China in the midst of rapid and convulsive change through four overlapping stories of marginalized and oppressed citizens pushed to murderous rage. 

They Live By Night, Nicholas Ray 

Nick Ray’s feature debut, adapted from Edward Anderson’s 1935 novel Thieves Like Us, is at once innovative, visually electrifying, behaviorally nuanced, and soulfully romantic. 

Comment ça va, Jean-Luc Godard

A lovely, muted film-video hybrid work, in which a need to inquire about the nature of audio-visual communication and to understand it on a personal level is split between multiple characters. Screening with shorts. 

Program 33: Stan Brakhage

Anticipation of the Night (Stan Brakhage, USA, 1958, 40m)

Window Water Baby Moving (Stan Brakhage, USA, 1959, 12m)

The Dead (Stan Brakhage, USA, 1960, 11m)

The Wind Rises, Hayao Miyazaki 

The great Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki’s new film is based on the life of Jiro Horikoshi, the man who designed the Zero fighter. An elliptical historical narrative, The Wind Rises is also a visionary cinematic poem about the fragility of humanity.

Your Alternate Essential List of Best Films to Watch This Fall

Waking up to sheets damped by thousands of droplets of sweat as a fan hums off in the distance, and waking up to the sound of wind rustling through leaves on the sidewalk as you shiver to pull yourself under the covers, are two entirely different sensations that leave two vastly distinct impacts on our psyche throughout the day. From the moment you awake, there’s a change that lingers through and penetrates our waking hours as the seasons rotate, and when it comes to fall—the best season by far—it’s a very welcome change of pace. We’re now able to rid ourselves of the anxious and torrid thrill of summer and return to our more hermetic selves, enjoying the richer tastes of the chillier months. Our lives become a little more insular, we may grow a little melancholy but it’s certainly the most beautiful time of the year and for all the nostalgic feelings that sweep in, basking in them is more of a pleasure than a burden.  

And as we don our knee-highs, sweaters, and boots and change our playlists to the darker and heavier notes, our cinematic preferences alter as well. But what makes a film distinctly a “fall film” has little do with the time in which its set but about a tone and texture of the film, a certain emotional through line that’s tethered to a certain seasonal state of being. And although a generous number of fantastic films are set to premiere this autumn—from McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave and Scorsese’s Wolf of Wall Street to Kechiche’s Blue is the Warmest Color and Spike Jonze’s Her—if you’re looking for something timeless, something that feels distinctly in tune with the season—I’ve got you covered.  

Just as and 3 Women and Dog Day Afternoon were certainly summer films, I’ve put together a list of films that possess something that mirrors that seasonal affect of fall—from the smirkingly violent to the tragically romantic and the existentially wandering to the psychologically possessed. So here’s your alternate list of fall movies to watch over the next few months. Enjoy.  

Interiors


Funny Games

Buffalo ’66

Until the End of the World

Magnolia

Amour

Lost in Translation

Dogville

Hunger

An Autumn Afternoon

La Haine

Taste of Cherry

The Double Life of Veronique

Pina


Adaptation

The Ice Storm

Lost Highway

Three Colors Red

Husbands and Wives

Kicking and Screaming

Antichrist

Days of Heaven

Good Will Hunting

Fire Walk With Me

35 Shots of Rum

House of the Devil


Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Carnival of Souls


Holy Motors

 

 

Sans Soleil

 

 

Performance

The Best Film Events, Retrospectives, and Premieres Happening This Fall in NYC

As our summer days begin to melt behind us, it’s time to cast our eyes to fall and get excited for all the cinematic events in store for us. The air will start to chill and the leaves will begin to wither from their branches, but what’s really important are the myriad retrospectives, premieres, and events happening around the city to enjoy. And if you’re currently experiencing the woeful jealousy that comes with knowing you’re missing out on the Venice and Toronto film festivals, never fear, the New York Film Festival is just around the corner.

So whether you prefer to watch the season change from behind the screen of Howard Hawks’ best, plan on making a midnight date for IFC’s weekend screenings, and everything in between, we’ve rounded up the best in film events happening around the city this fall. Peruse our list and start planning out your cinematic schedule now. Enjoy.

 

INTERIOR. LEATHER BAR. trailer from Travis Mathews on Vimeo.

  NewFest at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, September 6th to September 11th  
New York’s premier LGBT Film Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary and second year in partnership with Los Angeles’ Outfest and the Film Society of Lincoln Center with a diverse and compelling collection of narratives, documentaries, shorts and parties! [more info]  

 

See It Big! at Museum of the Moving Image, September 6th to October 20th

The Museum’s popular ongoing film series See It Big! celebrates the joys of large-scale moviegoing. It provides a chance to discover or revisit essential films in their full theatrical splendor in one of the finest film venues in the country. Great movies transport us into new worlds, and they immerse us visually and aurally. Despite the easy availability of movies on portable devices and small screens, there is only one way to really see a movie: BIG! The Museum always endeavors to show a film in the best available version, whether it is a stunning digital restoration, or a rare screening of a vintage Technicolor 35mm print. Projection formats are noted throughout. [more info]  

 

Skateboarding is Not a Crime at BAM, September 6th to September 23rd

The ultimate in counterculture coolness since the late 1960s, skateboarding has made an irresistible subject for movies thanks to its rebel-athlete superstars, SoCal slacker fashion, and jaw-dropping four-wheel acrobatics.
This series features the best of skateboarding on screen from the 1960s to the present, including films by Stacy Peralta, Spike Jonze, Larry Clark, and many more
. [more info]  

 

The Complete Howard Hawks at the Museum of the Moving Image, September 7th to November 11th

Cinema is a medium of action, in which everything must be expressed on the surface, in concrete physical terms. In Hawks’s film, behavior is everything. An instinctive existentialist, Hawks depicts a universe where groups of men and women battle the abyss by sticking to a precise code of conduct and behavior, where professionalism under pressure is the ultimate virtue. No great Hollywood director has ever shown less interest in such institutions as government, family, and marriage. And Hawks displayed a healthy disregard for gender roles. “In the end, the traditionalist Hawks may be more modern than the modernists,” wrote Molly Haskell, “in perceiving that as a mutual adventure of equals, sexual union, like sexual antagonism, is a meeting not of subject and object, but of two self-determining subjects.” [more info]

   

Lame Brains and Lunatics: Cruel and Unusual Comedy, Part 4 at MoMA, September 11th to September 17th

Silent-era slapstick tackled social, cultural, political, and aesthetic themes that continue to be central concerns around the world today. Issues of race, sexuality, public order, and industrialization have traditionally been among the most vital sources for rude forms of comedy. Drawing from the Museum’s holdings of silent comedy, acquired largely in the 1970s and 1980s by former curator Eileen Bowser, Cruel and Unusual Comedy presents an otherwise little-seen body of work to contemporary audiences from an engaging perspective. The series continues with comical takes on crime and punishment, movie making, sports, eating habits, and the rituals of romance. All films are from the U.S. and are silent, with piano accompaniment by Ben Model. Each screening is introduced by Steve Massa, author of Lame Brains and Lunatics: The Good, The Bad, and The Forgotten of Silent Comedy. [more info]  

 

La Jetee and Slow Action at Nitehawk, September 21st and 22nd

The first in our post-apocalyptic double-feature is the landmark featurette by Chris Marker, La Jetée, in which a tale of time travel is told through still images. Established in the context of a post-nuclear Third World War, where the survivors live underground in the Palais de Chaillot galleries in post-apocalyptic Paris, La Jetée unfolds into a scientific quest to revisit the past and to ‘rescue the future’. It’s an exploration of memory, time and space, and the advancement of life on our planet in a compelling and succinct manifestation of imagery. Following La Jetée, is the recent work Slow Action by British filmmaker and artist Ben Rivers. Slow Action is a post-apocalyptic science fiction film which exists somewhere between documentary, ethnographic study and fiction. Earth in the distant future, when the sea level has risen to absurd heights forming new isolated islands and archipelagos. Two narrators read accounts from a great library of Utopias, describing the four islands seen in the film. [more info]    

Dante Ferretti: Designing for the Big Screen at MoMA, September 25th to February 9th

Constructing “a working space for narrative” is how production designer Ferretti describes his role in the collaborative process of filmmaking. A key characteristic of his approach, especially in his fruitful associations with Pier Paolo Pasolini, Federico Fellini, and Martin Scorsese, is his practice of conceiving, for each project, a single set piece intended to stimulate the director’s imagination and crystallize the visual style and character of the film. Indulging his preference for both dreamlike and historical subjects, and drawing on his knowledge of painting, sculpture, and poetry, Ferretti categorizes his designs as “period” (Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom), “fantasy” (The Adventures of Baron Munchausen), or “contemporary” (Todo Modo). Inspired by the grand-scale, operatic traditions of classical Italian cinema, Ferretti’s work is most effectively viewed as it was originally intended: on the big screen. Presented in conjunction with MoMA’s Dante Ferretti gallery exhibition, this 22-film retrospective demonstrates how the designer’s settings have served to guide directorial practice with signature distinction. [more info]  

 

Mr. Nobody, September 26th

In the year 2092, Nemo Nobody is a 118-year-old man who finds himself as the last mortal amongst humans who have become immortal due to scientific advances involving the perpetual rejuvenation of telomeres. When Nemo is on his deathbed, he reviews three possible existences and marriages he might have experienced. References to the big bang theory, the nature of time, superstring theory, and memory help structure the plot.

 

The 51st New York Film Festival, September 27th to October 13th

Founded in 1963, as the auteur theory and European cinematic modernism were crashing upon the shores of American film culture, the New York Film Festival continues to introduce audiences to the most exciting, innovative and accomplished works of world cinema. Join us as North America’s second oldest film festival marks its 51st edition with 17 days of exciting world premieres, award winners from Cannes, Berlin and Venice, retrospective screenings, spotlights on emerging filmmakers, panels, galas and much more! [more info]  

 

Celebrating Jim Henson: The Biography at the Museum of the Moving Image, October 1

Brian Jay Jones’s eagerly awaited biography, Jim Henson: The Biography (Ballantine Books, 2013), written with the cooperation of Jim Henson’s family, covers the full arc of Henson’s all-too-brief life, exploring the creation of the Muppets, Henson’s contributions to Sesame Street andSaturday Night Live, his nearly ten-year campaign to bring The Muppet Show to television, and such non-Muppet projects as the richly imagined movies The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth…The panel features some of the world’s leading experts on Henson’s life and his work, including Fran Brill, the beloved Sesame Street performer; Dwight Bowers, curator of the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History; Karen Falk, archivist for The Jim Henson Company; and Barbara Miller, Curator of the Collection and Exhibitions for Museum of the Moving Image. The program, moderated by Craig Shemin, President of The Jim Henson Legacy, will include rare and delightful clips of Henson talk show appearances, a 35mm print of Henson’s Oscar-nominated experimental short film Time Piece (1965, 9 mins.), and other rarities. [more info]  

 

Mulholland Drive at IFC Center, October 4th and 5th

"The story isn’t so complicated, it’s just a matter of trusting your inner feelings. It may be harder for people now because films are what they are, and it’s all on the surface, so when you introduce some abstractions, the mind isn’t trained to see them. Now, music is so abtract, and no one has a problem with music. Yet film is so much like music, the way things occur in time and come back; those harmonics are really interesting." [more]  

 

Jacques Demy Retrospective  at Film Forum, October 4th to 17th

“Of all the New Wave directors who once professed their joy in cinema, Demy remained most faithful to the delights of sight and sound and to the romance of movie iconography. With loving attention to those Atlantic coast towns — Nantes, Rochefort, and Cherbourg — where he grew up, Demy invented a world of benign and enchanting imagination.”   Showing: Un Chambre en Ville, Lola, The Girls of Young Rochefort, A Slightly Pregnant Man, Parking, Model Shop, The Umberellas of Cherbourg, + more

   

To Save and Project: The 11th MoMA International Festival of Film Preservation. October 10 to November 12th

To Save and Project, MoMA’s international festival of film preservation, celebrates its 11th year with gloriously preserved masterworks and rediscoveries of world cinema. Virtually all of the films in the festival are having their New York premieres, and some are shown in versions never before seen in the United States…What distinguishes To Save and Project among the world’s film preservation festivals is that nearly all the titles are presented on celluloid, respecting their original format of 35mm or 16mm. This festival, then, is a celebration of the vital work of archives around the world, including MoMA’s Department of Film, as well as Hollywood and international studios, distributors, and independent filmmakers, to save our cinema heritage. [more info]  

 

The Last Picture Show at IFC Center, October 11th to October 14th

Early in Peter Bogdanovich’s The Last Picture Show, as the wind from the Texas plains whips the small town of Anarene, the high school senior Sonny Crawford (Timothy Bottoms) halts his recalcitrant pickup truck—Hank Williams is warbling “Why Don’t You Love Me (Like You Used to Do)?” on the radio—to give a ride to his mute young friend Billy (Sam Bottoms). When Billy sits beside him, Sonny turns his cap backward on his head, a gesture that makes Billy smile and that Sonny will repeat several times, and his buddy Duane Jackson (Jeff Bridges) once, during the course of the movie. Sonny, Duane, and Jacy Farrow (Cybill Shepherd), Duane’s girl, later sing their high school’s song, partly in affection, partly in mockery, as they drive in Jacy’s convertible—the three joyfully united in friendship, no matter that both boys love this vain and luscious heartbreaker. It’s 1951, school’s nearly done, and anything is possible. [more]

 


Shepard & Dark, October 11th 

Sam Shepard and Johnny Dark met in Greenwich Village in the early 1960s and, despite leading very different lives, remained close friends ever since. Shepard became a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright (Buried Child) and an Academy Award-nominated actor (The Right Stuff), while Dark was a homebody who supported himself with odd jobs. Through the decades, they stayed bonded by family ties. Dark married an older woman named Scarlett and Shepard married her daughter. For years, the two couples lived together, until Shepard broke away for a relationship with Jessica Lange in 1983, leaving Johnny to help father his first son. Nevertheless, he and Dark continued writing to each other, amassing hundreds of letters. [more]  

 

12 Years a Slave, October 18th

Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave” instantly establishes itself as the most unflinching of all slave dramas, which is to say, there is plenty of flinching, not to mention cowering and recoiling and passing out, thanks to beatings and whippings that arrive at roughly 10-to-15-minute intervals throughout a 133-minute running time. “Amistad,” meet the Marquis de Sade, in the form of slavemaster Michael Fassbender, who puts his victims through more tortures than Mel Gibson ever could have imagined for Jesus. [more]  

 

Primer at IFC Center, October 19th & 20th

I love narrative and how it exists and why it exists and how it’s meant to be used. You can come up with a paragraph full of some truth, something that’s universal, some exploration, and it can be really informative, but it’s likely to not be that interesting. But you can spin a story, you can tell a narrative, and you can infuse it with this stuff, and if you’ve done your job right, you haven’t just captured somebody’s attention long enough to take them on this journey, you’ve also figured out something about the exploration through the act of the story because that’s what we key into. So I love narrative and I think that film is the height of narrative, and I don’t know what 100 years from now looks like, but from right now, to be able to communicate non-verbally but still explore, I don’t know what would be better than that. That’s what I love about it. It’s like you’re feeding right into the main line of how we experience things. [more]  

 

Blue Is the Warmest Color, October 25th

It is amazing. In France, it’s not out yet but at Cannes it was huge, and I think this is one of the reasons. This film is very modern. It’s a new way to make films. We never saw a film like this before—a love story this realistic. And it says a lot about the youth of today. It’s a film about love. I don’t really think it’s a film about homosexuality—it’s more than that. Homosexuality is not taboo anymore—even if it isn’t considered “moral” by everyone—which is how it should be. [more]  

 

The Wes Anderson Collection at the Museum of the Moving Image, October 27th

The Wes Anderson Collection (2013, Abrams), edited by Matt Zoller Seitz, is a lavishly illustrated and perceptively written new book about one of the most influential directors now working. Wes Anderson is known for the visual artistry, inimitable tone, and idiosyncratic characterizations that make each of his films—Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Darjeeling Limited, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Moonrise Kingdom so instantly recognizable. In celebration of the book, the Museum presents a day-long program, with a screening of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, followed by a panel discussion and a book signing. To cap off the day, there will be a screening of a restored 35mm print of Fellini’s 8½. The Fellini film was a clear influence on Anderson for The Life Aquatic. Both movies are about filmmakers, and were filmed at Cinecittà in Rome. Matt Zoller Seitz is the editor of rogerebert.com, and the television critic for New York magazine. In 2009, he created a five-part video essay, The Substance of Style,about Wes Anderson and his influences, published on Moving Image Source. [more info]  

Her and Hands and Arena Brains at Nitehawk, November 16th

Starring director Abel Ferrara and writer Alissa Bennett, Aïda Ruilova’s new film, Head and Hands: my black angel, centers around a conversation regarding Pier Paolo Pasolini’s life and death. Spiraling out from there, the story breaks into an unconventional and tangential narrative about love, hustlers, desire, drugs, conspiracy, film scripts, and the actress Zoë Lund. Head and Hands is a fascinating look at the obsessive forces at play and self-destructive tendencies that often accompany creative brilliance. Run-time for Head and Hands is 45 minutes. Painter and filmmaker Robert Longo’s 1987 short Arena Brains is a portrait of artistic life in the lower east side featuring theater and performance artists along with house-hold names Steve Buscemi, Ray Liotta, Sean Young, and Michael Stipe. Traveling from the gritty back-alleys of Manhattan to its affluent gallery spaces, Arena Brains juxtaposing the often ridiculous duality of the art world. It’s all here: sex, power, art, and the media. There’s even a quiet lonely young man (R.E.M.’s Stipe) observing it all and trying to get a sandwich. [more info]  

 

Inside Llewyn Davis, December 6th

The ambition was that the movie have the real music from the period, but the characters were essentially made up. Oscar was playing a lot of what Dave played. And we took other things from Van Ronk—the fact that he was a working-class kid from the ‘burbs who came to the Village, and he was a merchant marine. There’s a book that he wrote, The Mayor of MacDougal Street, which is a very interesting description of that pre-Dylan folk-revival scene in the Village that Van Ronk called “the great folk scare” in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s …. but there were many aspects of the character that were made up whole cloth, and didn’t have any connection to Van Ronk. [more]    

Her, December 18th

The film stars Joaquin Phoenix as a writer who falls in love with a computer operating system. But although that description may seem vague, the trailer suggest it’s much more of a meditation on the insanity of love overall and how deeply it effects our lives.Speaking about Her this summer, Jonze said, “It’s a movie set in the slight future of L.A. and Joaquin Phoenix’s character buys the world’s first artificially intelligent operating system… it basically turns into a human, this entity, this consciousness, on his computer,” but turns, “into something more romantic.” [more]  

Listen to Karen O’s Song Written for Spike Jonze’s ‘Her’

Aside from Aphex Twin’s “Avril 14th” the enticing trailer for Spike Jonze’s Her featured a delicate track from Yeah Yeah Yeah’s front woman Karen O. And with the film premiering at the New York Film Festival next month and rolling into theaters just before the New Year, we can now listen to O’s track in its entirety. Titled “The Moon Song," it was written for the film and in Her, the song is sung by leads Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson. And only adding to the excitement for the feature, Arcade Fire have are at the helm for the rest of the music. 

Speaking about Her this summer, Jonze said, “It’s a movie set in the slight future of L.A. and Joaquin Phoenix’s character buys the world’s first artificially intelligent operating system… it basically turns into a human, this entity, this consciousness, on his computer,” but turns, “into something more romantic.”
 
Check out O’s song below, re-watch the trailer, and download the track via Soundcloud before it becomes only available to stream.
 

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You’re Going to Have to Wait a Little Longer to Fall in Love With Spike Jonze’s ‘Her’

Last week, we all got a first taste of Spike Jonze’s highly-anticipated new feature Her, starring Joaquin Phoenix. Telling the story of a lonesome writer who falls in love with a computer operating system, the film, which suggests to be more of a meditation on the insanity of love, also boasts a lovely cast of Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson, Rooney Mara, and Olivia Wilde. And with the first trailer, we were all thrilled to know that not only would it be the closing night film at this year’s New York Film Festival, but it would have its limited release premiere on November 20th. However, now it looks that you’re going to have to dial back that excitement just a tad, because Her won’t be hitting most cities until 2014

Moving the limited release back to December 18th, and closer to award season, will allow New York, Los Angeles, and Toronto to see the film before the holidays but it’s going to be a bit longer before it rolls out anywhere else in the country, with its wide release slated for January 10th. But although you’re going to have to hold out until the new year, with a film that really does look fantastic, perhaps you can consider this a nice treat for the post-holiday melancholy that eventually falls upon everyone. Until then, stay tuned as we’ll be keep a close eye on the film.
 

See Joaquin Phoenix in the First Trailer for Spike Jonze’s ‘Her’

Opening with Aphex Twin’s beautifully melancholy tune “Avril 14th,” Spike Jonze’s highly-anticipated new feature Her has finally arrived with a first trailer. With little known on the project—save it’s great ensemble featuring Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, and Chris Pratt—the film stars Joaquin Phoenix as a writer who falls in love with a computer operating system. But although that description may seem vague, the trailer suggest it’s much more of a meditation on the insanity of love overall and how deeply it effects our lives.

Speaking to the film this summer, Jonze said, “It’s a movie set in the slight future of L.A. and Joaquin Phoenix’s character buys the world’s first artificially intelligent operating system… it basically turns into a human, this entity, this consciousness, on his computer,” but turns, “into something more romantic.” Also to be noted, Arcade Fire—who have collaborated with Jonze in the past—have provided the score for Her. Get excited.

Check out the first trailer and poster for the film below.

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