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.

Get a Closer Look at the Coen Brothers’ ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ With a New Full-Length Trailer

Throughout their oeuvre, the Coen Brothers have established a unique and signature style of filmmaking. Blending their vast array of influence and melding genres, their films may all vary greatly in subject matter but are never without a very distinct touch of Coen—allowing you to always know just whose film you’re watching. And with their latest Cannes hit, the soft-lit and music-soaked Inside Llweyn Davis, we’re given another taste of their world, but this time, set in early 1960s New York City.

Loosely based on Dave Van Ronk’s memoir The Mayor of Macdougal Street, the film reunites Drive‘s Irene and Standard (Carey Mulligan and Oscar Isaac) as Llewyn and Jean to tell the story of the titular character, a song-songwriter making his way through the 1960s folk scene. Justin Timberlake, Adam Driver, John Goodman, and Garrett Hedlund join the cast in what seems to be a more intimate film for the brothers.

And today, a new full-length trailer has debuted. Here we get a better look at the tone of the film, as well as a bit of the brilliant done soundtrack (which you can pre-order now at Nonesuch). Check out the trailer below and start counting down til next December for it’s premiere. Don’t worry, now that’s only six months away!

 

There’s Not Going to Be A ‘Lebowski’ Sequel, And That’s Okay

It’s been a good week for the Coen Brothers. Although their new folk-revival-focused film Inside Llewyn Davis didn’t take the top prize at Cannes, it did win the Joel and Ethan Coen the Grand Prix, the festival’s runner-up (not their first time taking home silverware at the Cannes either). And with all the press they’re inevitably getting about this new film and the award, reporters, like one from the Toronto Star, are asking the question that’s on a lot of fans’ minds, “Will there ever be a Lebowski sequel?”

In short, the answer is no. There had long been rumors about a sequel to the Coens’ beloved stoner-caper The Big Lebowski, their biggest film, which has inspired bathrobe-wearing would-be Zen slackers around the world to come together, bowl and quaff White Russians at annual Lebowskifests. The rumored sequel would focus on an auxiliary character, John Turturro’s Jesus Quintana, the slimy rival bowler who delivers the iconic line, “Nobody fucks with the Jesus.” Turturro has been big on this idea of a sequel and even pitched it to the brothers, but they’re just not down with it right now.

“[Turturro] even has the story worked out, which he’s pitched to us a few times, but I can’t really remember it,” Ethan Coen told the Star. “No, I don’t see it in our future.” Joel Coen added that he “doesn’t like sequels.”

And you know what? That’s fine. In fact, it’s probably better this way. The Coens have gone on to do even better films, most notably Fargo and No Country For Old Men, and worked in a variety of styles and genres. The film’s star, Jeff Bridges, may be The Dude forever ad infinitum, but he’s also gone on to have some other acclaimed starting roles, including his turn as a grizzled singer in the widely praised Crazy Heart.

Lebowski is still a delight, a movie worth seeing over and over, a bit of cinematic comfort food for fans that know every line by heart. And like any good film, there’s something new to be discovered with every viewing. But it’s run its course. It’s in a good place in movie history. There’s a special place for it, but most of the people involved have gone on to bigger and better things. It just wouldn’t be the same. And honestly, could a character like the Jesus sustain a full-length film and keep it interesting? Results are a little hazy.

And as much as it would be fun to see Turturro (also the star of the Coens’ Cannes favorite Barton Fink, which many consider the brothers’ best work) work with the directors again, and rumors of a Barton Fink sequel have also made the rounds, it doesn’t have to be in the form of a Lebowski sequel, or a sequel at all. It would be really cool if they worked together again. Just… not as a Lebowski sequel.

And, if you don’t agree, that’s fine, because you know what? That’s just your opinion, man.  

The Ten Most Anticipated Films of the Cannes Film Festival

With the Cannes Film Festival but days away, I find myself increasingly more saddened that I am currently not packing my bags for France. But be that as it may, the films showing this year leave much to be excited for in the coming year. From Nicholas Winding Refn’s Drive follow-up Only God Forgives to Jim Jarmusch’s first feature in four years Only Lovers Left Alive, the films in competition are looking to be some of the most thrilling of 2013. Plus, we’ll finally get a taste of James Franco’s Wiliam Faulkner adaptation As I Lay Dying alongside Roman Polanski’s re-imaging of Venus in Furs, with many, many more. And although it’s already premiered in the states last week, Baz Luhrmann’s lavish variation on The Great Gatsby will be kicking off the festival on Wednesday night.

So here are our most anticipated films of the festival, which will hopefully make their way into theaters as soon as possible.

 

Inside Llewyn Davis, Joel and Ethan Coen

The life of a young folk singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961. Llewyn Davis is at a crossroads. Guitar in tow, huddled against the unforgiving New York winter, he is struggling to make it as a musician against seemingly insurmountable obstacles-some of them of his own making. Living at the mercy of both friends and strangers, scaring up what work he can find, Llewyn’s misadventures take him from the basket houses of the Village to an empty Chicago club – on an odyssey to audition for music mogul Bud Grossman-and back again.
 
 

Venus in Furs, Roman Polanski

Alone in a Paris theater after a long day of auditioning actresses for the lead role in his new play, writer-director Thomas complains on the phone about the poor caliber of talent he has seen. No actress has what it takes to play his lead female character-a woman who enters into an agreement with her male counterpart to dominate him as her slave. Thomas is about to leave the theater when actress Vanda bursts in, a whirlwind of erratic-and, it turns out, erotic-energy.
 
At first she seems to embody everything Thomas has been lamenting. She is pushy, foul-mouthed, desperate and ill-prepared-or so it seems. But when Thomas finally, reluctantly, agrees to let her try out for the part, he is stunned and captivated by her transformation. Not only is Vanda a perfect fit (even sharing the character’s name), but she apparently has researched the role exhaustively-down to buying props, reading source materials and learning every line by heart. The likeness proves to be much more than skin-deep. As the extended "audition" builds momentum, Thomas moves from attraction to obsession…
 
 

The Past, Asghar Farhadi

Following a four year separation, Ahmad returns to Paris from Tehran, upon his French wife Marie’s request, in order to finalize their divorce procedure. During his brief stay, Ahmad discovers the conflicting nature of Marie’s relationship with her daughter Lucie. Ahmad’s efforts to improve this relationship soon unveil a secret from their past.
 
 
 

Only God Forgives, Nicolas Winding Refn 

Julian, an American fugitive from justice, runs a boxing club in Bangkok as a front for his drug business. His mother, the head of a vast criminal organization, arrives from the US to collect the body of her favorite son, Billy. Julian’s brother has just been killed after having savagely murdered a young prostitute. Crazy with rage and thirsty for vengeance she demands the head of the murderers from Julian. But first, Julian must confront Chang, a mysterious retired policeman – and figurehead of a divine justice – who has resolved to scourge the corrupt underworld of brothels and fight clubs.
 
 

Only Lovers Left Alive, Jim Jarmusch

Set against the romantic desolation of Detroit and Tangier, an underground musician, deeply depressed by the direction of human activities, reunites with his resilient and enigmatic lover. Their love story has already endured several centuries at least, but their debauched idyll is soon disrupted by her wild and uncontrollable younger sister. Can these wise but fragile outsiders continue to survive as the modern world collapses around them?
 
 

The Immigrant, James Gray

1921. In search of a new start and the American dream, Ewa Cybulski and her sister Magda sail to New York from their native Poland. When they reach Ellis Island, doctors discover that Magda is ill, and the two women are separated. Ewa is released onto the mean streets of Manhattan while her sister is quarantined. Alone, with nowhere to turn and desperate to reunite with Magda, Ewa quickly falls prey to Bruno, a charming but wicked man who takes her in and forces her into prostitution. And then one day, she encounters Bruno’s cousin, the debonair magician Orlando. He sweeps Ewa off her feet and quickly becomes her only chance to escape the nightmare in which she finds herself.
 
 

As I Lay Dying, James Franco

Based on the acclaimed novel by William Faulkner, AS I LAY DYING follows a family through their turmoil-filled journey to bring their mother to her gravesite.
 
 

Fruitvale Station, Ryan Coogler

This is the true story of Oscar, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident who wakes up on the morning of December 31, 2008 and feels something in the air. Not sure what it is, he takes it as a sign to get a head start on his resolutions: being a better son to his mother, whose birthday falls on New Year’s Eve, being a better partner to his girlfriend, who he hasn’t been completely honest with as of late, and being a better father to T, their beautiful 4 year old daughter. He starts out well, but as the day goes on, he realizes that change is not going to come easy. He crosses paths with friends, family, and strangers, each exchange showing us that there is much more to Oscar than meets the eye. But it would be his final encounter of the day, with police officers at the Fruitvale BART station that would shake the Bay Area to its very core, and cause the entire nation to be witnesses to the story of Oscar Grant.
 
 

The Bastards, Claire Denis

Captain on a container-ship, Marco Silvestri is called urgently back to Paris. His sister, Sandra, is desperate… her husband has committed suicide, the family business has gone under, her daughter has gone adrift. Sandra accuses the powerful businessman, Edouard Laporte responsible. Marco moves into the building where Laporte’s mistress lives with his son. What Marco hadn’t foreseen are Sandra’s shameful, secret manœuvres… and his love for Raphaëlle which could ruin everything.
 
 

Nebraska, Alexander Payne

A poor old man living in Montana escapes repeatedly from his house to go to Nebraska to collect a sweepstakes prize he thinks he has won. Frustrated by his increasing dementia, his family debates putting him into a nursing home — until one of his two sons finally offers to take his father by car, even as he realizes the futility. En route the father is injured, and the two must rest a few days in the small decaying Nebraska town where the father was born and where, closely observed by the son, he re-encounters his past. (Don’t worry — it’s a comedy.) Shot in black and white across four American states, the film blends professional actors with non-actors and aspires to mirror the mood and rhythms of its exotic locations.

Enjoy a New Red Band Trailer for the Coen Brothers’ ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’

Film lovers everywhere perked up back in January upon getting a first look at the Coen brothers’ latest film Inside Llewyn Davis. Now set to premiere at Cannes in just a few short weeks, the film is based on the memoir The Mayor of MacDougal Street by Dave Van Ronk, and stars Oscar Isaac titular character. The Coen brothers are known for their idiosyncratic films, rich with characters whose mix of dry humor and intelligence always guide the narrative along and exist in a very specific world of their own making. And with Llewyn Davis, we’re excited to say it looks like little has changed in that respect. 

The film reunites Isaac with Carey Mulligan (who we saw together in Drive) , as well as Justin Timberlake, John Goodman, and Garrett Hedlund rounding out the cast of characters in the story of a singer-songwriter making his way through the 1960s folk scene in New York City. And although we’ve already seen a trailer for the feature, today we get another look with a red band cut of the preview. It’s not a whole lot different from the original but you’ll want to check this out. 

Watch the First Trailer for Joel and Ethan Coen’s ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’

Whether you’re a fan of their movies or not, there’s no deny Joel and Ethan Coen have a unique style of filmmaking all their own . Like Tarantino, they draw on their vast wealth of influences to blend genres together and make films that are always fueled by eccentric, rich characters with a dry sense of humor and intelligence that’s often brutal but never emotionally vacant. Their films exist in a very specific world of their own making and with their latest effort, Inside the Mind of Llwelyn Davis, it appears people are already raving about the film, which looks to have a very similar aesthetic quality to Walter Salles’ recent On the Road.

Based on the memoir The Maymor of MacDougal Street by Dave Van Ronk, the film reunites Drive‘s Irene and Standard (Carey Mulligan and Oscar Isaac) as Llewyn and Jean to tell the story of the titular character, a song-songwriter making his way through the 1960s folk scene in New York City. Justin Timberlake, Adam Driver, John Goodman, and Garrett Hedlund join the cast in what seems to be a more intimate film for the brothers. Inside Llewyn Davis should see a preimere at Cannes this spring and will hopefully hit theaters sometime next year. And from this trailer, we’ll definitely be anticipating a speedy release date.