After a 2020 hiatus, New York Film Festival is returning for in-person screenings across the city.
Opening this Saturday, 24th of September, films will be screening at the festival’s usual spot at Lincoln Center, but in a NYFF first, attendees will also be able to catch screenings at Anthology Film Archives, Maysles Documentary Center, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. In another first, all festival attendees (including the filmmakers themselves) must be fully vaccinated and wear masks during screenings.
As you’d expect for a 17-day festival in NYC, the lineup is great, so good lucking narrowing down your top picks on the lineup here. Writing this from lockdown, I can’t fathom what it’d be like to grab a box of Kool Mints and sit in the buttery, popcorn red seats of a cinema once more, but if I was lucky enough to be in New York City from Saturday the 24th of September until Sunday the 10th of October, here’s a few films I’d drop by and check out:
Joaquin Phoenix plays Johnny, a kindhearted radio journalist taking care of his sister’s troubled young son Mike Mills’s latest film—another warm, insightful, and gratifyingly askew portrait of American family life.
Adding to his back-catalogue of portraits of economic hardship within marginalized pockets of the US, director Sean Baker (Florida Project, Tangerine) trains his restless camera on Mikey, a wildly narcissistic former porn star who has returned from LA. to his depressed, post-industrial hometown of Texas City.
The Worst Person in the World
Norwegian director Joachim Trier will catapult you into the world of a spellbinding protagonist yet: Julie (Renate Reinsve), a med-school dropout navigating her twenties and juggling emotionally heavy relationships with two very different men.
The Velvet Undergound
Combining contemporary interviews and archival documentation of The Velvet Underground with a trove of avant-garde film from their era, Todd Haynes constructs a vibrant cinematic collage that is as much about New York of the ’60s and ’70s as it is about the rise and fall of the seminal band. No better place to catch this one than New York Film Festival.
The French Dispatch
Wes Anderson’s latest deadpan whimsy is a love letter to journalists, set in an outpost of an American newspaper in a fictional 20th-century French city, and bringing to life a collection of stories and characters inspired by the New Yorker.
I’ll watch any Pedro Almodóvar and Penelope Cruz film, and Parallel Mothers is no excpetion. Based on the stories of two women, a generation apart, who find themselves inextricably linked by their brief time together in a maternity ward and their ties to a deep trauma in Spanish history.
The Tragedy of Macbeth
The Tragedy of Macbeth is based on Shakespeare’s play of the same name, starring Denzel Washington as the man who would be king and an effortlessly Machiavellian Frances McDormand as his Lady. Fun fact: it’s also the first film directed by one of the Coen brothers without the other’s involvement.
Unclenching the Fists
Kira Kovalenko won the ‘Un Certain Regard’ prize at Cannes for this vivid story of one woman’s desperate, almost bestial need to escape from her suffocating family life in North Ossetia, in the Caucasus region of Southern Russia.