The Film Society of Lincoln Center, which is responsible for the highly regarded New York Film Festival, also peppers the entire calendar year with exciting mini-festivals, including in February, their Film Comment Selects Festival built around oddball choices from the Society’s Film Comment magazine. This year’s lineup emphasizes its eclectic collection of varying tastes within the magazine, with editors and contributors selecting a wide array of movies, including new features by Takashi Miike, Michel Gondry, Ben Wheatley, and a retrospective comprised of two oddball Howard Zieff movies.
The festival opens with the New York premiere of “Simon Killer,” the thriller from “Afterschool” writer/director Antonio Campos, about a psychopath (Brady Corbet) in Paris who becomes obsessed with a prostitute, and closes with the U.S. premiere of “The We and the I,” an experimentally free-wheeling new Michel Gondry movie that was shot entirely on a school bus. As long as the Green Hornet isn’t involved, we’ll be happy.
Other highlights of the ten-day festival include living legend (literally – dude is 104 years old) Manoel de Oliveira’s “Gebo and the Shadow”; Wu Nien-jen’s 1994 Taiwanese period drama “A Borrowed Life”; the U.S. premiere of controversial Swedish true story “Call Girl”; the U.S. premiere of the new film by Marco Bellocchio (starring Isabelle Huppert, no less), “Dormant Beauty”; retrospective screenings of “Electra Glide in Blue“; and Ingmar Bergman’s rarely screened, never-released-on-DVD obscurity “From the Life of the Marionettes” (which kind of sounds like a must-view).
Also on deck is a Howard Zieff double feature, which features “Hearts of the West” and the little-known “Slither” (written by genre powerhouse W.D. Richter); the New York premiere of scary-ass Mexican movie “Here Comes the Devil”; Sergei Loznitsa’s follow up to “My Joy,” “In the Fog”; the awkwardly titled new Takashi Miike thriller “Lesson of the Evil”; Hong Kong action movie “Motorway”; and Japanese miniseries/endurance test “Penance.” Additionally, the darkly comic “Sightseers” from “Kill List” mastermind Ben Wheatley will make its New York premiere, and “Stemple Pass,” about the imagined life of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, from director James Benning, will make its U.S. premiere.
Film Comment magazine’s editor-in-chief Gavin Smith said, “As in years past, this edition of Film Comment Selects lineup promises a wealth of riches and surprises – with singular cinematic voices like Ingmar Bergman, Michel Gondry, Takashi Miike, and Ben Wheatley as well as the latest from filmmakers as wide-ranging as Antonio Campos and Manoel de Oliveira. Add to that, a revival of ‘Electra Glide in Blue’ and a double feature by underrated Seventies comedy director Howard Zieff and once again, audiences can expect a dynamic and unpredictable mix of films that Film Comment Selects has become known for.”
The festival runs from February 18– 28 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s beautiful new Elinor Murnoe Film Center. More information (and tickets) can be found at the official website – www.FilmLinc.com. We’ll see you there!