Another film has been added to the New York Film Festival’s slate: Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave.” The film has gotten a stamp of approval from Film Comment Editor-in-Chief and NYFF selection committee member Gavin Smith.
In a statement, Smith says, “Film Comment is delighted to be able to champion 12 Years A Slave at the New York Film Festival. This is a powerful work about a subject that remains vital and I have no doubt that it’s one of the year’s most important films.”
McQueen’s follow-up to his two Michael Fassbender flicks “Hunger” and “Shame” is summed up by the NYFF in the following synopsis:
Steve McQueen’s courageous new film takes an unflinching close-up look at a subject that has rarely, if ever, been confronted with such unvarnished directness in American cinema. The film is based on the memoir of freeman Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), who was abducted in Washington, D.C. in 1841 and delivered to slave trader James Burch (Paul Giamatti), bought by gentleman farmer William Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch) and finally sold to cruel and mentally unbalanced cotton grower Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender), a figure of both horror and pathos who comes to embody the true savagery—and insanity—of slavery. Screenwriter John Ridley, McQueen’s regular cameraman Sean Bobbitt and producer Brad Pitt (who plays Canadian carpenter Samuel Bass in the film’s final section) each make vital contributions to this difficult and troubling film, sure to reignite a dialogue on the most painful chapter in America’s still young life as a nation. Fox Searchlight Pictures will release 12 Years A Slave on October 18.