Only three female filmmakers — all European — will be showcased in the 52nd New York Film Festival’s (Sep. 26 – Oct. 12) main slate this year.
Those three directors account for just 10% of the 30 narrative works programmed for the main slate.
The featured films are Alice Rohrwacher’s The Wonders, which won the Grand Prix at the 2014 Cannes; Asia Argento’s coming-of-age film Misunderstood, a selection from the 2014 Cannes’ Un Certain Regard; and Mia Hansen-Love’s Eden, the French’s director’s fourth feature, which centers on the pioneering work of Parisian DJs in the 1990s.
The Lincoln Center-based festival will later announce more films as part of its special events, documentary categories, and Convergence programs.
Descriptions of Eden, Misunderstood, and The Wonders are courtesy of NYFF:
Eden (U.S. Premiere)
Mia Hansen-Løve, France, 2014, DCP, 131m
Mia Hansen-Løve’s fourth feature is a rare achievement: an epically scaled work built on the purely ephemeral, breathlessly floating along on currents of feeling. Eden is based on the experiences of Hansen-Løve’s brother (and co-writer) Sven, who was one of the pioneering DJs of the French rave scene in the early 1990s. Paul (Félix de Givry) and his friends, including Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter (otherwise known as Daft Punk), see visions of ecstasy in garage music—as their raves become more and more popular, they experience a grand democracy of pure bliss extending into infinity, only to dematerialize on contact with changing times and the demands of everyday life. Hansen-Løve’s film plays in the mind as a swirl of beautiful faces and bodies, impulsive movements, rushes of cascading light and color (she worked with a great cameraman, Denis Lenoir), and music, music, and more music. Eden is a film that moves with the heartbeat of youth, always one thought or emotion ahead of itself.
Misunderstood / Incompresa (North American Premiere)
Asia Argento, Italy/France, 2014, DCP, 110m
Italian, French, and English with English subtitles
The imaginative life of a preteen girl in Rome in the 1980s is depicted with love and humor by Asia Argento, who grew up in the same place and time under similar showbiz circumstances. All but ignored by her divorced, narcissistic parents and tormented by her more conventional and manipulative siblings, Aria (a marvelous Giulia Salerno) shuttles between the well-appointed digs of her singer mother (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and actor father (Gabriel Garko), carrying her only companion, a large cat who is more affectionate and comfortable in his own skin than any of the humans in her life. A precociously gifted writer, Aria elaborates her cat-accompanied walks into the sometimes life-threatening adventures that mix with mundane actualities. As a projection of young female subjectivity, Misunderstood is ingenious, direct, and utterly real.
The Wonders / Le meraviglie (North American Premiere)
Alice Rohrwacher, Italy/Switzerland/Germany, 2014, DCP, 110m
Italian, German, and French with English subtitles
Winner of the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival, Alice Rohrwacher’s follow-up to Corpo celeste (NYFF 2011) is a vivid story of teenage yearning and confusion that revolves around a beekeeping family in rural central Italy: German-speaking father (Sam Louwyck), Italian mother (Alba Rohrwacher), four girls. Two unexpected arrivals prove disruptive, especially for the pensive oldest daughter, Gelsomina (Maria Alexandra Lungu). The father takes in a troubled teenage boy as part of a welfare program and a television crew shows up to enlist local farmers in a kitschy celebration of Etruscan culinary traditions (a slyly self-mocking Monica Bellucci plays the bewigged host). The film never announces its themes but has plenty on its mind, not least the ways in which old traditions survive in the modern world, as acts of resistance or repackaged as commodities. Combining a documentary attention to daily ritual with an evocative atmosphere of mystery, The Wonders conjures a richly concrete world that is nonetheless subject to the magical thinking of adolescence.
See the full main lineup at NYFF 2014 here.