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New York Film Fest Lands New Films from Paul Thomas Anderson, Noah Baumbach and More

New York Film Fest Lands New Films from Paul Thomas Anderson, Noah Baumbach and More

The New York Film Festival (September 25-October 11) has more than a few surprises up its sleeve this year as the fest’s Special Events and Revivals programs unveil. It’s how the festival expands its narrow main selection, making room for documentaries and other special programming. (We still don’t understand why Hungarian Oscar entry “Son of Saul” (Sony Pictures Classics) didn’t make it into the mainbar. )

Making its North American premiere in the Special Events section after a Venice debut is Noah Baumbach and
Jake Paltrow’s film portrait “De Palma,” chronicling director Brian De
Palma’s six-decade-long career and his personal life and views on filmmaking. Also returning to NYFF after debuting “Inherent Vice” at the fest last year, friend of fest director Kent Jones Paul Thomas Anderson will present his first documentary, “Junun,” following his collaborating composer Jonny Greenwood’s journey to India to record an album with Israeli musician Shye Ben Tzur.

READ MORE: What Did the New York Film Festival Get?

Performance artist and avant-garde musician Laurie Anderson, who designed this year’s poster, will screen her first feature in 30 years, a personal essay titled “Heart of a Dog,” an ode to her late, great finger-painting and piano-playing dog, which will world premiere in Toronto.

The Special Events lineup also includes László Nemes’ Cannes winner “Son of Saul,” as this year’s Film Comments Presents selection. Another European director, Greek filmmaker Athina Rachel Tsangari, will also present her new film “Chevalier” on the heels of Locarno, Sarajevo and TIFF premieres.

And the riches just keep pouring out. NYFF will also present a 15th anniversary screening of the Coens’ “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” Meanwhile, in the Revivals section, 11 restorations from Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation will screen, including De Palma’s “Blow Out,” Ousmane Sembene’s “Black Girl,” Hou Hsiao-hsien’s “The Boys from Fengkuei,” Ernst Lubitsch’s “Heaven Can Wait” (in a new 35mm print), Lino Brocka’s “Insiang,” John Ford’s “The Long Voyage Home,” Marcel Ophüls’ “The Memory of Justice” and Luchino Visconti’s “Rocco and His Brothers.”

Herewith NYFF’s Special Events and Revivals slates, with language courtesy of the festival:

Special Events

Filmmaker in Residence Screening:
Chevalier
Athina Rachel Tsangari, Greece, 2015,
DCP, 104m

Greek with English subtitles
Six men set out on the Aegean Sea aboard a yacht, and before long, male
bonding and one-upmanship give way to a loosely defined yet hotly
contested competition to determine which of them is “the best in
general.” As the games and trials grow more elaborate and
absurd—everything is up for judgment, from sleeping positions to
cholesterol levels to furniture-assembly skills—insecurities emerge and
power relations shift. As in her 2010 breakthrough, Attenberg, Athina Rachel Tsangari,
the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s 2015 Filmmaker in Residence,
balances anthropological precision with a wry and wholly original sense
of humor. Impeccably staged, crisply photographed, and buoyed by
eclectic soundtrack choices (Petula Clark, Mark Lanegan), this maritime
psychodrama becomes both funnier and richer in its implications as it
progresses. What begins as a lampoon of bourgeois machismo and male
anxiety develops into an incisive allegory for the state of
contemporary Greece, and leaves a final impression as an empathetic,
razor-sharp study of human nature itself. The Filmmaker in Residence program was
launched in 2013 by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and
Jaeger-LeCoultre as an annual initiative designed to support filmmakers
at an early stage in the creative process against the backdrop of New
York City and the New York Film Festival (NYFF). U.S. Premiere

De Palma
Noah Baumbach & Jake Paltrow, USA,
2015, DCP, 107m
Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow’s fleet and bountiful portrait covers
the career of the number one iconoclast of American cinema, the man who
gave us Carrie, Dressed to Kill, Blow
Out, and Carlito’s Way.
Their film moves at the speed of De Palma’s thought (and sometimes
works in subtle, witty counterpoint) as he goes title by title,
covering his life from science nerd to New Hollywood bad boy to grand
old man, and describes his ever-shifting position in this thing we call
the movie business. Deceptively simple, De Palma is finally many things at
once. It is a film about the craft of filmmaking—how it’s practiced and
how it can be so easily distorted and debased. It’s an insightful and
often hilarious tour through American moviemaking from the 1960s to the
present, and a primer on how movies are made and unmade. And it’s a
surprising, lively, and unexpectedly moving portrait of a great,
irascible, unapologetic, and uncompromising New York artist. In conjunction with this film, we will
also be showing De Palma’s masterpiece Blow Out. North American Premiere

Heart of a Dog
Laurie Anderson, USA/France, 2015,
DCP, 75m
In Laurie Anderson’s plainspoken all-American
observational-autobiographical art, voices and harmonies and rhythms
and images are juxtaposed and layered, metaphors are generated, and the
mind of the viewer/listener is sent spinning into the stratosphere.
It’s been nine years since her last film and almost 30 since her last
feature. Heart
of a Dog is her response to a commission from Arte, a work of
braided joy and heartbreak and remembering and forgetting, at the heart
of which is a lament for her late beloved piano-playing and
finger-painting dog Lolabelle. Life in the neighborhood—downtown New
York after 9/11… the archiving of surveillance records in
ziggurat-like structures… Lolabelle’s passage through the bardo…
recollections of deaths and near-deaths, terrors personal and global,
sad goodbyes and funny ones, dreams and imagined flights… acceptance: Heart of a Dog is as immediate as
a paragraph by Kerouac, as disarmingly playful as a Cole Porter melody,
as rhapsodically composed as a poem by Whitman, and a thing of rare
beauty.

Junun
Paul Thomas Anderson, USA, 2015,
English and Indian, DCP, 54m
English, Hindu, Hebrew, and Urdu with
English subtitles
Earlier this year, Paul Thomas Anderson joined his close friend and
collaborator Jonny Greenwood on a trip to Rajasthan in northwest India,
where they were hosted by the Maharaja of Jodhpur, and he brought his
camera with him. Their destination was the 15th-century Mehrangarh
Fort, where Greenwood (with the help of Radiohead engineer Nigel
Godrich) was recording an album with Israeli composer Shye Ben Tzur and
an amazing group of musicians: Aamir Bhiyani, Soheb Bhiyani, Ajaj
Damami, Sabir Damami, Hazmat, and Bhanwaru Khan on brass; Ehtisham Khan
Ajmeri, Nihal Khan, Nathu Lal Solanki, Narsi Lal Solanki, and Chugge
Khan on percussion; Zaki Ali Qawwal, Zakir Ali Qawwal, Afshana Khan,
Razia Sultan, Gufran Ali, and Shazib Ali on vocals; and Dara Khan and
Asin Khan on strings. The finished film, just under an hour, is pure
magic. Junun lives and breathes music, music-making, and the close
camaraderie of artistic collaboration. It’s a lovely impressionistic
mosaic and a one-of-a-kind sonic experience: the music will blow your
mind. World Premiere

Anniversary Screening:
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Joel and Ethan Coen, 2000, USA, DCP,
107m
This year marks the 15th anniversary of Joel and Ethan Coen’s beloved
roots-musical fantasia, “based upon The
Odyssey, by Homer,” about three escaped convicts (George
Clooney, Tim Blake Nelson, and John Turturro) trying to get back home
in the rural South of the 1930s. Bigger than life, endlessly
surprising, eye-popping (“they wanted it to look like an old
hand-tinted picture,” said DP Roger Deakins), and as giddily and
defiantly unclassifiable as all other Coen films, O Brother, Where Art Thou? is,
among many other things, a celebration of American music. With a score
curated and produced by T-Bone Burnett, the movie sings with voices and
sounds of some of the best musicians in the country, including Ralph
Stanley, the Fairfield Four, Alison Krauss, John Hartford, Emmylou
Harris, and Gillian Welch, and the melodies of classics like “Big Rock
Candy Mountain,” “I’ll Fly Away,” and the film’s touchstone, “Man of
Constant Sorrow.” Cast members, musical guests, and Joel and Ethan Coen
will be on hand. Bring your instrument! A Touchstone Pictures and
Universal Pictures release.

Film Comment Presents:
Son of Saul
László Nemes, Hungary, 2015, 35mm, 107m
Hungarian and German with English
subtitles
A film that looks into the abyss, this shattering portrait of the
horror of Auschwitz follows Saul (Géza Röhrig), a Sonderkommando tasked with
delivering his fellow Jews to the gas chamber. Determined to give a
young boy a proper Jewish burial, Saul descends through the death
camp’s circles of Hell, while a rebellion brews among the prisoners. A
bombshell debut from director and co-writer László Nemes, Son of Saul is an utterly
harrowing, ultra-immersive experience, and not for the fainthearted.
With undeniably virtuoso plan-séquence
camerawork in the mode of Nemes’s teacher Béla Tarr, this startling
film represents a new benchmark in the historic cinematic depictions of
the Holocaust. A deeply troubling work, sure to be one of the year’s
most controversial films. A Sony Picture Classics release.

Revivals

Blow Out
Brian De Palma, USA, 1981, 35mm, 107m
One of Brian De Palma’s greatest films and one of the great American
films of the 1980s, Blow Out
is such a hallucinatory, emotionally and visually commanding experience
that the term “thriller” seems insufficient. De Palma takes a variety
of elements—the Kennedy assassination; Chappaquiddick; Antonioni’s Blow-Up; the slasher genre that was
then in full flower; elements of Detective Bob Leuci’s experiences
working undercover for the Knapp Commission; the harshness and sadness
of American life; and, as ever, Hitchcock’s Vertigo—and swirls and mixes them
into a film that builds to a truly shattering conclusion. With John
Travolta, in what is undoubtedly his greatest performance, as the sound
man for low-budget movies who accidentally records a murder; Nancy
Allen, absolutely heartbreaking, as the girl caught in the middle; John
Lithgow as the hired killer; and De Palma stalwart Dennis Franz as the
world’s biggest sleaze. This was the second of three collaborations
between De Palma and the master DP Vilmos Zsigmond. MGM Home
Entertainment.

Ran
Akira Kurosawa, Japan/France, 1985,
DCP, 160m
Japanese with English subtitles
The 1985 New York Film Festival opened with Akira Kurosawa’s
astonishing medieval epic, inspired by the life of Mori Motonari, a
16th-century warlord with three sons. It was only after he began
writing that the filmmaker started to see parallels with King Lear. It took a decade for
Kurosawa to bring his grand conception to the screen—he actually
painted storyboards of every shot along the way, and made another great
film, Kagemusha, as a dry
run. The finished work he eventually gave us was, to put it mildly, a
mind-blowing experience. Tatsuya Nakadai is the warlord, Akira Terao,
Jinpachi Nezu, and Daisuke Ryu are his sons, Mieko Harada is the
terrifying Lady Kaede, the score is by Toru Takemitsu, but the dominant
force looming over every single element of this film, down to the
smallest detail, is Kurosawa himself. The color palette of Ran is unlike that of any other
movie made before or since, as you’ll see in this newly restored
version. Restoration by StudioCanal
with the participation of Kadokawa Pictures. A Rialto Films
release.

A Touch of Zen
King Hu, Hong Kong, 1971/75, DCP, 200m
Mandarin with English subtitles
When it comes to the wuxia
film, all roads lead back to the great King Hu: supreme fantasist, Ming
dynasty scholar, and incomparable artist. For years, Hu labored on his
own, creating one exquisitely crafted film after another (with
astonishing pre-CGI visual effects), elevating the martial-arts genre
to unparalleled heights and, as the film critic and producer Peggy
Chiao noted in her obituary for Hu, single-handedly introducing Chinese
cinema to the rest of the world. Hu’s three-years-in-the-making
masterpiece, A Touch of Zen,
was released in truncated form in Hong Kong in 1971 and yanked from
theaters after a week. A close-to-complete version was constructed by
Hu and shown at the 1975 Cannes Film Festival, where Hu won a grand
prize for technical achievement (which earned King Hu an apology from
his studio heads). This beautiful restoration of A Touch of Zen was
presented at this year’s edition of Cannes, 40 years after the film’s
first unveiling to Western eyes. Restored
in 4K by L’Immagine Ritrovata, with original materials provided by the
Taiwan Film Institute. A Janus Films release.

Visit, or Memories and Confessions
Manoel de Oliveira, Portugal, 1982,
35mm, 73m
Portuguese with English subtitles
The late, great Manoel de Oliveira stipulated that this film—made in
1982—be screened publicly only after his death. One of the Portuguese
master’s most exquisite and moving films, and certainly his most
personal, Visit assumes the
rare form of an auto-elegy. A prowling camera finds Oliveira, who died
at 106 this past April, in the Porto house where he had lived for four
decades and that he is preparing to leave due to mounting debts. He
addresses the audience directly, setting the film’s droll, convivial
tone, and discusses a wide range of topics (family history, cinema,
architecture), shares home movies, and reenacts his run-in with the
military dictatorship. Oliveira’s improbable career took the form of a
long goodbye, but this actual farewell is no less touching in its
simplicity and lucidity. He made the film at age 73, presumably
expecting he was near the end of his life. He would in fact live
another 33 years and make another 25 or so films, some of them among
his greatest, in an extended twilight that was also an artistic prime
unlike any other. An Instituto Portugues de Cinema release.

Celebrating 25 Years of The Film
Foundation

This year marks the 25th anniversary of The Film Foundation. Following
his successful campaign in the early ’80s to develop a more durable
color film stock, Martin Scorsese founded the organization to raise
awareness of the fragility of film and to create a genuine
consciousness of film preservation. Since its inception in 1990, TFF
has partnered with archives, studios, and labs around the world to
restore over 700 films. We’re presenting seven of their newest
restorations.

Black Girl / La Noire de…
Ousmane Sembene, France/Senegal, 1965,
DCP, 65m
French with English subtitles
Ousmane Sembene’s first feature—really, the movie that opened the way
for African cinema in the West—is by turns tough, swift, and true in
its aim. A young woman (Mbissine Thérèse Diop) leaves Senegal with
dreams of a more carefree and glamorous existence in France, where she
procures a job as a live-in maid and nanny for a young couple in the
French Riviera. She is gradually deadened by the endless routines and
tasks and rhythms of life in the tiny apartment, and by the
dissatisfactions felt by the husband and wife, which they project onto
their “black girl.” Sembene’s “perfect short story,” wrote Manny
Farber, naming it as his movie of 1969, “is unlike anything in the film
library: translucent and no tricks, amazingly pure, but spiritualized.”
A formative and eye-opening work, and one of Sembene’s finest. Restored by The Film Foundation’s World
Cinema Project in collaboration with the Sembene Estate, Institut
National de l’Audiovisuel, INA, Eclair laboratories, and Centre
National de Cinématographie. Restoration carried out at Cineteca di
Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata Laboratory. A Janus Films release.

The Boys from Fengkuei
Hou Hsiao-hsien, Taiwan, 1983, DCP,
101m
Mandarin with English subtitles
This “group portrait of four laddish adolescents on the razzle in
Kaohsiung as they approach the onset of adult life” (Tony Rayns) is Hou
Hsiao-hsien’s fourth film, but he has long considered it to be the real
beginning of his career as a moviemaker. “I had very intense feelings
at the time,” Hou told Sam Ho, “and I think the film has an intense
energy. An artist’s early work might be lacking in craft but, at the
same time, be very powerful, very direct. Later, when I wanted to
return to that initial intensity, I no longer could.” In the tradition
of Fellini’s I Vitelloni, The Boys
from Fengkuei is a deeply personal look back at the director’s
own adolescence—at the boredom of living in the middle of nowhere and
the overwhelming need to get up and move, and get out and away to the
big city. A glorious young-man’s film, and the first great work of the
Taiwanese New Wave. Restoration by
the Cineteca di Bologna. A Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique
release.

Heaven Can Wait
Ernst Lubitsch, USA, 1943, 35mm, 112m
The legendary Ernst Lubitsch’s portrait of a turn-of-the-century
hedonist extraordinaire begins at the gate of hell—not Dante’s Inferno
but a handsome art-deco waiting room, where a courtly Satan (Laird
Cregar) conducts an admission interview with the recently deceased
Henry Van Cleve (Don Ameche). Henry’s leisurely stroll through the past
is a very funny comedy of manners and a lovely rendering of Old New
York. Lubitsch’s writing with Samson Raphaelson — Satan: “I presume
your funeral was satisfactory.” Henry: “Well, there was a lot of
crying, so I believe everybody had a good time.”—and his meticulous
direction are all of a piece. The film’s glorious, candy-box
Technicolor has now been beautifully restored by Schawn Belston and his
team at 20th Century Fox, just in time for the 100th Anniversary of the
Fox Film Corporation. With Gene Tierney, Louis Calhern, Eugene
Pallette, Marjorie Main, and Charles Coburn as Henry’s grandfather and
fellow black sheep. Restored by 20th
Century Fox in collaboration with the Academy Film Archive and The Film
Foundation. A 20th Century Fox release.

Insiang
Lino Brocka, Philippines, 1976, DCP,
95m
Tagalog and Filipino with English
subtitles
In Lino Brocka’s searing 1976 melodrama (one could use the same
adjective to describe all of
his melodramas), the eponymous heroine, played by Hilda Koronel, is
raped by her mother’s boyfriend, then blamed for provoking the act and
forced out of her own home. “Insiang
is, first and foremost, a character analysis,” wrote the director. “I
need this character to recreate the ‘violence’ stemming from urban
overpopulation, to show the annihilation of a human being, the loss of
human dignity caused by the physical and social environment…” The
people in Brocka’s films live in dire circumstances, offset by their
extreme vitality and their electrically charged encounters. Insiang, a failure on its home
ground but the first film from the Philippines to be invited to Cannes,
is one of its director’s best. It is also the second of Brocka’s works
to be restored by the World Cinema Project. With Mona Lisa as Insiang’s
mother. Restored in 2015 by Cineteca
di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata. Restoration funding provided by The
Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project and the Film Development Council
of the Philippines. A Film Foundation release.

The Long Voyage Home
John Ford, USA, 1940, DCP, 105m
Independently produced by Walter Wanger, John Ford’s soulful,
heartbreaking film is based on four Eugene O’Neill one-acts about life
at sea (the playwright himself loved the movie so much that he acquired
his own 16mm print). Ford, working with his screenwriter Dudley Nichols
and his brilliant cameraman Gregg Toland (they had just collaborated on
The Grapes of Wrath), updates
the plays to World War II and condenses the action, creating tonal
variations on the aching loneliness of life at sea and the longing for
home. In the words of Ford biographer Joseph McBride, the director and
his DP “broke all the rules of conventional Hollywood cinematography”
and created “a doom-laden mood with deep pools of light and
shadow”—seen to full advantage in this beautiful restoration. The Long Voyage Home is a true
ensemble piece featuring many of the actors that comprised Ford’s
“stock company,” including Thomas Mitchell, Barry Fitzgerald and his
brother Arthur Shields, John Qualen, and, unforgettably, John Wayne as
the Swedish sailor Ole. Restored by
the UCLA Film & Television Archive. Restoration funding provided by
the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and The Film Foundation.
A Westchester Films and Shout! Factory release.

The Memory of Justice
Marcel Ophüls, UK/USA/France/Germany,
1976, DCP, 278m
French with English subtitles
The third of Marcel Ophüls’ monumental inquiries into the questions of
individual and collective guilt fueling the calamities of war and
genocide, The Memory of Justice examines
the defining tragedies of the Western world in the second half of the
20th century, from the Nuremberg trials through the French-Algerian war
to the disaster of Vietnam, building from a vast range of interviews,
from Telford Taylor (Counsel for the Prosecution at Nuremberg, later a
harsh critic of our escalating involvement in Vietnam) to Nazi
architect Albert Speer to Daniel Ellsberg and Joan Baez. As Vincent
Canby wrote in The New York Times when
The Memory of Justice was
screened at the 1976 New York Film Festival, Ophüls’ film “expands the
possibilities of the documentary motion picture in such a way that all
future films of this sort will be compared to it.” Seldom seen since
its premiere and then only in rare 16mm prints, the film has now been
painstakingly restored. Restored by
the Academy Film Archive in association with Paramount Pictures and The
Film Foundation. Restoration funding provided by The Material World
Charitable Foundation, Righteous Persons Foundation, and The Film
Foundation. A Film Foundation release.

Rocco and His Brothers
Luchino Visconti, Italy/France, 1960,
DCP, 177m
Italian with English subtitles
Luchino Visconti’s rich and expansive masterpiece, the story of a
mother and her grown sons who head north from Lucania in search of work
and new lives, has an emotional intensity and a tragic grandeur matched
by few other films. Visconti turned to Giovanni Testori, Thomas Mann,
Dostoyevsky, and Arthur Miller for inspiration, and he achieved an
truly epic sweep: in one beautifully realized scene after another, we
observe the tragic progress of a tightly knit family coming apart, one
frayed thread at a time. Alain Delon is Rocco, Renato Salvatori is his
brother Simone, Annie Girardot is the woman who comes between them, and
Katina Paxinou is the matriarch, Rosaria. Rocco and His Brothers, one of the great and defining films of its
era, has now been beautifully restored, and Giuseppe Rotunno’s
black-and-white images are once again as pearly and lustrous as they
were meant to be. Restored by
Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata in association with Titanus,
TF1 Droits Audiovisuels, and The Film Foundation. Restoration funding
provided by Gucci and The Film Foundation. A Milestone Film
release.

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