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nyff: dargis diatribe

nyff: dargis diatribe

While Manohla Dargis begins with praise for the new Lynch film in her latest fest dispatch (“At the New York Film Festival, a Global Glimpse of the State of the Cinema”), she ends with compelling comments about indie movies, foreign language films in America and in particular, the programming of the New York Film Festival. (I’m definitely a Dargis fan – even if I often completely disagree with her…but reading her latest notebook reminds me that she’s often at her absolute best when reporting from an international film festival, tying it all together…):

The public’s appetite for serious work of the sort that has defined the New York Film Festival since its inception in 1963 has diminished, at least in theatrical terms…that said, the vanguard of fiercely engaged cinephiles blogging online about the latest in Korean cinema suggests that a new generation of passionate filmgoers could emerge with more nurturing…

It has always been the case that some good films, like Jia Zhang-ke’s “Dong” and Tsai Ming-Liang’s “I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone,” both of which showed at recent festivals, don’t make it into the New York lineup. Festival programming is always a matter of timing, taste, desperation, politics and logistics, not to mention worthiness. But if the New York Film Festival is going to remain relevant in these difficult movie times, it needs to work harder to secure the best, and it needs to nurture a new audience, not just dine out on the faithful. Whether it scales up or retains its modest proportions, it needs to embrace the very exclusivity that makes it occasionally maddening and generally indispensable.

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