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The New York Film Festival is in full swing

The New York Film Festival is in full swing

Searching for that elusive electric feel? Look no further.

Here is a chronicle of films I’ve seen so far, with attendant directors.

09-15-08: I post a blog entry directly from the Walter Reade Theater, just minutes after the press screening and conference for “The Class” and update it for “Wendy and Lucy” … and then the amazing “Hunger,” which is a jarring combination of extreme activism, body horror, and the vision of a fine artist.

09-16-08: My post is included on the Film Society blog.

09-18-08: At HBO for a screening of “24 City,” a film that captures Beijing in transition. I think of Walker Evans as I watch the living portraits of factory workers, whose plant will be converted into high-rise luxury apartments. The best Zhanke film yet.

09-25-08: Rush to the press conference for “Hunger.” A very exciting Q&A, with a super articulate director. Rush down to Review 1 for non-NYFF “Religulous” and find that many of my compadres have made the same trek.

Director Steve McQueen discusses “Hunger” as producer Robin Gutch looks on

09-26-08: “I’m Gonna Explode” is fantastic and the two young stars do a fine job of portraying teen angst. I recognize actor Daniel Giménez Cacho, who plays the father of the boy, as the lead in “Sólo Con Tu Pareja.” I interviewed director Alfonso Cuarón for that film, which was his first feature.

Director Gerardo Naranjo of “I’m Gonna Explode,” bookended by cast members Maria Deschamps and Daniel Giménez Cacho

09-28-08: A dialogue with Jia Zhangke about his entire oeuvre, in the Kaplan Penthouse above the Walter Reade. He states that his quest, his inquiry is “What is modernity?” I find that every part of his style, including his his palette, speaks to old and new China. His short “Cry Me a River” shown before “Wendy an Lucy” is a gem.

Jia Zhangke dialogues

09-29-08: Love the first couple of hours of “Che.” Superlative filmmaking and a tour de force performance by Benicio Del Toro. Montage of styles makes the history lesson fun. After the intermission, the film seems to lose steam. Maybe it’s me losing steam. Not so fun. Then a palpable excitement in the air for director Steven Soderbergh. I sit in the second row of the Zeigfield, but every photo I take is too dark to post.

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