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The 2009 New York Film Festival | Opening

The 2009 New York Film Festival | Opening

While the 2009 New York Film Festival opened last night with Alain Resnais’ comic charmer Wild Grass, press screenings have been under way for more than a week and I’ve been spending my days as the Walter Reade Theater taking in as much as I can. It is one of the true privileges of my life, to sit among friends and colleagues and engage with the films at The NYFF. I could go on all night; the amazing projection set-up at the Walter Reade, the way in which the slow changing of the season is completed in small increments, each change attached to a day of films, of ideas and images. It really is one of the things in life that never fails to bring me joy. And while I was not among either the hoity or the toity invited to the Opening Night Film and Party (hey, what do you know, another party I’m not invited to attend… *gasp* and *shock*), I did get a chance to see Wild Grass yesterday and to spend a few, exquisitely rare minutes listening to Alain Resnais and Mathieu Amalric talk about the film. A special moment occurred when Resnais, when asked about his role as an innovator in cinema, took a typically humble approach to the question, modestly deflecting the praise before saying

“No… the only one who has a new way of expressing himself in cinema is Arnuad Desplechin.”

…at which point everyone turned to Mathieu Amalric, who smiled and gave a little shrug as if to say “what can I say?”

Who am I to argue with THAT? Resnais is as generous an artist as you could ask for…

The highlight of the festival so far came Thursday, when I had a chance to see Maren Ade’s Everyone Else and Bruno Dumont’s Hadewijch back to back. They couldn’t be more different, nor could they be better. I will be writing about both of them in coming days, as well as a toss of the hat into the ring regarding Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist, so be sure to check in for that. It is a very busy time, but I have cleared time this weekend to focus on my writing, so I hope to get some work done to roll out next week.

In the meantime, I took some pictures (see below) and will continue to do so throughout the festival. If you’re interested in following along at home, just visit my 2009 NYFF Flickr page (or even the modest 2008 edition). I’ll do my best to keep it current and will certainly post a “best of” at the end of the festival. Enjoy a few pictures from the festival so far and get over to Alice Tully Hall for the films.

Alain Resnais, Director, Wild Grass

Mathieu Amalric, Wild Grass

Corneliu Porumboiu, Director, Police, Adjective

Alain Resnais, Director, Wild Grass

NYFF Selection Committee Member Dennis Lim and Lars Von Trier, Director, Antichrist

Film Society Of Lincoln Center’s Richard Peña and Alain Resnais, Director, Wild Grass

Mathieu Amalric, Wild Grass

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