The 53rd New York Film Festival
(September 25 – October 11, 2015) is continuing to add more sidebar programming.
NYFF Director of Programming Kent Jones will conduct this year’s master class, On Cinema, with Taiwan master auteur Hou Hsiao-hsien, on Saturday, October 10. Hou is making a rare visit to New York to accompany his “The Assassin” screening at NYFF53. In the Revivals section, the festival will also present his 1983 Taiwanese New Wave drama, “The Boys from Fengkuei.”
This year’s Directors Dialogues pairs three filmmakers (all with slots in the Mainbar) with a NYFF selection committee member. This year’s lineup will feature Jia Zhangke (“Mountains May Depart”) on Tuesday, September 29; Michael Moore (“Where To Invade Next”) on Sunday, October 4; and Todd Haynes (“Carol”) on Saturday, October 10.
The NYFF Shorts
Programs are divvied into four categories: Animation, International, New York and Horror.
More details on these sidebars (provided by the NYFF) are below:
Hou Hsiao-hsien directed his first film in 1980, after years of assisting and writing for other filmmakers. Three years later, he made the autobiographical The Boys from Fengkuei, which he considers to be the real beginning of his work as an artist in cinema. From there, he went on to create several of the defining works of the Taiwanese New Wave, one of the greatest moments in the cinema of the last decades, and then to make one astonishing film after another. With every new movie from The Puppetmaster (NYFF 1993) on, Hou redefined the very idea of what a movie was, for himself and for the rest of us. Immersive, grounded in history and change but tuned to the smallest nuances of gesture, light, color, and atmosphere, every individual Hou film arrives as a shock. And his new film The Assassin, his first in eight years, is no exception: audiences in Cannes were left open-mouthed. It’s been a long time since Hou has been in New York, and we’re very pleased that this true master accepted our invitation to discuss some of the movies that have marked him in his life as a filmmaker.
Saturday, October 10, 3:30pm
If, hundreds of years from now, anyone wanted to know what it was like to be alive at this moment—what life felt like and what changes were occurring and the ways in which they affected us as individuals—they could get the whole picture from watching the films of Jia Zhangke. From the moment he burst on the scene with Xiao Wu in the late ’90s, this artist has given us a river of films, made with a team of regular collaborators (including his wife and principal actress Zhao Tao and his cinematographer Yu Lik-wai), each film as pungently human but wide in scope as a Breugel canvas. The world itself is a character in Jia’s films, urging the characters on and informing the speed of life. We’ve shown many of his movies in the NYFF over the years, from Platform in 2000 on, and we’re proud to have him here with his newest movie, Mountains May Depart, and we’re very happy that he’s agreed to join us for a talk about his extraordinary body of work.
Tuesday, September 29, 6:00pm
“Democracy is not a spectator sport, it’s a participatory event,” said Michael Moore at a 2009 press conference. “If we don’t participate in it, it ceases to be a democracy.” Moore has been an active participant since his childhood in Flint, Michigan, where he was raised in a union family—his uncle was actually a UAW founder and a participant in the great General Motors sit-down strike of 1936. In 1989, Moore’s participation took the form of a film called Roger & Me (NYFF 1989), a spirited, funny, white-hot attack on GM, which had by then moved most of their jobs out of the country and devastated the once-thriving region, a scenario that was repeated many times throughout the country. In the years since, Moore has been launching brilliantly planned comic attacks on the NRA and the gun industry (Bowling for Columbine), the American response to 9/11 (Fahrenheit 9/11), the health-care industry (Sicko), capitalism itself (Capitalism: A Love Story), and, with his new film Where To Invade Next, the divide between America’s lofty self-image and the less impressive reality. We’re happy to have him back at the NYFF for this discussion about his movies.
Sunday, October 4, 3:00pm
A genuinely independent filmmaker, Todd Haynes has an impressive body of work that is grounded in the pressures of conformity, bearing down on individuals and sometimes resulting in illness (Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story, Safe) or other forms of entrapment (Far from Heaven, Mildred Pierce), sometimes in transcendence (Velvet Goldmine, I’m Not There). With Carol, his remarkable new adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt, Haynes has given us a delicately nuanced work about the slowly evolving romance between two women in 1950s America, and found a reverberant emotionalism with his actors (Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara) and his cinematographer (the great Ed Lachman) that is a wonder to behold. We’re excited to have this singular artist joining us for a discussion about his work.
Saturday, October 10, 12:00pm
NYFF SHORTS PROGRAM 1: INTERNATIONAL (TRT: 85M)
Featuring films by a selection of new talents, this year’s lineup of shorts includes lyrical work from Australia and Chile, a pair of Buenos Aires–set romps from Argentine co-productions, and a bittersweet goodbye story from Austria. Programmed by Sarah Mankoff.
La Novia de Frankenstein
Agostina Gálvez & Francisco Lezama, Portugal/Argentina, 2015, DCP, 13m
Spanish with English subtitles
Ivana works for an agency that rents out apartments out to English-speaking tourists, but her sticky finger side-hustle suggests self-employment might be more her style. North American Premiere
David Easteal, Australia, 2015, DCP, 13m
A young man goes door to door in search of an automotive apprenticeship, and spending his free time kicking up dust doing donuts with his buddies in the outskirts of Melbourne. North American Premiere
Rafael Haider, Austria, 2015, DCP, 22m
German with English subtitles
When his donkey gets sick, an old farmer is hesitant to betray his fondness for the animal to his matter-of-fact wife who insists on putting the donkey down.
Marea de Tierra
Manuela Martelli & Amirah Tajdin, Chile/France, 2015, DCP, 15m
Spanish with English subtitles
On the southern Chilean archipelago of Chiloe, a lovelorn teenage girl on vacation swaps tales of heartbreak with a group of local women who gather seaweed. North American Premiere
The Mad Half Hour
Leonardo Brzezicki, Argentina/Denmark, 2015, DCP, 22m
Juan suddenly balks at commitment, prompting his boyfriend to lead him on a romantic night of wandering city streets. Named for the time of day when house cats go inexplicably wild. North American Premiere
NYFF SHORTS PROGRAM 2: HORROR (TRT: 93M)
In a program brand-new to the NYFF focusing on the best in genre film—horror, thrillers, sci-fi, twisted noir, and fantasy shorts from around the world—this handful of tales from the dark side features a period piece of terror in distant lands from the co-director of Persepolis, a haunted psyche that reveals itself in very strange ways, a lesson in being bad, horror-film love turned life-threatening, and some silent but deadly revenge. Programmed by Laura Kern.
Territory / Territoire
Vincent Paronnaud, France, 2014, DCP, 22m
French with English subtitles
A sheepherder and his trusty dog witness unspeakable horrors in a remote valley of the French Pyrenees in 1957.
We Wanted More
Stephen Dunn, Canada, 2013, DCP, 16m
Laryngitis may be a singer’s worst nightmare, but battling deep anxieties about life’s sacrifices can be even more terrifying.
Percival Argüero Mendoza, Mexico, 2015, DCP, 19m
Spanish with English subtitles
Upon viewing the mysterious, bone-chilling titular film, a young woman’s horror obsession—taken far from seriously by her boyfriend—blends dangerously with reality. U.S. Premiere
How to Be a Villain
Helen O’Hanlon, UK, 2015, DCP, 16m
In this delightfully demented homage to the golden days of monster movies, Supervillain (a perfect Terence Harvey) leads us on a thrilling guided tour of the ways of evil.
Andrei Cretulescu, Romania, 2015, DCP, 20m
One dark night, a no-nonsense blonde carries out a mission of brutal vengeance.
NYFF SHORTS PROGRAM 3: ANIMATION (TRT: 56M)
An eclectic mix of styles and themes, this program of animated shorts brings New York audiences a selection of stunning recent works from around the globe. Please note: this program is not for children! Programmed by Matt Bolish and Sarah Mankoff.
Laura Harrison, USA, 2015, HDCAM, 8m
Drug-addict Lorraine and her boyfriend Caesar are having a nightmarish 24 hours until Lorraine calls up her sister, CiCi, for help.
Claire van Ryzin, USA, 2014, DCP, 4m
When a lonely man accidentally ingests a grow-your-own-girlfriend expandable water toy, he becomes extremely popular with the coolest dude in town.
William Reynish, Denmark, 2014, DCP, 12m
Danish with English subtitles
After a bad breakup leaves her heartbroken and depressed, Mira goes on a psychedelic trip in search of her spirit animal in order to feel whole again.
Denis the Pirate
Sam Messer, USA, 2015, DCP, 11m
A man tells the story of his great-great-great-great grandfather, Denis the Pirate, and his sidekick monkey, Babe Ruth, with whom he terrorized the Caribbean islands. World Premiere
Sanjay’s Super Team
Sanjay Patel, USA, 2015, DCP, 7m
In the latest short
from Pixar, modern superheroes and Hindu traditions clash in the daydreams of a young Indian boy. World Premiere
Ryan Gillis, USA, 2014, DCP, 7m
While investigating a mysterious explosion deep in the Everglades, a crop duster’s discovery of a lone surviving crate sets off a series of unfortunate events.
Siqi Song, USA, 2014, DCP, 4m
We are what we eat—from cheeseburgers to chocolate-covered pretzels—in this stop-motion documentary that explores how we choose the foods we consume.
Matt Christensen, USA, 2014, DCP, 3m
A blissed-out squirrel rolls through a meadow of objects.
NYFF SHORTS PROGRAM 4: NEW YORK (TRT: 75m)
A new addition to the New York Film Festival
, this program showcases recent short-form work from some of the most exciting filmmakers living and working in New York today, an eclectic mix of familiar faces, established names, and unheralded ones to watch. Programmed by Florence Almozini and Dan Sullivan and sponsored by the City of New York Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment.
Jason Giampietro, USA, 2015, DCP, 12m
Jason Giampietro’s latest hilarious short follows neurotic hypochondriac Rudy (Stephen Gurewitz), who is convinced he is suffering from a hernia, as he heads out into the night in search of sympathy from his friends, all of whom have lost their patience with him.
Nathan Silver, USA, 2015, DCP, 4m
The hyper-prolific Nathan Silver’s first documentary draws on his family’s home movies to revisit his directorial debut at the age of 9, as his efforts to dramatize the 1992 L.A. riots are undermined by an uncooperative cast and the intrusions of his mother. U.S. Premiere
Sonya Goddy, USA, 2015, DCP, 7m
In this impeccable cringe comedy, an irritated mother drives around in an unfamiliar neighborhood bribing her taciturn 5-year-old son with ice cream in exchange for crucial information. World Premiere
Pacho Velez & Daniel Claridge, USA, 2015, DCP, 4m
Comprised of images of racing aficionados—drivers, mechanics, and fans alike—in New Lebanon, NY, as they behold the sport they love, this film offers a rare opportunity to look at others in the act of observation, transforming the screen into a kind of ethnographic mirror. World Premiere
James N. Kienitz Wilkins, USA, 2014, DCP, 10m
James N. Kienitz Wilkins’s funny and heady work of lo-fi sleight-of-hand centers on an interview between the filmmaker and a man describing a unique experience, but his entertaining reminiscence proves to be not at all what it seems.
Six Cents in the Pocket
Ricky D’Ambrose, USA, 2015, DCP, 14m
This hypnotic work of contemporary cinematic modernism—something like Robert Bresson in Park Slope, but not exactly—concerns a young man apartment-sitting for friends as talk of a plane crash ominously lingers in the air. World Premiere
Bad at Dancing
Joanna Arnow, USA, 2015, DCP, 11m
The Silver Bear winner at this year’s Berlinale comically chronicles the psychodrama and boundary-testing that arises between a needy young woman (Joanna Arnow) and her more confident roommate (Eleanore Pienta) when the latter gets a boyfriend (Keith Poulson).
My Last Film
Zia Anger, USA, 2015, DCP, 9m
An exhilarating whatsit and freewheeling black comedy, Anger’s latest takes aim at the independent film scenes in NY and LA with no-holds-barred ferocity, formal ingenuity, and an eyebrow-raising cast that includes Lola Kirke, Mac DeMarco, and Rosanna Arquette. World Premiere
Dustin Guy Defa, USA, 2015, DCP, 4m
A young woman recounts a story to a group of friends who listen with rapt attention, but the tale sounds very familiar… Another masterful and clever work by one of the world’s premier shorts filmmakers. World Premiere
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