The 2019 New York Film Festival has announced that the annual festival will close out with Edward Norton’s “Motherless Brooklyn.” The Warner Bros. drama will celebrate its New York premiere at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall on Friday, October 11. The film will also screen at the Toronto International Film Festival next month, and Warner Bros. will release it in theaters on November 1. As was previously announced this week, Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” will open the festival and Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” will serve as its centerpiece selection.
“Motherless Brooklyn” is Norton’s second directorial effort following 2000’s “Keeping the Faith,” and the festival describes it as a deviation from the source material. Norton “has transplanted the main character of Jonathan Lethem’s best-selling novel ‘Motherless Brooklyn’ from modern Brooklyn into an entirely new, richly woven neo-noir narrative, re-set in 1950s New York.”
“Motherless Brooklyn” also stars Bruce Willis, Willem Dafoe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Bobby Cannavale, Leslie Mann, and Cherry Jones.
Per the film’s NYFF synopsis: “Emotionally shattered by a botched job, Lionel Essrog (Norton), a lonely private detective with Tourette syndrome, finds himself drawn into a multilayered conspiracy that expands to encompass the city’s ever-growing racial divide and the devious personal and political machinations of a Robert Moses–like master builder, played by Alec Baldwin. … ‘Motherless Brooklyn’ is the kind of production Hollywood almost never makes anymore, and a complexly conceived, robust evocation of a bygone era of New York that speaks to our present moment.”
New York Film Festival Director and Selection Committee Chair Kent Jones said in a statement: “Edward Norton has taken Jonathan Lethem’s novel as a jumping-off point to craft a wildly imaginative and extravagant love letter to New York, a beautifully told semi-musical hard-boiled yarn grounded in the mid-20th century history of the city. What a way to close the festival!”
In his own statement, Norton added: “NYFF has been my hometown festival for nearly 30 years, and it’s consistently one of the best curated festivals in the world. … NYFF always perfectly straddles everything I love about the movies. They balance serious audiences and thoughtful conversations about film with just the right level of glamour and celebratory fun. To have this particular film — which grew out of my love affair with New York — selected for Closing Night is just a huge thrill…a dream come true, actually.”
Tickets for the 57th New York Film Festival will go on sale to the general public on September 8. This year’s festival will run September 27 – October 13. More slate announcements will be released in the coming weeks.