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Jane Campion’s ‘Power of the Dog’ Set as NYFF Centerpiece Following Venice World Premiere

Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, and Jesse Plemmons, Campion's latest film makes its New York premiere on October 1.


“The Power of the Dog”


The 2021 New York Film Festival lineup is coming into focus, with Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog” announced as the Centerpiece screening for the 59th edition hosted by Film at Lincoln Center. Ahead of its Netflix debut, the drama will make its New York premiere at Alice Tully Hall on October 1. Prior to the New York Film Festival, “Power of the Dog” is set to premiere in competition at Venice.

The cast features Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, Benedict Cumberbatch, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Thomasin McKenzie, Frances Conroy, and Keith Carradine. Here’s the synopsis shared by the festival:

Campion reaffirms her status as one of the world’s greatest — and most gratifyingly eccentric — filmmakers with this mesmerizing, psychologically rich variation on the American western. Adapted from a 1967 cult novel by Thomas Savage that was notoriously ahead of its time in depicting repressed sexuality, “The Power of the Dog” excavates the emotional torment experienced at a Montana cattle ranch in the 1920s. Here, melancholy young widow Rose (Kirsten Dunst) has come to live with her sensitive new husband, George (Jesse Plemons), though their lives are increasingly complicated by the erratic, potentially violent behavior of his sullen and bullying brother, Phil (Benedict Cumberbatch), whose mistrust of both Rose and her misfit son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) leads to tragic consequences. Mirroring the unpredictable story turns, Campion crafts a film of unexpected cadences and rhythms, and her daring is matched every step of the way by her extraordinary, fully immersed cast and a mercurial, destabilizing score by Jonny Greenwood.

“Public screenings we long took for granted feel exceptional now, so it is going to be a very emotional and joyous experience for me and my team to be there and present the film to such a film-celebrating audience,” Jane Campion said in a statement.

NYFF director of programming Dennis Lim said, “Everything about ‘The Power of the Dog’ is alive with surprise: its narrative turns, its rich characterizations, its complex ideas about masculinity and repression. It will introduce many to the work of the under-appreciated novelist Thomas Savage, but it also reminds us of what cinema can do as a medium for accessing and expressing inner life.”

Four of Campion’s previous films, including “Sweetie,” “An Angel at My Table” Oscar winner “The Piano,” and “Holy Smoke,” have been official selections of NYFF. In 2017, Film at Lincoln Center presented a retrospective of her work.

Running September 24 through October 10, NYFF will feature a combination of in-person, outdoor, and virtual screenings, with a comprehensive series of health and safety policies in coordination with state and city medical experts.

As previously announced, this year’s NYFF will open with Joel Coen’s “The Tragedy of Macbeth.”

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