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45th New York Film Festival Preview

Greetings from New York! This is Benjamin and I’ll be your ioncinema.com guide for the 45th Annual New York Film Festival, which kick starts today for a little more than two weeks into the crisp month of October. Produced by The Film Society of Lincoln Center, the festival has a very “New York” feel to it this year as ten of the film’s screening here are from New York based directors. Also, 2007 has been a great year for international festivals such as Cannes, Venice and Toronto and that’s been reflected in this year’s showcase.

Greetings from New York! This is Benjamin and I’ll be your ioncinema.com guide for the 45th Annual New York Film Festival, which kick starts today for a little more than two weeks into the crisp month of October. Produced by The Film Society of Lincoln Center, the festival has a very “New York” feel to it this year as ten of the film’s screening here are from New York based directors. Also, 2007 has been a great year for international festivals such as Cannes, Venice and Toronto and that’s been reflected in this year’s showcase.

The New York Film Festival is a particular oddity on the circuit as there’s no competition, market or conference. Of course there are some cool tidbits here and there, including director’s dialogues, special music documentaries, a Technicolor retrospective from Martin Scorsese and the 11th annual Views from the Avant-Garde series, which showcases experimental work. There’ll be some great parties, some interesting discussions and most important of all: some of the year’s best films. The complete lineup is listed below…my focus will be on such titles as highly anticipated domestic product releases from the Coens, Wes Anderson and Todd Haynes, a mixed bag of French productions or co-productions in Persepolis, Flight of the Red Balloon, The Diving Bell and Butterfly and Paranoid Park, a pair of prominent Foreign Oscar picks in Carlos Reygadas' Stellet Licht (Mexico) and Spain's The Orphanage and finally a 1982 pic that gets a revamped treatment in Blade Runner: The Final Cut. Look for my coverage to include some of the voices  behind the make up of the 45th edition in both the days and weeks to come. Enjoy!


45th New York Film Festival Lineup

OPENING NIGHT:
The Darjeeling Limited directed by Wes Anderson, screening with: “Hotel Chevalier,” directed by Wes Anderson, US, 2007; 12m
 
CLOSING NIGHT:
Persepolis directed by Marjane Satrapi & Vincent Paronnaud

CENTERPIECE:
No Country for Old Men directed by Joel and Ethan Coen
4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days directed by Christian Mungiu

Actresses directed by Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi
Alexandra directed by Alexander Sokurov
The Axe in the Attic directed by Ed Pincus & Lucia Small
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead directed by Sidney Lumet
Calle Santa Fe directed by Carmen Castillo

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly directed by Julian Schnabel
The Flight of the Red Balloon directed by Hou Hsiao-hsien
A Girl Cut In Two directed by Claude Chabrol
Go Go Tales directed by Abel Ferrara
I Just Didn't Do It directed by Masayuki Suo

I'm Not There directed by Todd Haynes
In the City of Sylvia directed by Jose Luis Guerin
The Last Mistress directed by Catherine Breillat
The Man From London directed by Bela Tarr
Margot at the Wedding directed by Noah Baumbach
Married Life directed by Ira Sachs
Mr. Warmth, The Don Rickles Project directed by John Landis

The Orphanage directed by Juan Antonio Bayona
Paranoid Park directed by Gus Van Sant
The Romance of Astrea and Celadon directed by Eric Rohmer
Secret Sunshine directed by Lee Chang-dong
Silent Light directed by Carlos Reygadas
Useless directed by Jia Zhang-ke
 
RETROSPECTIVE SCREENINGS:
Blade Runner: The Definitive Cut directed by Ridley Scott, US, 1982/2007
Hamlet directed by Sven Gade & Heinz Schall, Germany, 1920-21
Leave Her to Heaven directed by John M. Stahl, US, 1945
Underworld directed by Josef von Sternberg, US, 1927
Accompaniment by the Alloy Orchestra
 
SPECIAL EVENTS:
“Fados,” directed by Carlos Saura, Spain/Portugal, 2007
Beginning with his much-loved Flamenco Trilogy and moving on through Tango and Iberia, Carlos Saura has been at the forefront of finding creative ways to blend cinema with music and dance. For his newest film, he headed west to neighboring
Portugal for this beautiful celebration of the Portuguese fado. Sometimes thought of as the Portuguese blues, as so many of the songs deal with loneliness and heartache, the fado, like flamenco, remains one of Europe's hardiest folk cultures; in recent years, fado has fused with everything from African rhythms to rock and hip-hop. Saura presents a broad panorama of fado styles, from the strictly traditional to some rather unexpected variations, and leading us through this musical journey are performers such as Carlos do Carmo, Catarina Moura, Argentina Santos, and Maria da Nazare, along with guest appearances by Brazilian singers Chico Buarque and Caetano Veloso. Homages are included to such past greats as Lucilia do Carmo, Alfredo Marceneiro and of course Amalia Rodrigues. A terrific opportunity to discover a vibrant strand of contemporary world music, as well a chance to simply enjoy some wonderful singing and dancing.

The Other Side of the Mirror: Bob Dylan Live at the Newport Folk Festival, 1963-1965,” directed by Murray Lerner, US, 2007
Throughout the '60s, the Newport Folk Festival was one of the era's most reliable barometers of the changes beginning to rock American society. At the center of those changes was a rail-thin singer hailing from Hibbing, Minn., by way of Greenwich Village: Bob Dylan. Filmmaker Murray Lerner was there too, and he powerfully captured both the spirit of Newport as well as the extraordinary music produced there in his woefully neglected film Festival. Now Lerner has gone back to his footage from his years filming at Newport and created a revealing portrait of the young Dylan during the crucial period of 1963-65. We see the bright, chipper young Dylan–already a great crowd favorite in 1963–grow progressively darker and more withdrawn as he and his band take their first steps towards rock and roll in 1965. The film features Dylan singing stirring versions of many of his most famous songs–“Blowin' in the Wind,” “A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall,” “Maggie's Farm,” “Only a Pawn in Their Game”–as well as some of his legendary duets with Joan Baez. A great document of an extraordinary performer, and a fascinating complement to Todd Haynes' wonderful I'm Not There.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Runnin' Down a Dream,” directed by Peter Bogdanovich, US, 2007
Rarely, if ever, has the history and development of a major rock band been explored with the care and the depth with which Peter Bogdanovich approaches Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Starting out from
Gainesville Florida, the band (as Mudcrutch) headed to Los Angeles in the mid-'70s and soon attracted the attention of producer Denny Cordell. Their first singles failed to cause much of a stir in the U.S., but in the U.K., they were hailed as the best American band in years. After a hugely successful European tour, they headed home, this time finding a much warmer response from critics and the public alike. Liberally peppered with rare concert footage–from Florida bars to “The Top of the Pops” to major stadium appearances–the film also chronicles Petty's epic battles with the record industry and collaborations with Bob Dylan, Stevie Nicks, Roger McGuinn and the Traveling Wilburys. Dispensing with the cynicism that usually accompanies longevity in rock music, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers have managed to remain fresh, feisty and popular for over thirty years. Peter Bogdanovich helps us understand why.

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