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The Auteurs Daily: NYFF Lineup Roundup

The Auteurs Daily

Wild Grass

"Dear everyone with blase reactions to the NYFF lineup in the indieWIRE piece," C Mason Wells tweeted yesterday: "it must be hard leading such joyless lives." In the piece he's referring to, iW editor Eugene Hernandez asks a slew of bloggers for immediate reactions to the then-just-announced lineup for his year's New York Film Festival and, as he notes, "responses conflicted."

The SpoutBlog's Karina Longworth has clarified her comments; this lineup "offers compelling proof that the concept of the indie label-as-Oscar bait factory is losing currency." And that is, of course, a good thing. The New Yorker's Richard Brody, while not part of iW's commentariat, is not alone in his "disappointment that Hong Sang-soo's new film, Like You Know It All, isn't showing." It seems a little unfair to blame Manohla Dargis for that, on account of her "dismissal" of a different Hong film (Night and Day), but he's not alone there, either. Folks: Dargis praised other films by Hong in the same breath, for one thing, and for another, the selection committee - Richard Peña, Melissa Anderson, Scott Foundas, J Hoberman and Dennis Lim - are big boys and girl who aren't likely to be dissuaded from a film they admire on the basis of a one-paragraph first impression, no matter where it appears.

But let's take a brief look the selection that's inspired such yawns and then what we might call a "forelash" on Twitter in supportive response to Wells, beginning with the batch from Cannes since so much has already been written; titles link directly to review roundups.

NYFF 09 opens on September 25 with Alain Resnais's Wild Grass and closes on October 11 with Pedro Almodóvar's Broken Embraces. In between: Lars von Trier's Antichrist, Raya Martin's Independencia, Souleymane Cissé's Min Yé, Bong Joon-ho's Mother (South Korea's candidate for this year's Foreign Language Oscar), Pedro Costa's Ne Change Rien, Corneliu Porumboiu's Police Adjective, João Pedro Rodrigues's To Die Like a Man, Marco Bellocchio's Vincere and Michael Haneke's Palme d'Or-winning The White Ribbon.

In Berlin, Daniel Kasman caught and reviewed Catherine Breillat's Bluebeard and Manoel de Olivera's Eccentricities of a Blonde; and The Auteurs has been all over Maren Ade's Everyone Else.

Another round will be coming straight out of Toronto, so these titles link to the TIFF 09 descriptions: Don Argott's The Art of the Steal, Bruno Dumont's Hadewijch, Serge Bromberg's Inferno (L' Enfer de Henri-Georges Clouzot) and Todd Solondz's Life During Wartime.

The centerpiece of the festival will be Lee Daniels's Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, which premiered in Sundance.

JoongAng Daily ran a piece last year on the restoration of An Jong-hwa's 1934 silent film, Crossroads of Youth.

You can read about Zhao Dayong's three-hour documentary Ghost Town here and here.

Sabu's Kanikosen has a site.

Yair Raveh has been tracking the past and future of Samuel Maoz's Lebanon around the festival circuit, noting that it's tracing the path Ari Folman's Waltz with Bashir took last year.

Andrey Khrzhanovsky's hybrid Room and a Half screened in Rotterdam, while Ilisa Barbash's doc Sweetgrass screened in Berlin.

Claire Denis's White Material will see its world premiere in Venice.

There'll also be a screening of Victor Fleming's The Wizard of Oz, marking its 70th anniversary, and two Masterworks series from China and India.

Image: Wild Grass.


This is one of the best NYFF line-ups in years, I’m very excited.
I don’t get what the crying is about. The argument about world premiers is a point taken, but that is a fine selection, nonetheless.
I’ve only seen one film by Sabu, “Unlucky Monkey”, but think his inclusion is an inspired choice among the usual suspects.
Dear Auteurs editors: No offense to the other contributors to the Notebook, but it would be lovely to have a separate url and tab at the top of the homepage for The Daily. You have a wonderful resource here with a huge following. Exploit it.
Hi Matt. Thanks for your suggestion, and believe me, we have something up our sleeves. Have some patience and hopefully we can deliver something very pleasing.
I’m looking forward to when EVERYONE ELSE drops on Alice Tully and lights up the audience. As I’ve already written for the Notebook, it was my favorite film at Berlin this year. And I am absolutely ecstatic about the from-out-of-nowhere selection of GHOST TOWN. To my knowledge GHOST TOWN hasn’t even played in any fest outside China, let alone a major one like Cannes. Its selection single-handedly disproves the notion of NYFF simply cherry-picking from the major fests. Some of the most exciting work being done in film today is in the Chinese indie documentary circuit, but much of it has yet to be discovered. (We at are trying to rectify that by making available articles and podcasts on these films, in addition to our distribution efforts.) It’s great that NYFF has its eye on this scene and is giving it due attention. Kevin
I still think Wizard of Oz will be the little indie that could this year.

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