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