Some people may consider the New York Film Festival a simple "Best Of" sort of event, but the fact that it compiles selections from earlier film fests and merely showcases them in a competition-free program is what I love about it. For those of us New Yorkers who can't always make it to the highlands of Utah and Colorado or the exotic seaside locales of Italy and Southern France, it's nice to know that major festival highlights will likely make their way to Lincoln Center in late September, early October.
This year, the lineup for the 46th NYFF is being noted for its inclusion of films that previously screened at Cannes back in May. Even Steven Soderbergh's four-hour Che (aka The Argentine and Guerilla), which played to mixed reactions in France, even while picking up a best actor prize for star Benicio Del Toro, has been given a spot. Also featured are Cannes leftovers Waltz With Bashir, Wendy and Lucy, Grand Prix-winner Gomorrah and Clint Eastwood's Changeling, which stars Angelina Jolie and has the honor of being NYFF's centerpiece film. Opening the festival is the Palm d'Or winner The Class, while the closing film is Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler, which premieres a few weeks prior at the Venice Film Festival.
Other exciting big name films include Mike Leigh's Happy-Go-Lucky, Wong Kar-Wai's Ashes of Time: Redux, Lucretia Martel's The Headless Woman and Olivier Assayas' Summer Hours. Surprisingly, Charlie Kaufman's Synechdoche, New York, which screened at Cannes, is New York appropriate and is scheduled to open in October, is missing from the lineup.
The complete list of NYFF selections, courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter, can be found after the jump: span style="font-weight: bold;">Opening night
"The Class," Laurent Cantet, France (Sony Pictures Classics)
"Changeling," Clint Eastwood, U.S. (Universal)
"The Wrestler," Darren Aronofsky, U.S.
"24 City," Jia Zhangke, China/Hong Kong/Japan
"Afterschool," Antonio Campos, U.S.
"Ashes of Time Redux," Wong Kar Wai, Hong Kong (Sony Pictures Classics)
"Bullet in the Head," Jaime Rosales, Spain/France
"Che," Steven Soderbergh, France/Spain
"Chouga," Darezhan Omirbaev, France/Kazakhstan
"A Christmas Tale," Arnaud Desplechin, France (IFC Films)
"Four Nights With Anna," Jerzy Skolimowski, Poland/France
"Gomorrah," Matteo Garrone, Italy (IFC Films)
"Happy-Go-Lucky," Mike Leigh, U.K. (Miramax)
"The Headless Woman," Lucrecia Martel, Argentina/France/Italy/Spain
"Hunger," Steve McQueen, U.K. (IFC Films)
"I'm Going to Explode," Gerardo Naranjo, Mexico
"Let It Rain," Agnes Jaoui, France, 2008
"Lola Montes," Max Ophuls, France/West Germany (Rialto Pictures)
"Night and Day," Hong Sang-soo, South Korea, 2008
"The Northern Land," Joao Botelho, Portugal
"Serbis," Brillante Mendoza, Philippines/France
"Summer Hours," Olivier Assayas, France (IFC Films)
"Tokyo Sonata," Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Japan/Netherlands
"Tony Manero," Pablo Larrain, Chile/Brazil
"Tulpan," Sergey Dvortsevoy, Germany/Kazakhstan/Poland/Russia/Switzerland
"Waltz With Bashir," Ari Folman, Israel/Germany/France (Sony Pictures Classics)
"Wendy and Lucy," Kelly Reichardt, U.S. (Oscilloscope Pictures)
"The Windmill Movie," Alexander Olch, U.S.