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The 46th New York Film Festival

The 46th New York Film Festival

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Feature by: Cullen Gallagher, Leo Goldsmith, Evan Kindley, Timothy Sun, Jenny Jediny, and Stephen Snart

Posted on: 21 September 2008

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Features The 45th New York Film Festival

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Festival program

Courting internationals, independents, and insiders alike, the New York Film Festival always seems an ideal occasion to check the scoreboard of contemporary cinema. The festival’s twenty-eight features and seventeen shorts place neo-realist character-studies from Mike Leigh (Happy-Go-Lucky) and Kelly Reichardt (Wendy & Lucy) alongside Hollywood fables from Clint Eastwood (Changeling), Steven Soderbergh (Che), and Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler) on a slate that also dependably showcases new (or new-ish) films from the vanguard of what Blockbuster used to call “world cinema”—filmmakers like Arnaud Desplechin (A Christmas Tale), Olivier Assayas (Summer Hours), and Wong Kar-wai (Ashes of Time Redux).

But while gritty, handheld realism is the general tendency of the new international and independent offerings here, and star-studded mythos the default genre of Hollywood samplings, there are nonetheless those who take a more complex, synthetic approach: Jia Zhangke, long involved in both documentary and narrative cinema, has lately been conflating and combining the two, as he does in this year’s entry, 24 City; Ari Folman offers his own account of the Israel-Lebanon War with the docu-anime Waltz with Bashir; and Laurent Cantet builds a realist aesthetic out of the real life of a Parisian junior high school in his Palme d’Or-winning The Class, casting the author of the memoir on which the film is partly based. And indeed, there are many new discoveries on offer: first narrative features from documentarian Sergey Dvortsevoy (Tulpan), video artist Steve McQueen (Hunger), and newcomer Antonio Campos (Afterschool), among others. Of course, always welcome at Lincoln Center parties are festival-favorites like Hong Sang-soo (Night and Day), Agnès Jaoui (Let It Rain), and Jerzy Skolimowski (Four Nights with Anna, the director’s first film in seventeen years).

Along with sidebars devoted to Nagisa Oshima, classics like Ophuls’ Lola Montès and Von Sternberg’s The Last Command, and its usual selection of classic and contemporary avant-garde films, this festival’s forty-sixth iteration is also hosting a panel with the terrifying title, “Film Criticism in Crisis?” In this space, we’ll be covering this festival’s offerings – as we always do – in crisis or out.

Please refer to this page for the next few weeks for updated coverage of select festival films. The 46th New York Film Festival runs September 26th through October 12th.

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