NYFF Press Roundup: Day 14

The critics serve up more praise for NYFF entries Martha Marcy May Marlene, The Skin I Live In, and This is Not a Film, plus our "Views from the Avant Garde" series.

indieWIRE's The Playlist breaks down Pedro Almodovar’s The Skin I Live In, saying it is “a tale unlike anything Almodóvar has put on the big screen before:
"Pedro Almodóvar crafts a creepy Frankenstein-esque tale of rape, revenge, and survival in 'The Skin I Live In' – a polarizing film which is one of his most ambitious yet. Because the movie features an unexpected twist halfway through the film, discussing it becomes difficult – how do you debate the themes, the issues and the meaning without giving it all away?"

Adam Nayman of indieWire’s blog Reverse Shot reviews NYFF entry Martha Marcy May Marlene:
"Like Jeff Nichols’s Take Shelter—its only real rival for the title of Fall’s Best American Film—Sean Durkin’s Martha Marcy May Marlene concludes on a shot that’s either totally declarative or sneakily ambiguous. In both cases, it’s up to the viewer to decide whether the filmmaker has placed all of his cards on the table or is still holding a couple close to the vest. The comparisons between the two films don’t end there, either. While largely dissimilar in terms of style and subject matter, Take Shelter and Martha Marcy May Marlene are movies that warily examine gender roles—flipped mirror images of characters looking for a way out to find themselves ever more tightly constricted."

Henry Stewart of The L Magazine reviews NYFF doc This is Not a Film, saying subversively, brilliantly, This is Not a Film most certainly is—a great and important one at that:
"This is Not a Film is a documentary about not making a movie. Jafar Panahi, after all, was barred by the Iranian government from directing movies following a recent arrest for 'colluding with the intention to commit crimes against the country’s national security and propaganda against the Islamic Republic.' He's appealing his case but could face six years in prison; for now, he's under house arrest. So, in his latest movie, shot over the course of a day, he invites over his friend Mojtaba Mirtahmasb to video record him while he reads, acts, and goes about his daily life—including fielding phone calls about his case and dog-sitting for 20 seconds—thus circumventing the 20-year ban on directing. (At one point Panahi tells Mirtahmasb to cut but he playfully refuses, noting that Panahi cannot direct the movie.)"

Bradford Nordeen of The L Magzine blog The Measure, looks over our Views from the Avant Garde series, lauding our new Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center as venue:
"The New York Film Festival's annual Views From the Avant-Garde sidebar is the reigning festival of its kind. Which is to say, like other premier festivals, on offer here are the big budget, technically ambitious provocations and aesthetic explosions from celebrated festival regulars, with a few idiosyncratic newcomers thrown in for good measure. This years’ fest is noteworthy for its expansion, via the recently erected Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, adding a second screen and a plasma-walled amphitheater on which to launch peripheral programming. From university campuses across America, the leading contributors to avant-garde film assembled for a weekend’s worth of premieres."

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