Throughout the history of the New York Film Festival, certain filmmakers have shown up again and again. As our 50 Years of the New York Film Festival series enters its Labor Day weekend marathon (Friday – Tuesday), Film Society will screen films from NYFF '03 – '11. These eight selections are connected with even more editions of the festival, revealing a beautiful filmic web that continues to grow year by year and actors, directors, and countries expand their involvement in the annual event.
To help you get a sense of this network, here are just a few of the connections between the eight films screening this weekend and the greater history of the New York Film Festival
Ever since Breaking the Waves screened at the 34th NYFF in 1996, Danish director Lars von Trier has been a festival favorite, showing films such as The Kingdom: Part 2 (1997), Dancer in the Dark (2000), Manderlay (2005), Antichrist (2009), and last year’s Melancholia (NYFF '11). 2003’s Dogville—which screens on Friday and Sunday—also stars Nicole Kidman, who is being honored at this year’s festival along with a screening of her newest film, Lee Daniels' The Paperboy.
Jia Zhang-ke is one of the most important Chinese filmmaker working today. This opinion has not escaped the New York Film Festival. In 2000, Jia’s first major hit Platform was screened. This was followed by a screening of Unknown Pleasures in 2002. NYFF also screened Useless in 2007, 24 City in 2008, and the short film Cry Me a River in 2008. Smack in the middle is his 2004 masterpiece The World—which we will revisit on Friday and Monday.
THE DEATH OF MR. LAZARESCU
The Death of Mr. Lazarescu is considered to be one of the seminal films of the Romanian New Wave. It also kicked off the NYFF’s love for Romanian cinema. After screening Cristi Puiu’s film in 2005, NYFF went on to show Cristian Mungiu's Palme d'Or winner 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days in 2007, Corneliu Porumboiu's Police, Adjective in 2009, and Puiu’s Aurora in 2010. This year for the 50th, Mungiu is back with his multiple Cannes prizewinner Beyond the Hills. We’ll revisit The Death of Mr. Lazarescu this Friday and Sunday, including an introduction by past NYFF Selection Committee member Phillip Lopate at the latter.
In 2006, Iranian director Jafar Panahi made his fourth, but not last, appearance at the Film Festival with the politically driven Offside. Panahi followed this screening up with 2010’s Post Mortem and, last year, with the simple yet moving This Is Not a Film. Offside screens again on Saturday and Tuesday.
Carlos Reygadas' poetic Silent Light, which played at the 45th NYFF in 2007, is so beautiful it would have been criminal not to bring it back, so we're doing just that on Saturday and Monday. Reygadas’ work appeared again in the 2010 New York Film Festival in the form of omnibus film Revolución; he directed the part called This Is My Kingdom.
Few directors embody the City of New York to the extent of Martin Scorsese. The NYFF has long reflected this, ever since the 1967 screening of Scorsese’s short film, The Big Shave. Scorsese went on to screen many more films at NYFF, including Mean Streets and last year’s surprise screening of Hugo. The filmmaker has also endorsed a number of films which have been included over the years, including Matteo Garrone's modern Italian mob tale Gomorrah, which screened in 2008, which will screen again Saturday and Monday.
THE WHITE RIBBON
The NYFF first screened a Haneke film in 1992—the disturbing Benny’s Video. The director’s Hidden then closed the 43rd NYFF. In 2009, Palme d’Or winner The White Ribbon was screened. 50 Years of NYFF will bring this haunting masterpiece back to the big screen on Sunday and Tuesday.
Although Black Venus was the first film by director Abdellatif Kachiche to screen at the festival, it was far from the first for actor Olivier Gourmet. Gourmet graced the screen in 1996’s La Promesse, 1999’s Rosetta, and 2002’s The Son. This Tuesday we will revisit one of the actor’s finest performances in Kachiche's provocative and polarizing film.