New York Lines Up Its Main Slate

Michelle Williams in Kelly Reichardt’s Showing Up (2022)

We might have guessed that Kelly Reichardt’s Showing Up would screen at this year’s New York Film Festival when NYFF artistic director Dennis Lim included it on a list of five recent favorites a few days ago. “For nearly three decades,” he writes at Le Cinéma Club, “one of American cinema’s greatest filmmakers has demonstrated the virtues—and the quietly radical potential—of modesty. Her latest, about a sculptor readying for a show, is a vivid account of the day-to-day annoyances and satisfactions of art making, and a meditation on what it means to be a particular kind of artist.”

Of the thirty-two films Lim and his fellow selection committee members—Florence Almozini, K. Austin Collins, Rachel Rosen, and NYFF Executive Director Eugene Hernandez—have lined up for the Main Slate, fifteen—including Showing Up—premiered a few months ago in Cannes. On Tuesday, just hours before the team announced its selections, Neon released a trailer for Ruben Östlund’s Triangle of Sadness, a comedy skewering the one percent that won the Palme d’Or.

The NYFF will celebrate its sixtieth anniversary edition with a special screening of James Gray’s Armageddon Time, the semiautobiographical story of an eleven-year-old boy in 1980 Queens. Stars at Noon, Claire Denis’s adaptation of Denis Johnson’s 1986 novel, is one of two winners of the Grand Prix in Cannes, and Jerzy Skolimowski’s EO, inspired by Robert Bresson’s Au hasard Balthazar (1966), won one of the two Jury Prizes awarded this year. Park Chan-wook won the Best Director award for Decision to Leave, a Hitchcockian story of the mutual attraction between a by-the-book detective and his number one suspect.

Cristian Mungiu’s R.M.N. and Albert Serra’s Pacifiction also premiered in competition in Cannes, and while neither won any awards, both scored plenty of critical accolades. At the Film Verdict, Jay Weissberg wrote that R.M.N. “touches on a host of issues from impotent enraged masculinity to environmental destruction, from fear of the other to Romania’s status as a second-class EU country.” Corresponding with fellow Notebook contributors back in May, Leonardo Goi called Pacifiction—in which Benoît Magimel, playing a High Commissioner stationed in French Polynesia, “roams these idyllic islands with the white linen suit of Fitzcarraldo and the sly wit of Graham Greene’s Thomas Fowler”—the “best film” at Cannes.

Marie Kreutzer’s Corsage, starring Vicky Krieps as the nineteenth-century Austrian empress known to her subjects as Elizabeth and to Romy Schneider fans as Sissi, and Davy Chou’s Return to Seoul, in which a French woman goes looking for her birth parents, premiered in the Un Certain Regard program. Aftersun, the single selection from the Critics’ Week, will open the Edinburgh International Film Festival on Friday. Paul Mescal and newcomer Francesca Corio play a father and daughter vacationing in Turkey in the 1990s in the debut feature from Charlotte Wells.

The Directors’ Fortnight launched four films now heading to New York. In his Notebook interview with Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor (Leviathan), Jordan Cronk calls De Humani Corporis Fabrica “a radical cinematic immersion into the far reaches of the human body.” Mary Woodvine plays a botanist on a lonely island in 1973 in Mark Jenkin’s hand-processed Enys Men, and Jessica Kiang, writing for Variety, finds it “warm to the eye and livid with gorgeous 16 mm grain, glorying in a scratchy, imprecisely post-synced soundtrack.”

Léa Seydoux’s performance as a single mother caring for her young daughter and ailing father in Mia Hansen-Løve’s One Fine Morning might be “a career-best,” suggests the Telegraph’s Tim Robey. At Little White Lies, Sophie Monks Kaufman finds Scarlet, a magical realist tale from Pietro Marcello (Martin Eden), “illustrated with a fierce and breathtaking beauty.”

It might seem like the ultimate inside baseball activity to sort through and group these titles according to the festivals launching them, but if we consider the NYFF’s Main Slate, combined with its Currents program, to be a snapshot of the current state of cinema, it’s not uninteresting to see that Cannes—for all the criticisms of its gender inequality and its stubborn loyalty to favorite directors—still has clout. So does Venice. Ten Main Slate titles will premiere there in a few weeks.

NYFF 2022 will open on September 30 with Noah Baumbach’s White Noise, starring Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig in an adaptation of Don DeLillo’s 1985 novel. The Centerpiece presentation will be All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, Laura Poitras’s documentary on the life and career of photographer and activist Nan Goldin. Frederick Wiseman directs Nathalie Boutefeu in his first fictional feature, A Couple, which draws from the diaries of Countess Sophia Behrs, who was married to Leo Tolstoy for forty-eight years.

Another celebrated documentarian, Alice Diop (We), has also made her first fictional feature. In Saint Omer, a writer researching a book observes the trial of a Senegalese woman accused of killing her infant daughter. Before Iranian authorities arrested and then jailed him last month, Jafar Panahi completed No Bears, a multi-layered fiction in which he oversees the making of a film in Tehran from a remote town on the border.

After The Souvenir (2019) and The Souvenir Part II (2021), Joanna Hogg and Tilda Swinton reunite for The Eternal Daughter, which focuses on the relationship between a middle-aged filmmaker and her elderly mother. Todd Field (In the Bedroom) directs Cate Blanchett in TÁR, a portrait of a renowned orchestra conductor.

Paul Schrader will receive a Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in Venice, where his Master Gardener, starring Joel Edgerton as a horticulturist and Sigourney Weaver as his employer, will premiere out of competition. Orizzonti, Venice’s rough equivalent to Cannes’s Un Certain Regard, will launch Trenque Lauquen, a mystery winding through twelve chapters in two feature-length parts from Laura Citarella, the Argentine film director (Ostende) and producer (La flor). Huang Ji and Ryuji Otsuka’s Stonewalling, the story of a flight attendant who plans to give away the baby she’s carrying, will premiere in the independent Venice program Giornate degli Autori.

Three award-winners will arrive in New York from Berlin. Carla Simón’s Alcarràs, in which a Catalonian family fights to maintain their traditional way of life, won the Golden Bear. In Hong Sangsoo’s The Novelist’s Film, the winner of a Silver Bear, a writer (Lee Hyeyoung) and a famous actress (Kim Minhee) rekindle each other’s creative impulses. Cyril Schäublin won the Best Director award in Berlin’s Encounters program, and his Unrest, in which anarchists and watchmakers organize in a Swiss town in the 1870s, won Best Picture at the Jeonju International Film Festival.

Shaunak Sen’s All That Breathes, a study of two brothers’ efforts to save birds of prey in New Delhi, premiered at Sundance, where it won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary (World Cinema), before heading to Cannes, where it won the Golden Eye. Margaret Brown’s Descendant, the winner of a U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Creative Vision at Sundance, traces the history of Africatown, a community in Alabama founded by West Africans who had arrived in 1860 on the Clotilda, the last known illegal slave ship.

Walk Up, Hong Sangsoo’s second feature of 2022, will premiere in Toronto. Kwon Haehyo plays a filmmaker who makes a few surprising discoveries while touring an apartment building. And finally, following its Toronto premiere, The Inspection, starring Jeremy Pope as a gay Marine and the first fictional feature from filmmaker and photographer Elegance Bratton (Pier Kids), will screen as the Closing Night presentation before NYFF 2022 wraps on October 16.

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