The Film Society of Lincoln Center Announces 50 Years of the New York Film Festival Lineup
The Film Society of Lincoln Center's year-long countdown to the New York Film Festival's historic 50th edition continues this spring, offering the rare opportunity to view several undisputed classics of the big screen, many of which were introduced to the world at NYFF. These include breakthrough films from the 1990s by Zhang Yimou, Gus Van Sant, Jane Campion and more. A special appearance will be made by director/editor Steve James at the Hoop Dreams screening on Tuesday, June 5.
The serious cinephile should mark their calendars for a regular standing date at the Film Society of Lincoln Center with a special package discount - 4 tickets for the price of 3. Tickets are $13 for general public, $9 for seniors/students and $8 for members. Visit the box office or www.filmlinc.com for details.
The schedule of screenings set for the rest of the series in 2012 will be announced at a later date. The FSLC acknowledges Academy Film Archive/May Haduong, Arthur Agee, Frederick Marx, Kartemquin Films, MoMA, Peter Gilbert, Sikelia Productions, Steve James, William Gates for their support for the new lineup.
FILM DESCRIPTIONS & SCHEDULE
JU DOU (1990) 95min
Director: Zhang Yimou
Master filmmaker Zhang Yimou (RAISE THE RED LANTERN, HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS) made the second of six NYFF appearances with this visually stunning, sexually charged melodrama set in a dye factory in rural China at the turn of the 20th century. When the sadistic factory owner takes a third wife (having murdered the first two), his nephew finds himself falling for the woman, named Ju Dou (played by the ravishing Gong Li, in one of her first major roles). They soon embark on an affair and conceive a child, which the owner believes to be his. But as the years pass, the truth gradually bubbles to the surface, and a series of lurid twists and turns set the characters on a tragic collision course with the fates. Shot in eye-popping color by Oscar-nominated cinematographer Changwei Gu (FAREWELL MY CONCUBINE), JU DOU was banned by Chinese authorities, but nevertheless went on to become the country's first-ever Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film.
* Walter Reade Theater on Tuesday, May 1 at 6:15pm.
MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO (1991) 104min
Director: Gus Van Sant
Five-time NYFF alum Gus Van Sant made his third festival appearance (following the short films DISCIPLINE OF DE andJUNIOR) with this landmark work of American independent cinemA. Van Sant combined two screenplays he was working on--one a modern version of Shakespeare's Henry IV--with an original short story to create the dreamlike tale of two wayward hustlers who drift through the coffee houses and wide open spaces of the Pacific Northwest, the Italian countryside and back again. Narcoleptic Mike (River Phoenix, at his most iconic) is looking for motherly love in all the wrong places, while rich kid Scott (Keanu Reeves) waits for his 21st birthday and the sizable inheritance that will come with it. Separately and together, they entertain a host of eccentric male and female clients, as street urchins (led by the Falstaff-like Bob Pigeon, memorably played by filmmaker William Richert) spout lines from the Bard and barns fall mysteriously from the sky. Indeed, we're most certainly not in Kansas anymore.
* Walter Reade Theater on Tuesday, May 8 at 6:15pm.
DREAM OF LIGHT (El sol del membrillo) (1992) 133min
Director: Víctor Erice
The Spanish director Victor Erice (THE SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE) has directed only three feature films in his 40-year career, but each has been of such distinct and rapturous beauty as to earn him the reputation of a poetic master, on par with his American counterpart Terrence Malick. For his third--and, to date, last--feature, Erice turned his camera upon the acclaimed Spanish realist painter Antonio López García, who plays himself in a movie that is not quite fiction and not entirely documentary, but wholly an attempt to capture the seemingly imperceptible nuances of artistic creation. Taking the form of a journal, the film observes the daily process by which García paints a still-life of a small quince tree in the backyard of his Madrid home, interrupted only by occasional visits from friends and fellow artists, and by the onward march of time and the seasons. (He hopes to complete the work before the fruit falls from the tree in winter.) As the painting materializes, so does our understanding of García's meticulous method, and the timeless struggle of all artists to capture the ineffable.
* Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center on Tuesday, May 22 at 6:15pm.
THE PIANO (1993) 121min
Director: Jane Campion
Country: Australia/New Zealand/France
Jane Campion made her fourth NYFF appearance with this singularly haunting and beautiful tale of a mute, 19th-century Scotswoman (Holly Hunter) and her young daughter (Anna Paquin), who travel to remote coastal New Zealand, where the woman, Ada, has entered into an arranged marriage with a middle-aged bachelor (Sam Neill). Though Ada has traveled halfway around the world with her beloved piano--her preferred means of communication with the outside world--her new spouse deems it too cumbersome and leaves it stranded on the beach. Eventually, he trades it to Baines (Harvey Keitel), a local eccentric who has taken on the customs of the Maori natives (including their elaborate facial tattoos), and who agrees to sell the instrument back to Ada one key at a time in exchange for certain favors of the flesh. Soon, this quid pro quo erupts into a deeply erotic and passionate affair. The film that confirmed to audiences worldwide the boldly original talent already on display in Campion's previousSWEETIE and AN ANGEL AT MY TABLE, THE PIANO won the Palme d'Or at Cannes as well as three Academy Awards, for Hunter and Paquin's revelatory performances and for Campion's screenplay. In addition, Campion became only the second woman in history nominated for the Best Director Oscar. Print courtesy of Academy Film Archive.
* Walter Reade Theater on Friday, June 1 at 6:30pm.
HOOP DREAMS (1994) 170min
Director: Steve James
The orange-and-black-striped ball spins through the air, and as it does, entire destinies hang in the balance. Voted the greatest documentary of all time by the International Documentary Association and included by The New York Times on its list of the 1000 greatest movies ever made, director Steve James' extraordinary record of five years in the lives of two young, inner-city Chicago basketball stars––Arthur Agee and William Gates––was originally conceived as a 30-minute short film for PBS, but grew over the course of filming into a genuine epic about race, class and the high price of the American dream. Two decades later, it remains as stirring and perceptive as ever.
* Walter Reade Theater on Tuesday, June 5 at 6:30pm.
In person: Director/editor Steve James and other special guests to be announced.
LAMERICA (1994) 116min
Director: Gianni Amelio
Master Italian filmmaker Gianni Amelio followed his Oscar-nominated OPEN DOORS and internationally acclaimed THE STOLEN CHILDREN with this unforgettable story of huckster brothers Gino (Enrico Lo Verso) and Fiore (Michele Placido), who travel from Italy to Albania following the collapse of that country's Communist regime, intent on getting rich quick. There, they plan to set up a phony shoe factory as a front for siphoning economic relief money from the government. But in order for the scam to work, the business must have an official Albanian head, and so the brothers recruit an elderly former political prisoner for the job...who promptly goes missing. When Gino sets out to find him, the alternately tragic and darkly comic odyssey that follows opens his eyes--and ours--to the harsh realities of the Albanian people, and the sometimes fine line between new-world capitalism and old-world fascism.
* Walter Reade Theater on Tuesday, June 12 at 6:15pm.