Gerald Wright's Movie Coverage
THE FILM SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER AND THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART ANNOUNCE THE LINE-UP FOR THE 39th ANNUAL NEW DIRECTORS/NEW FILMS (March 24-April 4, 2010)
The 39th annual edition of New Directors/New Films begins March 24th. This is the longstanding collaboration between The Film Society of Lincoln Center and The Museum of Modern Art. The event is dedicated to the discovery of new work by emerging filmmakers, and will screen 38 films, at both venues, from March 24 through April 4, 2010. The 2010 slate includes wide variety of films from 20 countries, including 27 feature films and 11 shorts, with numerous appearances and introductions by filmmakers.
The opening night feature of this year's ND/NF series is the world premiere of "Bill Cunningham New York" (USA, 2010). Director Richard Press' documentary is a heartfelt and honest film about the inimitable New York Times photographer, who has for decades lovingly captured the unexpected trends, events, and people of Manhattan for the Styles section of the newspaper. The film shows Cunningham, an octogenarian, riding his Schwinn bicycle to cover benefits, galas, and fashion shows around Manhattan, and illustrates how his camera has captured the looks that have defined generations.
The closing night feature will be the premiere drama of "I Killed My Mother (J'ai tue' ma mere)" (Canada, 2009) by acclaimed Canadian writer and director Xavier Dolan, who bracingly exposes the limits of love. Dolan himself plays the title character Hubert, a creature full of lust and venom, in this emotional film. Hubert's burgeoning homosexuality is at odds with his aggravatingly conventional mother (Anne Dorval), in a relationship that is situated within an exquisite filmic structure, allowing the humor and the pathos of his tale to emerge.
Among the 27 standout features is "How I Ended This Summer" (Russia, 2010) by Alexei Popogrebsky, a film about man's extraordinary ability to cope with harsh nature and extreme isolation, set in a remote research station in the frozen wilds of the Russia Artic, which won three awards at the 2010 Berlin International Film Festival.
"The Father of My Children" (France/Germany, 2009), by Mia Hansen-Love, which won the Jury Special Prize in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, is inspired by the life and death of the late, legendary French film producer Humbert Balsan.
The documentary "Last Train Home" (Canada/China, 2009) by Lixin Fan, is one of my favorites. It follows the largest migration of people in human history, which happens over New Year's in China when city workers leave en masses for their homes in the countryside, often traveling for days by train.
Visual artist Shirin Neshat's "Women Without Men" (Germany/Austria/France, 2009) is her feature debut, a departure from her gallery-based work that tells the story of four women in early 1950s Iran, and which garnered the Silver Lion for the best director at the 2009 Venice Film Festival.
Also screening at this year's NF/ND series is director Warwick Thorton's "Samson and Delilah (Australia, 2009), set in the aboriginal communities of Australia, where traditions both nourish and entrap the boy and girl at the center of the story, and which won the Camera de'Or for best debut feature at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.
Another one of my favorite selections is "I Am Love" by Luca Guadagnino. This is his third narrative feature. This Italian film distributed by Magnolia Pictures (120mins, 2009) is a thrilling melodramatic story of a family business--in more ways than one. Set in the haut bourgeois world of modern-day Milan, the film ushers us into the seemingly perfect world of sumptuous elegance inhabited by the Recchi dynasty, whose fortune is built on its successful textle manufacturing business. After the firm's founder and patriarch transfers co-control of the business to his son Tancredi (Pippo Delbono) and grandson Edoardo (Flavio Parenti), Tancredi's wife Emma (Academy Award winner Tilda Swinton), feels pangs of empty-nest syndrome and growing sense of living in a gilde cage--until she finds herself led down an unlikely illicit love affair path by unexpectedly stirring desires of a close friend of her son. This compelling yet restrained drama of the eternal conflict between family ties and personal fulfillment unfolds with dazzling visual style, propelled by a distinctive staccato musical score by John Adams. The dramatic theme of this film creates a touching and disturbing portrait of a family's world.
Eleven shorts will be screened, including the current Academy Award nominated animated short "Logarama" (France, 2009); the comedic short "Rob and Valentyna In Scotland" (USA/UK, 2009); and the documentary short "Quadrangle" (USA. 2010), an inside look at two conventional couple that swapped partners and lived in a group marriage in the early 1970s.
FOR TICKET AND GENERAL INFORMATION GO TO www.newdirectors.org.