Josh McLane, Rachael Roberts & Mikal Saint George
Photo By Evan Sung

New York Film Festival @ Lincoln Center
October 1 - 17, 2004

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Written By Jessica Cogan
Photographed By Evan Sung

Want to brag about knowing the latest in cinema? Gloat about having seen the latest foreign offerings? Wax intellectual when talking about films (as opposed to “movies”)? Well, tis the season. In a kind of karmic compensation for shorter days and cooler temperatures, the fall brings us the New York Film Festival. In its 42nd year, this festival offers a mix of legendary filmmakers, those still in their salad days and a few newcomers. Here’s what to expect…

The opening night feature is Look at Me, written, directed and starring Agnes Jaoui (the filmmaker behind the brilliant The Taste of Others). Look at Me is a social comedy set in Paris that follows the interactions of nasty, self-involved but somehow sympathetic characters as they navigate their lives and relationships. The film won the Best Screenplay award at Cannes and should be a hell of a way to kick off the festival.

Opening and closing nights are usually when the big floats are on parade. But there are so many biggies at the NYFF, the parade lasts all week. If you’re looking to really feel “film festive” by watching a complicated foreign film, look for Jean-Luc Godard’s Notre Musique. Godard’s latest is a blend of documentary and fiction about war. Instead of following a single storyline, the film is split into three segments - Hell, Purgatory and Paradise - and travels between these after-life locales and war-torn spots such as Sarajevo. Definitely a thinking viewer’s film…

If you’re looking for more cinematic heavyweights, check out Ingmar Bergman’s Saraband, the sequel to his 1973 Scenes from a Marriage that moves the drama to the next generation - and the power struggle between the couple’s middle-aged son and his daughter. You can also catch Eric Rohmer’s latest, Triple Agent, a film about a Russian general and his wife, living in Paris and engaging in political and marital tango.

Perhaps your best shot for impressing your friends with I-saw-it-first-ishness is if you can catch Almodovar’s newbie, Bad Education. The film stars “it hombre” Gael Garcia Bernal as one of two school mates who reconnect and reminisce about their Catholic school days and a particularly predatory priest. If you’re not chomping at the bit to see the latest after the brilliant Talk to Her, well, what the hell are you doing at a film festival?

Annika Sundin, JoshMcLane & Rachael Roberts

You’ll also want to check out Tarnation, the documentary by Jonathan Caouette that chronicles his relationship with his schizophrenic mother. The film includes photos, home movies, answering machine messages and more - some of which was gathered when Caouette when just a child. Fascinating stuff.

And just when you think you can sit before a big screen no longer, the closing night film Sideways sucks you back in. Director Alexander Payne (About Schmidt) brings Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church together in this bittersweet buddy film. The twosome travel California’s wine country and - as often happens when partaking in the good stuff - they explore their lives, loves and places on the planet. Sideways promises to be a great NYFF find.

So take your pick. You’ve got lots of good choices and can hardly miss amongst them. Scoring tickets, however, may be another issue.



The New York Film Festival runs October 1-17 at the Lincoln Center. For more information, go to http://www.filmlinc.com/

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