The New York Film Festival (NYFF), produced by Film at Lincoln Center, is in its 59th edition. Last year it took place on ZOOM, because we were in the midst of a pandemic and isolation was crucial to contain the virus. This year we’re still in a pandemic but now we have a vaccine that, despite the irresponsible behavior of those who still reject it, will allow the event to come back live. Some events will remain outdoors or virtual but with proof of vaccination (at least two weeks after the final dose) and masks, the audience can go back to theaters.
“We can’t wait to welcome New York Film Festival audiences back to Lincoln Center this fall, and what a way to do that!” said the Director of the event, Eugene Hernandez, pointing out that last year’s virtual pivot, “Our Festival traveled to Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and around the country via our Virtual Cinema. This year we’re back in our Upper West Side home, but you’ll also find us exploring new venues and ways to connect with moviegoers in person, outdoors, and online — stay tuned!”
As in the past, the movies will be divided into five sections: Main Slate (the heart and historic core of the program), Currents (complements the Main Slate, tracing a more complete picture of contemporary cinema with an emphasis on new and innovative forms and voices), Spotlight (NYFF’s showcase of the season’s most anticipated and significant films), Revivals (showcases important works from renowned filmmakers that have been digitally remastered, restored, and preserved with the assistance of generous partners) e-Talks (features in-depth conversations with filmmakers, critics, curators, and more).
On September 24th, the festival will open with “Tragedy of Macbeth” by Joel Coen. The filmmaker directs Denzel Washington and his wife Frances McDormand in this black-and-white adaptation that the press release calls “a work of stark chiaroscuro and incantatory rage…an anguished film that stares, mouth agape, at a sorrowful world undone by blind greed and thoughtless ambition”. Several years ago McDormand herself asked her husband to direct her in a stage show but the director refused because he felt insicure as a stage director. But when, in 2016, Daniel Sullivan put the play on stage, Coen was so struck by Frances’ interpretation of Lady Macbeth that he decided that hell yeah, he wanted to direct her. He just had to conceive a cinematographic version. And here is a reading of the tragedy that, compared to the original tragedy, sees the two protagonists in a “post-menopause” age – which adds some urgencies and seriousness to their ambition – and shifts it a little more towards the thriller genre. Coen himself claims: “It’s interesting how Shakespeare sort of pre-figured certain tropes in American thriller and crime literature that were common in the early part of the 20th century. That kind of fiction I used to read as a kid. I thought it would be interesting to bring certain aspects of that to the production of the movie”.
The festival will open on September 24th, tickets will be on sale starting on the 7th and it will end on October 10th.