Films at the 35th New York Film Festival

New York Film Festival Special Events

Wojciech Has Retrospective

Views from the Avant Garde

Film descriptions courtesy of the New York Film Festival.
Screenings are at Alice Tully Hall except as noted.
(AFH = Avery Fisher Hall; ATH = Alice Tully Hall).

(Opening Night)
The Ice Storm
Ang Lee

The Saragossa Manuscript
A New York Film Festival Retrospective.
Toward the end of the Napoleonic era, a Belgian military officer (played by the great Zbigniew Cybulski) embarks on a fantastic series of adventures designed by two beautiful princesses as a test of his worthiness to woo them. Postmodern before such a concept existed, and long a countercultural favorite (it was reportedly musician Jerry Garcia's favorite movie), this masterpiece by director Wojciech Has has finally been restored (with the help of Martin Scorsese) to its full-length glory, allowing the intricate design of the storytelling and imagery to shine forth as never before. 180 minutes. Poland, 1965.
27A. Sat. September 27 at 11:30 am

Mother And Son
Director Aleksandr Sokurov (Whispering Pages) has created a startlingly beautiful testament to the love between a mother and son and the torments of separation and guilt. Evoking Russian folktales and the paintings of Caspar David Friedrich, Sokurov's emotionally charged and meticulously controlled landscapes dreamily stretch time and space and take the viewer into another realm of experience. The visionary Sokurov is justly recognized as one of contemporary cinema's most daring and important artists and a true master of the moving canvas. 73 minutes. Germany/Russia, 1997. An International Film Circuit Release.
27B. Sat. September 27 at 3:30 pm

Post-coïtum, animal triste
Brigitte Roüan

Love And Death On Long Island
Richard Kwietniowski

Taste Of Cherry (Ta'm e guilass)
A solitary man contemplating suicide drives through the hilly outskirts of Teheran in search of someone who will bury him if he succeeds, save him if he fails. Iranian master Abbas Kiarostami (Through the Olive Trees) offers a sublime spiritual parable about life's possibilities. 96 minutes. Iran, 1997. Preceded by THE HOUSE IS BLACK, a radical humanist documentary about a leper colony by the great Persian poet Forough Farrokhzad. 21 minutes. Iran, 1962.
28B. Sun. September 28 at 4:00 pm

Performance artist, comedian, actor, writer and omnipresent television personality, director Takeshi Kitano stars as a former police detective who considers himself responsible for his ex-partner's crippling injury. Determined to make amends, he devises a master plan that includes robbing a bank, tangling with a loan shark and launching his friend on a career as a painter--all the while arranging for a final trip to the seaside with his terminally-ill wife. Breathlessly moving from outrageous humor to highly stylized violence to scenes of unexpected emotional power, Kitano--whose sly wit and hard-boiled, yakuza-like demeanor has made him the toast of Japan -- has created his finest work to date. 101 minutes. Japan, 1997.
28C. Sun. September 28 at 7:00 pm
29B. Mon. September 29 at 9:00 pm

Orphans of the Storm
We are proud to present the world premiere of the Museum of Modern Art's restoration of the immortal classic, ORPHANS OF THE STORM, directed by D.W. Griffith. In this sweeping historical spectacle, Lillian and Dorothy Gish play two sisters separated by the frenetic chaos of the French Revolution. Never was Griffith's amazing ability to stage crowd scenes more assured, nor his mixture of historical fact, fiction and fantasy more sensational. With Gillian Anderson conducting the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra. 143 minutes, USA, 1922. At Avery Fisher Hall.
29F. Mon. September 29 at 8:00 pm AFH

From Today Until Tomorrow
Danielle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub, masters of avant-garde cinema, train their meticulous craft upon Arnold Schonberg's rarely seen or heard 1929 comic opera about married life. Filmed in dazzling black and white on a studio set with live musical accompaniment, this intimate musical "long night's journey into day" is an object lesson in how to stage opera on film. Straub/Huillet have made a movie at once highly theatrical and totally cinematic. 62 minutes. France/Germany, 1996.
29A. Mon. September 29 at 6:15 pm

Fast, Cheap & Out Of Control
Errol Morris, maker of one-of-a-kind documentaries (Gates of Heaven, The Thin Blue Line) surpasses himself in his mysterious and beautiful new work, which improbably and provocatively intercuts interviews with a wild animal trainer, a topiary gardener, a mole-rat specialist and a robot scientist. Though each is in a separate world, Morris asks us to contemplate what makes them four-of-a-kind, as his film explores the metaphysical meeting point among the animal, the mechanical and the human. The result is Morris' most personal and mind-bending meditation yet. 82 minutes. USA, 1996. Sony Pictures Classics. Preceded by WHIPLASH, the last work by experimental filmmaker Warren Sonbert, a globe-spanning collage haunted by thoughts of mortality. 22 minutes. USA, 1997.
30A. Tues. September 30 at 6:00 pm

Martin (Hache)
Martin is the name shared by both father and son, yet beyond that they seem to have little else in common. A near brush with death brings young Martin, known as "Hache," from Buenos Aires to live with his expatriate father in Madrid; encouraged and at times provoked by the elder Martin's sometime lover and full-time best friend, father and son engage in an emotional mano a mano that traces the fautlines of recent Argentine history. Aided by superb performances, especially by Federico Luppi as the elder Martin, Adolfo Aristarain has made a provocative, refreshingly intelligent portrait of generations divided by history, politics, and even taste in art, yet searching for some common ground. 130 minutes. Argentina/Spain, 1997.
30B. Tues. September 30 at 9:00 pm
1A. Weds. October 1 at 6:00 pm

A beautiful young woman, orphaned when her grandmother dies, moves into the ultramodern Hong Kong home of a trendily dressed hairdresser and his nightclub-owning mother, a woman with a highly surprising history. Director Yim Ho has taken the internationally acclaimed novel by Banana Yoshimoto, transposed it from Japan to Hong Kong, and turned her poignant, romantic tale into something vibrantly his own. Veering from wild, almost Almodóvaresque comedy to dreamy lyricism, this story of loss, grief and the gradually dawning love of two unlikely soul mates achieves a startling and seductive intimacy. 124 minutes. Hong Kong/Japan, 1996.
1B. Weds. October 1 at 9:15 pm
2A. Thurs. October 2 at 6:00 pm

Kiss or Kill
Australian writer-director Bill Bennett turns to a noir staple - a killer couple on the run, both scam artists fleeing cross-country with the police close behind - and virtually reinvents the form with a lively jump-cut style, luscious and scenic cinematography, and a pot of escalating paranoia where mutual mistrust becomes coin of the realm. The action turns on a dime while the characters continually head off into quirky unexpected directions. One feels that if film noir hadn't already existed, Bill Bennett would have invented it. 95 minutes. Australia, 1996. An October Films Release. 2B. Thurs. October 2 at 9:15 pm
4E. Sat. October 4 at 11:45 pm

My Life in Pink/Ma Vie en Rose
"I'm a boy," says little Ludovic, "but one day I'll be a girl." The delicate and potentially controversial subject of cross-gender identity is given tender, humane, and loving treatment in director Alain Berliner's first feature. Using a bright palette and a highly textured mingling of social realism and fantasy, the film places Ludovic's desires and dilemmas in a richly evolved setting of family, school, and neighborhood life. Without sentimentality and, above all, eschewing farce, MY LIFE IN PINK movingly explores a world in which parents, siblings, and neighbors struggle over understanding and accepting difference. 88 minutes. Belgium/France/U.K., 1997. Sony Pictures Classics Release.
3A. Fri. October 3 at 6:00 pm
5A. Sun. October 5 at 1:30 pm

Washington Square
Henry James' classic novella --filmed as The Heiress by William Wyler --is boldly re-exploredby filmmaker Agnieszka Holland (Europa, Europa) and a dream cast that includes Jennifer Jason-Leigh, Albert Finney, Ben Chaplin and Maggie Smith. Leigh is the unprepossessing Catherine Sloper, the devoted daughter of a wealthy, widowed New York doctor (Finney) who is chillingly resigned to her spinsterhood. Enter a handsome, impoverished suitor (Chaplin), whose declaration of love transforms her life. But is his passion genuine or mercenary? Holland elevates the genre of literary adaptation from the picturesque to the profound. 115 minutes. USA, 1997. A Hollywood Pictures/Caravan Pictures Release. 3B. Fri. October 3 at 9:00 pm
4B. Sat. October 4 at 2:30 pm

Public Housing
In his latest examination of American institutions, Fred Wiseman turns his unwavering eye on the poor who inhabit Chicago's Ida B. Wells public housing development. We've read about the despair of urban poverty and the grinding cycles of addiction, unemployment, racial discrimination and teenage pregnancies, but here we witness the Byzantine intricacies of the relationships between the residents and the police, the guidance and drug counselors, and the representatives of state and federal agencies. Some offer hope and the groundwork for improvement, others preach an unattainable utopia. This remarkable film takes us into corners that all Americans should know. 200 minutes. USA, 1997.
4A. Sat. October 4 at 10:00 am

Muslim Andalusia, in the 12th century. Abu ibn Rushd, the great Arab philosopher known as Averroës throughout Christian Europe, inspires his many young followers of all faiths to study and to assess the teachings of the classical Greek philosophers. Yet there are those who would stop all such speculation, seeing this kind of intellectual exploration as a frontal assault on narrow religious orthodoxy. Awarded a special prize this year at Cannes for his remarkable, incredibly courageous body of work, director Youssef Chahine has created in DESTINY a deeply felt, exuberant historical fresco with profound implications for today--as well as a few rousing musical numbers. 135 minutes. Egypt/France, 1997.4C. Sat. October 4 at 5:30 pm
5C. Sun. October 5 at 7:30 pm


The Sweet Hereafter
Atom Egoyan

Voyage To The Beginning Of The World
In what would be his last film, Marcello Mastroianni plays a film director on location in Portugal; during a break, one of his actors--born and raised in France but of Portuguese descent-- travels with the director and two fellow actors to his father's birthplace. No one except the great octogenarian Manoel de Oliveira could have brought to this delicate, simple tale such a powerful sense of memory and longing, of the myriad, often contradictory feelings that can emerge when reflecting on life's journey and the distances traveled. Mastroianni is surely a stand-in for Oliveira himself, yet the actor's extraordinary presence--and perhaps our knowledge of his impending death-- colors his performance with a deeply personal, almost self-reflective quality. 93 minutes. Portugal/France, 1997. A Strand Releasing Release.
6A. Mon. October 6 at 6:00 pm

Deep Crimson
Arturo Ripstein

Fallen Angels
In his follow up to Chunking Express, the dazzling Wong Kar-Wai constructs his most frenetic and exhilarating portrait of honky tonk Hong Kong. A professional hit man, his glamorous booking agent, and a mute ex-con who breaks into stores after hours and forces his customers to buy his wares are among the memorable characters who charge headlong through this neon-lit city of endless night, searching for love and finding sensation. With virtuoso, hand-held cinematography by Christopher Doyle, this supercharged work confirms Wong's position as the reigning poet of missed connections. 95 minutes. Hong Kong, 1995. A Kino International Release.
7B. Tues. October 7 at 9:15 pm

Boogie Nights
Who says Hollywood is low risk? Paul Thomas Anderson's mesmerizing epic of the porno industry in the late 70s and early 80s restores faith in studio daring. Mark Wahlberg stars as a Southern California teenager who parlays his prodigious endowment into stardom as porn icon, "Dirk Diggler." Brilliantly recreating an era of bellbottoms, disco and wretched pharmaceutical and sexual excess, the gifted 27-year-old Anderson shocks and surprises us with a view of the porn world that is both satirical and compassionate. Burt Reynolds gives his best performance as the filmmaker/patriarch of an oddball sex-movie "family" that includes Julianne Moore, William H. Macy, Don Cheadle and Ricky Jay. A stunningly crafted provocation, BOOGIE NIGHTS is sure to be the most talked about Hollywood movie of the year. 152 minutes. USA,1997. A New Line Cinema Release.
8A. Weds. October 8 at 6:00 pm
10B. Fri. October 10 at 9:00 pm

La Vie De Jesus
Winner of France's Prix Jean Vigo for best first film, LA VIE DE JESUS is set in northern France, where a Flemish reticence hovers over languid landscapes and stagnant towns. The protagonist, Freddy, has epileptic fits, a deep love for his blonde girlfriend Marie, and a crew of buddies, unemployed 20-year-olds like himself, with whom he careens around the countryside on mopeds. Writer/director Bruno Dumont captures with astonishing clarity the texture of small town life with its modest yet unrealized dreams, offhand eroticism and seething undertone of violence. A passion play for our times. 96 minutes. France, 1997.
8B. Weds. October 8 at 9:30 pm
11B. Sat. October 11 at 3:00 pm

Telling Lies in America
A luminous and sensitive memory piece from a most unexpected source --screenwriter Joe (Basic Instinct) Eszterhas. In what is clearly his most autobiographical work, he takes us to 1961 Cleveland where a Hungarian immigrant's teenage son (Brad Renfro) learns about sex, self-invention and rock 'n' roll from a dubious mentor named Billy Magic. Kevin Bacon plays this slick DJ on the take, and he's a knockout. Maximillian Schell and wonderful newcomer Calista Flockhart give touching performances under Guy Ferland's beautifully understated direction. This unhyped gem astutely explores the comforts and costs of becoming an American. 101 minutes. USA, 1997. A Banner Pictures Release.
9A. Thurs. October 9 at 6:00 pm
11C. Sat. October 11 at 6:00 pm

The Apostle
Robert Duvall, in what may be his most complex and indelible role, plays "Sonny" Dewey, a devout Pentecostal preacher in Texas on the lam from the law. Seeking salvation for an act of violence, he baptizes himself "The Apostle" and sets up a new ministry in a Black Louisiana bayou town. This labor of love, written, directed and financed by Duvall, explores the evangelical world with fresh, uncompromising eyes, never stooping to stereotypes. The brilliant cast includes Farrah Fawcett (as Sonny's estranged wife), Miranda Richardson, Billy Bob Thornton, and John Beasley. It's American independent filmmaking at its best. 148 minutes. USA, 1997.
9B. Thurs. October 9 at 8:45 pm
11A. Sat. October 11 at 11:30 am

Happy Together
Wong Kar-Wai

Marcello Mastroianni, I Remember...
Anna Maria Tato

(Closing Night)
Live Flesh
Pedro Almodóvar's gorgeous new film opens in Franco's Madrid --on a particularly bad night of his stifling regime. We flash forward into Almodóvar's Madrid --a city of explosive vibrancy and activity yet haunted by the ghosts of the past. Here he sets his most glittering drama --a thriller involving the tangled interrelationships of two cops (Javier Bardem, Pepe Sancho), a philandering wife (Angela Molina), a diplomat's daughter (Francesca Neri) and his wide-eyed protagonist, ardently played by Liberto Rabal. While on the surface Almodóvar presents us with a glittering hard candy--sparkling with sex and humor--underneath we sense his attraction to the Bunuelian issues of death, destiny and guilt. 100 minutes. Spain, 1997. At Avery Fisher Hall.
12C. Sun. October 12 at 9:00 pm AFH

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