Steve McQueen, Chloe Zhao, Garrett Bradley, Azazel Jacobs and More: The New York Film Festival Announces its 2020 Main Slate
Nyff58 French Exit 1600x900 Credit Photo By Tobias Datum. Courtesy Of Sony Pictures Classics 628x348.jpg

French exit

The New York Film Festival today announced the 25 films from 19 countries that make up the 2020 Main Slate. "The disorientation and uncertainty of this difficult year has led us to return to Core Principles," said Dennis Lim, program director at NYFF, in a press release. “To put it simply, the Main Slate is our collective answer to a central question: Which films are important to us right now? Films are neither made nor experienced in a vacuum, and while the works in our program precede the present moment of crisis, I notice how many of them resonate with our unexplained present or represent a means of overcoming it. It has been a pleasure and privilege to work with a brilliant, tireless programming team – the newly formed selection committee and our new advisory team – and we are delighted that audiences are discovering and discussing these films. "

There are more than the usual number of American independent filmmakers in the mix, including Garrett Bradley, with the filmmaker's current title film, Time; former 25 new faces Azazel Jacobs, Heidi Ewing and Chloe Zhao; Documentary filmmakers both veteran (Frederick Wiseman) and new (Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw); and producer / editor / director Sam Pollard. There is also the rare first-time filmmaker at the NYFF Main Slate: Georgian film director Dea Kulumbegashvili, who studied filmmaking at both New School and Columbia.

The Main Slate Selection Committee, chaired by Dennis Lim, consists of Eugene Hernandez, Florence Almozini, K. Austin Collins and Rachel Rosen. Sofia Tate is the NYFF program coordinator and Violeta Bava, Michelle Carey, Leo Goldsmith, Rachael Rakes and Gina Telaroli are serving as festival advisors. Matt Bolish is the producer for NYFF.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, this year the festival, which runs from September 17 to October 11, is focusing on outdoor and virtual events, as well as drive-in screenings.

According to the press release, the full list is given below:

Opening night
Lovers rock
Steve McQueen, 2020, Great Britain, 68 m
Lovers Rock, a film of tactile sensuality and floating joy, finds the always daring Steve McQueen (Hunger, 12 years slave) in an ecstatic, but no less formally bold mode. The intoxicating Lovers Rock from 1980 was produced as part of McQueen's ambitious, multi-faceted Small Ax, a collection of decades-long films exploring diverse lives in the West Indian community of London. He mostly plays over one night at a house party. While McQueen and co-screenwriter Courttia Newland have constructed their ethereal narrative of the growing pull between Martha (newcomer Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn) and a brooding stranger (Micheal Ward), the film is equally about the rapture of music, especially music Reggae The genre of the title – typical of the impotent heart of the film in Janet Kay's euphoric 1979 single "Silly Games" – and the thrill and liberation of moving bodies miraculously photographed by Shabier Kirchner. A release from Amazon Studios.

Nomad land
Chloé Zhao, 2020, USA, 108 m
Frances McDormand delivers a beautiful performance of restrained grace and sensitivity in this richly structured third feature film by director Chloé Zhao (The Rider, NYFF55), adapted from Jessica Bruder's acclaimed 2017 non-fiction book about traveling elderly Americans. Against the great backdrop of the American West, Nomadland tells the story of a year in the life of Fern (McDormand), a stoic, tenaciously independent widow who spent her adult life in a now-defunct corporate town and re-used an old van and sets in search of seasonal work. In addition to McDormand, the film features profound twists and turns from David Strathairn and a supportive cast of non-actors, all of whom are true "nomads," playing versions of themselves. With this road movie for our precarious times, Zhao establishes himself as one of the clearest and most humane chroniclers of contemporary cinema on the American fringes. A Searchlight Pictures publication.

Close at night
French exit
Azazel Jacobs, 2020, USA, 110 m
Michelle Pfeiffer is utterly bewitching as Frances Price, an authoritative, widowed New York celebrity whose once-extreme wealth has shrunk to a nub. Faced with bankruptcy, she makes the decision to flee the city on a cruise ship and move into her friend's empty Paris apartment with her dyspeptic son Malcolm (Lucas Hedges) and her mercury cat Small Frank (voiced by Tracy Letts). There, Frances and Malcolm reckon with their past and plan an impossible future as their social circle expands in unexpected and increasingly absurd ways. This adaptation of Patrick deWitt's bestselling novel is a rare American film of real eccentricity, elegantly directed by Azazel Jacobs (The Lovers), and featuring a brilliant performance of stylish austerity by Pfeiffer, whose every intonation is a miracle. A Sony Pictures Classics publication.

Atarrabi and Mikelats
Eugène Green, 2020, France / Belgium, 123 m
Eugène Green (last seen on NYFF with The Son of Joseph from 2016) creates an original fable in modern dress in his inimitable style, which lies on the border between serious spirituality and cunning satire. Atarrabi and Mikelats are brothers who were born minutes apart and are the children of the mighty goddess Mari. After their mother surrenders them to the devil and makes him their teacher and caretaker – after all, he's a scholar and the "height of the hip" – the boys become polar opposites. The curious, holy Atarrabi (Saia Hiriart) wants to see the world beyond its hiding place; The evil, diabolical Mikelats (Lukas Hiriart) prefers to stay and pledges his soul to his master. Green & # 39; s entertaining, episodic and exceedingly beautiful film is a strikingly original vision of good and bad and the importance of humility and humanity in a fearful world.

Dea Kulumbegashvili, 2020, Georgia, 125 m
In her impressive feature film debut, the Georgian filmmaker Dea Kulumbegashvili tells rigorous, compositionally complex frameworks to tell the devastating story of a persecuted family of Jehovah's Witnesses missionaries from the perspective of a woman and a mother. After a shocking arson at the place of worship she and her husband set up in a remote village outside Tbilisi, Yana (Ia Sukhitashvili) gets caught in a spiral of confusion and doubt. Her suffering is only exacerbated by her degraded treatment in the hands of the local police. Beginning is an occasionally harrowing portrayal of the role of women in religious and secular society, and heralds a significant new entry into the world cinema scene.

The reassurance
Song Fang, 2020, China, 93 m
A film of captivating beauty and tranquility, the second feature film by Song Fang – whose Memories Look at Me (NYFF50) was a work of graceful autobiography – follows a young film director who moves after a trip through Japan, China and Hong Kong Breaking up relationships: presenting her Work, dealing with friends and artists and dealing with the realities of aging parents. Amidst it all, Lin (an effortlessly curious Qi Xi) absorbs both lush nature and imposing urban landscapes, a woman who is both alone and constantly occupied in the ever-changing environment around her. Song's film refuses to impose psychological motivation on Lin's travels or her art, rather than allowing the viewer to experience the disappointments and bliss of the world with her and perhaps bear testimony of creative rejuvenation.

The town hall
Frederick Wiseman, 2020, USA, 272 m
The non-agenarian national treasure Frederick Wiseman returns with another kaleidoscopic look at the function and practice of community, politics and civic engagement in shaping the everyday life of Americans. This time around, Wiseman trains his view of the inner workings of the city of Boston, taking the audience out into the public eye and into the back room discussions that can either inspire or stall community action. As in recent works of pervasive institutional analysis such as At Berkeley and In Jackson Heights, Wiseman shows – without editing or broadsides – a country's moves toward inclusivity and social reform, as well as the entrenched systems that keep progress in relative control. Wiseman's top-down approach to government agency appeals to the multicultural and immigrant communities and businesses of the Boston neighborhoods and suburbs, while also representing the entire nation that continually wrestles with its heritage and debates its future. A release from Zipporah Films.

Tsai Ming-liang, 2020, Taiwan / France, 127 m
The great Taiwanese filmmaker Tsai Ming-liang has led exquisite investigations into alienation, isolation, and the fleeting beauty of human connections with his muse Lee Kang-sheng for decades. His latest film, Days – his first full-length fiction since 2013's great Stray Dogs (NYFF51) – will undoubtedly be considered one of his finest, most economical, and intimate works. Lee plays a variation of himself again, wanders through a lonely urban landscape and seeks treatment for a chronic illness in Hong Kong. At the same time, a young Laotian immigrant who works in Bangkok and is played by Anong Houngheuangsy goes about his everyday life. These two lonely men eventually come together in a moment of healing, tenderness, and sexual liberation. Days is one of the most cathartic entries in Tsai's filmography and is a work of yearning constructed with the director's usual brilliance in visual composition and permeated with deep empathy. A release from Grasshopper Film.

The student
Chaitanya Tamhane, 2020, India, 128 m
Indian filmmaker Chaitanya Tamhane became a sensation after the runaway international success of his feature film debut Court 2014. His much-anticipated follow-up, The Disciple, is a finely crafted love work set in the world of traditional Indian music. The classic Hindustani singer – and notable leading actor – Aditya Modak plays Sharad, a man living in Mumbai who makes it his goal in life to follow in his father's footsteps and practice the centuries-old khayal musical tradition. Over the years, Sharad becomes increasingly disillusioned as he seeks divine purity in a world that is transitioning into mild commercialization. The Disciple is a refined but uncompromising portrait of a young artist's journey, dreams and loneliness, with some extraordinary musical performances.

Victor Kossakovsky, 2020, Norway, 93 m
Gunda is a sow who lives on a farm in Norway. When documentary filmmaker Victor Kossakovsky first visits her, she has just given birth to a litter of piglets, and his patient camera is watching as they reach for their milk and take their cautious, swaying steps into a new world. This remarkable intimacy extends and evolves into an unprecedented portrait of animal life – which includes herds of cows and curious unpenned chickens – that brings us unusually close to these creatures and manages to express their consciousness without openly anthropomorphizing them. Completely wordless, Gunda offers impressive natural sound design and razor-sharp, pastoral black and white cinematography to tell his compassionate story. Like all of Kossakovsky's works (¡Vivan las Antípodas !, Aquarela), it is visionary in its simplicity, amazement and urgency. A NEON release.

I carry you with me (Te llevo conmigo)
Heidi Ewing, 2020, USA / Mexico, 111 m
I Carry You With Me (Te llevo conmigo) is one of the most emotionally resonant and innovative cinematic love stories for years and shows the budding romance between Iván (Armando Espitia), a half-closed young father and restaurant worker, and Gerardo (Christian Vázquez), a high school teacher who has dealt better with his sexuality. When Iván makes the decision to leave Mexico and find new life and work opportunities across the US border, the two men will have to make difficult decisions about their future. In her narrative feature film debut, Heidi Ewing (Oscar-nominated for Jesus Camp) brings unexpected and brilliant documentary elements into a beguiling, humane story in which everyday struggle is inextricably linked with transcendent romanticism. A Sony Pictures Classics publication.

Matías Piñeiro, 2020, Argentina, 80 m
In his most conspicuous film to date, the Argentine filmmaker Matías Piñeiro continues to investigate the permeable boundary between performance and daily ritual. As in such subtly magical everyday dramas like The Princess of France (NYFF52) and Hermia & Helena (NYFF54), Piñeiro uses a Shakespeare text to anchor a casual but intellectually rigorous examination of the love, work, and futile pursuits of life out the smallest gestures. Isabella takes inspiration from Measure for Measure, with regular Piñeiro players María Villar and Agustina Muñoz as Mariel, a teacher with stage desires, and Luciana, a more established actress. The filmmaker jumps around in time, from the days before a crucial audition to years later after the women move on to other dreams; In the meantime, we keep coming back to their collaboration on a charming James Turrell-like light installation. Piñeiro's art has never been so graceful and structurally complex as in this work of consolation amidst fear and doubt. A Cinema Guild publication.

Cristi Puiu, 2020, Romania, 200 m
A Christmas Eve at the turn of the century, when five members of the European elite gather in an elegant Transylvanian estate, becomes the scene of an increasingly intense series of conversations. These philosophical elaborations on good and evil, Jesus and the devil, and war and peace, take place in a series of well-appointed rooms with the utmost gentleness, but with the smoldering violence beneath its veneer of politics and the occasional shocking nature of the subject matter, come to hand You to reveal nothing less than the invasive horrors of the colonial mindset. Romanian director Cristi Puiu (The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, NYFF43) has created a flawless, sometimes terrible vision, a portrait of the damned that would only seem absurd if it didn't feel so timely.

Steve McQueen, 2020, Great Britain, 126 m
In the late 1960s, Frank Crichlow, the Trinidadian-born owner of a cafe in Notting Hill, London, and his establishment became increasingly the target of intimidation and brutality by white police. The mangrove restaurant, a meeting place for the local West Indian community as well as for the region's black activists and intellectuals, was searched several times without any evidence of illegal activity. Eventually, the fed up community took to the streets in protest, leading to the arrest and violent treatment of several demonstrators. An epic piece from Steve McQueen's Small Ax anthology, this vibrant and gripping dramatization of these events, and the resulting seminal trial of the 1970 defendants known as the Mangrove Nine, some of whom acted as their own attorney, is a stinging one Indictment of a system rotten by racism and a powerful portrait of resistance passionately performed by a notable cast led by Shaun Parkes as Crichlow, Letitia Wright as Altheia Jones-LaCointe and Malachi Kirby as Darcus Howe. A release from Amazon Studios.

Sam Pollard, 2020, USA, 104 m
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is now known as an American hero: a bridge builder, shrewd political tactician, and moral leader. However, during his history-changing political career, he was frequently treated like an enemy of the state by US intelligence and law enforcement agencies. In this virtuoso documentary, veteran editor and director Sam Pollard (Two Trains Runnin, NYFF54) extensively describes the FBI surveillance that pursued King's activism in the 1950s and 1960s, fueled by the racist and red-baiting paranoia of J. Edgar Hoover. In creating a rich archive tapestry of insightfully restored footage of King's footage, Pollard urges us to remember that true American progress is always difficult to come by.

Night of kings
Philippe Lacôte, 2020, France / Ivory Coast / Canada / Senegal, 93 m
In the Maca correctional facility in the Ivorian capital Abidjan, inmates run the prison, a place that is almost ruled by superstition. Tonight, after the rising of a red moon, a newly arrived prisoner (Koné Bakary), detained for pickpocketing, was chosen by the autocratic Lord Black Beard to take the position of "Roman" (storyteller): he must keep his fellow inmates entertain with wild stories or risk your own life. As this Scheherazade-like scenario unfolds, he tells the story of Zama, his childhood friend who became a legendary crime boss. Night of the Kings pays homage to the tradition of the griot in West African culture and a work of Shakespearean fabulism and gripping, energetic cinema, an overall original vision by the Ivory Coast breakout filmmaker Philippe Lacôte.

Gianfranco Rosi, 2020, Italy / France / Germany, 100 m
Gianfranco Rosi, whose last film, the Oscar-nominated documentary Fire at Sea (NYFF54) won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, returns with a haunting non-fiction book. Notturno (Nocturne) was filmed over a period of three years along the borders of Iraq, Kurdistan, Syria and Lebanon and is a nocturnal foray into a region of the world that has been shaken and shattered by disaster and violence. With fascinating visual compositions and heartbreaking attention to the plight of those who experienced the rise of IS in the vacuum created by the US invasion, Rosi leads the viewer through a theater rehearsal in a psychiatric department. on the quiet journeys of snipers, soldiers, and fishermen; and a classroom where children tell harrowing testimonies of atrocities they have seen. People live in these borderline worlds while constantly being haunted by an ever-present existential threat. Rosi's extraordinary film is a reminder that people carry on every day, even in the darkest of circumstances.

Red, white and blue
Steve McQueen, 2020, UK
John Boyega plays the real-life character Leroy Logan, a member of the London Metropolitan Police Force who witnessed and experienced firsthand the basic racism of the organization. Set in the 1980s, McQueen's film captures Logan's growing awareness of a system he would one day try to dismantle from the inside out, while at the same time focusing on his relationship with his father, a victim of white police brutality who initially settled refuses to accept his son's decision to enter law enforcement. Red, White, and Blue, an entry in McQueen's Small Ax anthology that charted various lives over three decades in the city's West Indian community, are emotionally charged and politically charged, with a passionate but nuanced performance by Boyega. A release from Amazon Studios.

The salt of tears
Philippe Garrel, 2020, France, 100 m
Experienced filmmaker Philippe Garrel is again drafting a precise and economical study of young love and its prejudices, which gradually develops into an emotionally resonant moral story. The handsome Luc (Logann Antuofermo), who follows in his aging father's footsteps to study the craft of furniture joining, doesn't seem to have any problems meeting and dating women. When the film opens, he aggressively advertises Djemila (Oulaya Amamra) at a Paris bus stop. Skeptical and yet ultimately trusting, Djemila won't be Luc's only one. Constructed and composed with crystalline rigor and together with Jean-Claude Carrière and Arlette Langmann, who worked on Garrel's last two films In the Shadow of Women (NYFF53) and Lover for a Day (NYFF55) ​​- The Salt of Tears is a Pocket portrait showing the enduring vitality of one of the great observers of French cinema of the callowness of youth. A Distrib Films release.

Swim until the sea turns blue
Jia Zhangke, 2020, China, 112 m
The outstanding film chronicler of 21st century China, Jia Zhangke (last seen two years ago on NYFF with his masterful Ash Is Purest White), looks back at the distant past in his surprising, complex new documentary. In Shanxi Province, where Jia grew up, the filmmaker brings together three prominent authors – Jia Pingwa, Yu Hua, and Liang Hong – and commemorates the legacy of the late writer Ma Feng around a tapestry testifying to the drastic changes in Chinese life to create and culture that began with the social revolution of the 50s. In 18 chapters, interspersed with impressive, impressionistic interludes, Jia tells a far-reaching, discursive story that touches upon the movements in literature, the experiences of farmers and intellectuals, as well as life in the city and in the country and as a reminder of the essential power of oral transmission of the story to future generations.

Garrett Bradley, 2020, USA, 81 m
Louisiana wife Fox Rich's tireless 21-year campaign to secure her husband's release from prison after serving a 60-year robbery sentence becomes a work of cinematic alchemy at the hands of filmmaker Garrett Bradley. She's made a film made up of both newly recorded footage and archive footage from decades of home videos that Rich recorded to document her days, months, and years of waiting. It is an exquisitely stitched tale of the strength and resilience of a mother of six that also functions as a personal perspective on America's black mass incarceration crisis. Bradley's film features impressive black and white cinematography that creates a sense of timelessness, even when we feel like time is passing inexorably. Bradley's film is a rarity: a work of aesthetic nerve and social significance. A release from Amazon Studios.

Tragic jungle
Yulene Olaizola, 2020, Mexico, 96 m
In her completed fifth feature film, the Mexican filmmaker Yulene Olaizola immerses the viewer in a richly drawn, tactile experience that serves both as a gripping adventure and as a contemplative reflection on the brutality and splendor of nature. The tragic jungle is set in the 1920s in the deep thicket of a tropical Mayan rainforest along the Rio Hondo – then the border between Mexico and British Honduras, now Belize – and follows Agnes (Indira Andrewin), a young woman who is desperately trying to to flee with her sister She does not want to marry the white British landowner. With the armed man and on her trail, she hardly gets away and is discovered by a troop of chicleros – rubber tree workers – who become both her rescuers and their kidnappers. Olaizola's film is shot alive by cinematographer Sofia Oggioni and becomes a completely unexpected tale of myth and superstition, in which the jungle itself acts like a living being and naturally takes revenge on the men whose little inhumanities make its trunks and vines bloody .

The truffle hunters
Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw, 2020, Italy / USA / Greece, 84 m
This gripping and beautifully filmed documentary immerses the viewer in the forests of northern Italy, where dogs, accompanied by their older, often indescribable human owners who scrape past with modest means, search for the precious white Alba truffle. This expensive mushroom is one of the most coveted delicacies in the culinary world and, thanks to the olfactory abilities of these heroic canines, only finds its way onto the plates of wealthy restaurant guests. The Truffle Hunters is a portrayal of both a ritual, antiquated way of life and the savage economic inequality of a situation that can lead to greed and cruelty. She is revealing, earthy, and overall human. A Sony Pictures Classics publication.

Christian Petzold, 2020, Germany, 90 m
At first glance, Christian Petzold's new film seems to be a departure for the German director, especially for those who only know him from his most recent triumvirate of masterful films about the romantic and identity crises of refugees at various points in German history: Barbara (NYFF50), Phoenix and Transit (NYFF56). But Petzold has long played with established genres and, with Undine, brings a supernatural element into a melodrama of star-crossed lovers – the title character (Paula Beer), a historian and tour guide of the Berlin City Museum, which specializes in urban development. and industrial diver Christoph (Franz Rogowski, Biers co-star in Transit). Undine and Christoph have an intense bond through their love for water, which can only do so much to help overcome the considerable baggage of their previous affair. Petzold's film is the story of a contemporary relationship, guided by centuries-old cosmic fate. It contains indelible images of exuberant romanticism and remains scrupulously enigmatic. An IFC Films release.

The woman who ran
Hong Sangsoo, 2020, South Korea, 77 m
Men are mostly amused in Hong Sangsoo's recent delight, which is anchored as the peripatetic gamhee by Kim Minhee, the director's regular collaborator and director. Divided into three casual but distinct sections, the film follows Gamhee as she travels without her husband for the first time in years and visits a number of friends: two on purpose, one by accident. As usual, Hong allows the most minimal of interactions to carry surprising weight, and uses subtle and cunning narrative repetition to evoke a world of circular motion. The Woman Who Ran also features one of Hong's most seasoned comic set pieces, a neighborly argument about stray cats that sums up the filmmaker's lovingly crafted world of foiled connections and everyday dysfunction. A Cinema Guild publication.


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