New York Film Festival 2010 Saves Us From Summer Movie Drought

by BILLY GRAY · August 17, 2010

After the worst summer ever at the movies, the New York Film Festival can't come soon enough. And yesterday's announcement of this year's full lineup makes us optimistic about fall's offerings as we suffer through the dog days. -

Old masters are well-represented at NYFF 2010, which runs from September 24 through October 10th.

Clint Eastwood and Jean-Luc Godard are two veterans entering their ninth decades. Eastwood, the quintessential American movie giant, directs Closing Night selection The Hereafter, starring Matt Damon. The very French Godard, who the NYFF has featured in 27 of its 48 outings, contributes Film Socialisme, a political tract whose inevitable wordiness will hopefully be balanced with the director's visual prowess. But Eastwood and Godard look like Tisch students next to the 101-year old Portuguese legend Manoel de Oliveira. Oliveira's first feature, Aniki-Bóbó, debuted 21 years before the NYFF, in1942. His latest, The Strange Case of Angelica, lands next month.

Younger, though established, critical darlings include David Fincher (whose Facebook saga The Social Network is the Opening Night selection), Mike Leigh (Another Year) and Julie Taymor (The Tempest).

Provocateurs like Lars von Trier, Harmony Korine, Todd Solondz, Michael Haneke and Catherine Breillat crowded last year's slate. It's unlikely that any movie this year will inspire as many walkouts and averted eyes as von Trier's grisly Antichrist. But at 319 minutes long, Olivier Assayas' Carlos, a very different take on Carlos the Jackal than Val Kilmer's 1997 action romp, delivers an endurance test of the rump.

It might lack some controversial edge, but NYFF 2010 does showcase breakthrough talents. Chile's Sebastián Silva directed one of 2009's best movies, The Maid. His latest, Old Cats, has its world premiere at the festival. And Cristi Puiu returns with Aurora five years after his The Death of Mr. Lazarescu put the Romanian new wave on the map. Meanwhile, Sergei Loznitsa makes an auspicious directorial debut with My Joy.

In terms of selection and geography, the New York Film Festival is a more manageable event than spring's Tribeca Film Festival, whose screenings are scattered all over downtown Manhattan. Confined mostly to Lincoln Center and with one-quarter the number of offerings, NYFF still maintains a more international flavor than its upstart competitor.

But although it's the less Noo Yawk of the town's movie showcases, the New York Film Festival shows some hometown loyalty with local talent Kelly Reichardt's Meek's Cutoff, and LennonNYC, a documentary about John Lennon's cruelly abbreviated time in the city.

See full lineup and ticket info here.

[via Columbia, WarnerBros.]