Sunday, October 6, 2013

Not The New York Film Festival Half Time Report- The Nightcap for October 6,2013

This was supposed to be a piece about the New York Film Festival at roughly the half-way point. I had written a very long piece on the state of the festival eight days in. However looking back at the piece I realize that it’s more a summation than a looking back where we are. More importantly what I wrote may be influenced by the fact that starting tomorrow I’m at the festival every day until the end. To that end I’ve pulled the piece and will run it sometime after the festival ends.

While I won’t review the state of the festival I would like two say two things-

First, having so far seen some 25 of the films being screened I’m really disappointed in the selections. While maybe five or six are worth paying to see (Captain Philips, Alan Partridge, The Wind Rises,Le Week-End, Costa de Morte, The Immigrant) most of the films are bland, and not worthy of being shown at the festival. The choice of films this year feels more like a show case for the fall releases then a festival highlighting the best in world cinema.

And even allowing for the fact that most of the films aren’t bad rather unremarkable, I have to ask what are most of the films doing here? I don’t know. The same films that are worth paying to see are the only ones I've seen that belong at the festival. I say this since even in years past, even when I didn't like a film, I always knew why a film was at the festival.

Most troubling is the fact that even if you think they belong in the festival do you really think we’ll be remembering most of them by the end of the year? In most other years we would still be talking about most of the films not this year. Half way in and I'm having difficulty trying to remember what some of the films are as opposed to previous years where I was actively trying to track down copies of films for months afterward.

The other thing I’d like to say is that the festival has got to stop using the fact that a director had film previously at the film festival as an indication the new film is good. Just because a director had a previous good film doesn't mean the new one is good. I've seen a couple of films where the talk before the film was a rapturous discussion of the director and his or her previous work only to have the new film fall flat or worse. Nobody’s Daughter Daewan and especially Bastards (a review will appear Tuesday) were a failures, Jimmy P, while good isn’t up to the directors earlier films. In years past the connection often resulted in some gems, this year we’re getting lesser work which feels like they are repaying a debt to someone or filling a slot rather than running a deserving movie.

Here's to hoping the remaining days radically changes my opinion.
I need to take a moment and let you all know that our coverage of the festival is going to be a tad less than what I had hoped and will be spilling into the weeks after the festival ends.

The short answer is that due to circumstances beyond anyone's control and the intervention of nature some of our team has been derailed by familial emergencies. While everything is under control, it simply means less films were seen and the time to write up events has been pushed back. Reports will be coming-just a little later than planned.

And now some links many ala crack researcher Randi

Color Dr Strangelove pictures
Talking with Peter Weller
Behind the Scenes at the AMC 25 in NYC- the most profitable theater in the world
Teller in Esquire
Akira Kurasowa storyboards
Conserving the Muppets
Early Henson- Sam and Friends
On the superships that figure into Captain Phillips
Did Hollywood help the Nazis?

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