If you look back on the last few years of the New York Film Festival, you’ll find a common, though unsurprising theme: a lot of male-dominated narratives, often about white men’s woes and triumphs. Last year’s line-up had The Walk, Steve Jobs and Miles Ahead, 2014 was notable for the premieres of Inherent Vice, Birdman, and Foxcatcher, and the 2013 fest debuted Her, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and Captain Phillips. There have been some notable exceptions, like Carol, Clouds of Sils Maria, and Gone Girl, but overall stories about women have been a relegated to the background at the fest. That is, until this year.
New York Film Festival
Ava DuVernay‘s latest documentary, ‘13th,’ couldn’t be arriving at a more relevant time. Urgent, angry and unflinching, the documentary looks at the current state of mass incarceration and police militarization, attempting to understand why the United States contains 25 percent of the world’s prisoners, which today is 2.3 million people. Opening this Friday just weeks after the largest prison strike in U.S. history, a month shy of the 2016 Presidential Election, and following a year full of harrowing violence against the black community, ‘13th’ feels like essential viewing now more than ever.
You know when a trailer captures a mood of a film so well you just want to roll around in it and soak it up? That’s how the first teaser for Mike Mills’ 20th ‘Century Women’ feels, capturing the aura of a bohemian family in late 1970s Santa Barbara so well you can almost smell the ocean water and patchouli oil.
What if America is still living in an era of slavery? What if the abolition of slavery led to a collective consciousness that aligned people of color with definitions of criminality? That’s the argument Ava DuVernay’s latest documentary ‘The 13th’ makes, suggesting that for over a hundred and fifty years a societal behavior has developed where slavery can still exist under the guise of the mass incarceration.
The 2016 New York Film Festival is shaping up to have one of the most ambitious lineups in years. On top of opening with the very first documentary in the festival’s history with Ava DuVernay‘s ‘The 13th,’ this year’s fest will also host the world premiere of a big innovation in cinema technology.
The anticipation for the 2016 New York Film Festival has been high since Ava DuVernay was announced as the Opening Night filmmaker. Now that the main slate lineup has arrived, the fest looks even better.
In its 54 years, the New York Film Festival has never opened with a work of non-fiction, until now. This year’s festival will kick off with what may be one of the most important and politically relevant films of the year, Ava DuVernay’s documentary ‘The 13th,’ about the U.S. prison industry and the nation’s history of racial inequality.
Apple introduced the iMac computer to the market with one of the most famous marketing slogans of all time: “Think different.” If nothing else, Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs embodies that sentiment.
With Bridge of Spies, Steven Spielberg continues the project he started with Lincoln: Using history to illuminate his vision of modern American values. But where Lincoln was about a “great man,” Bridge of Spies is about an ordinary one — an insurance lawyer from Brooklyn named James B. Donovan. In the late 1950s, Donovan was chosen by his peers to represent a captured Soviet spy, Rudolf Abel. But while most of Donovan’s colleagues (and even the presiding judge on the case) want him involved purely to give Abel’s trial the appearance of due process, Donovan actually mounts a rigorous defense of his client, at considerable risk to his reputation and even his personal safety.
Following a press screening of Robert Zemeckis’ The Walk, the opening film at the New York Film Festival, the director said part of what inspired his movie was that Philippe Petit’s real-life walk was never captured on film. While there are photographs of Petit walking on a high-wire between the Twin Towers on August 7, 1974, as explored in the Oscar-winning documentary Man on Wire, video footage of his audacious illegal performance doesn’t exist. In the film, Zemeckis attempts to turn the thrilling walk into an immersive experience with 3D and IMAX, but some moments, especially ones as majestic as Petit’s walk, should remain an unseen mystery.