Following the career of Richard Linklater can give you the best kind of creative whiplash. He went from the aging romance of Before Midnight to the coming-of-age epic Boyhood, to the college bro comedy Everybody Wants Some!! Linklater’s next movie sounds like yet another departure, another major shift in subject and tone, back to more serious material. It’s called Last Flag Flying, and it was announced today it will premiere as the Opening Night Film of the 2017 New York Film Festival.
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.
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.