Friday, March 09, 2007



This is quite a season for festival films in New York.

Currently at Lincoln Center is a festival of French films. Many directors are in town for the screenings. Only one actress seems to be coming: Isild Le Besco, in The Untouchable, for which she was recently named best actress at Venice. At 25, she has 32 films to her credit, and is currently directing scenes for her own film while she is in New York.

From Mar. 21 to Apr. 1, with screenings at MoMA’s Titus 1 Theater and Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater comes New Directors/New Films 2007 which consists of 26 feature-length films and five shorts, from 19 countries, with 9 first-time feature length directors. I remember Steven Spielberg coming with Goldie Hawn for Sugarland Express, more than 30 years ago.

The Lincoln Center Film Festival, earlier this year, was exceptionally interesting. Among the films that got their New York debut were Oscar nominee and awards films, The Queen, Volver, Pan's Labyrinth, and Little Children. To my mind, Ivana Baquero, the child in Pan's Labyrinth gave the year's most audacious performance. In the film she performs in Spanish. At the press conference, she was precociously articulate in fluent English.

I videotaped several press conferences from the festival for posting and VLOGed a short excerpt from a press conference with
Penelope Cruz, and extensive excerpts (with only the boring parts left out, as they say) from the press conference for The Queen.

Also shown was Bamako, about the role of the World Bank in causing problems in Africa. A special panel at NYFF about the role of the World Bank included Harry Belafonte, and Nobel Laureate, Joseph Stiglitz (economics), whose book "Making Globalization Work" describes methods for, well, making globalization work (both for underdeveloped countries and the US.) Warren Beatty's Reds was shown at the festival. It is a true masterpiece. Like good wine, it is better aged than it even was when it was first made.

From April 25 to May 6, downtown New York becomes one big film party for the Tribeca Film Festival, perhaps the most ambitious festival of all in New York City.

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