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50th New York Film Festival, Loaded with Surprises

by Ellis Nassour on August 23, 2012

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New York cinema’s big event, the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s 17-day New York Film Festival, September 28 – October 14, is known for highlighting the best in world cinema with top films from celebrated and emerging filmmakers. This year’s Festival will be quite special, since it celebrates the 50th Anniversary. When asked what to expect, a press spokesman said, “Lots of surprises!”

The main slate will include works by notable directors that include Noah Baumbach, David Chase, Brian De Palma, Ang Lee, Sally Potter, Alain Resnais, and Robert Zemeckis.

Opening Night will debut Life of Pi [Fox 2000] from director Ang Lee [Brokeback Mountain], based on Yann Martel’s best-selling novel, a magical adventure of an Indian zookeeper’s son who finds himself in the company of motley animals, including a 450-pound Bengal tiger, after a shipwreck – legendary French actor Gérard Depardieu co-stars.
The Centerpiece gala is the semi-autobiographical Not Fade Away [Paramount Vantage] from director/writer David Chase (The Sopranos, Northern Exposure, The Rockford Files), headlining James Gandolfini and Brad Garrett, about 60s New Jersey friends forming a rock band to make it big.

Denzel Washington, John Goodman, and Don Cheadel star in the Closing Night gala,  the thriller Flight (Paramount), directed by Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?), loosely-based on 2001’s incident of a pilot guiding a fuel-less superliner from certain crash and becoming a hero until the subsequent  investigation reveals troubling details.

Richard Peña, FSLC Program Director and NYFF Selection Committee chair, said, “This year’s films have a quality of fearlessness uniting otherwise disparate works – films that take the risk of taking audiences places they might rather not go.”

Award winners having New York premieres include the acclaimed Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or winner Amour (Austria/France/Germany – Sony Classics), Michael Haneke’s portrait, co-starring France’s acclaimed Jean-Louis Trintignant and Isabelle Huppert, of a couple dealing with the ravages of old age; Berlin Film Festival’s Silver Bear Award for Best Director, Christian Petzold’s Cold War thriller Barbara [Germany] about a doctor, played by Nina Hoss, working in 1980s East Germany who’s banished to a country hospital; and După Dealuri (Beyond the Hills) (Romania), director Cristian Mungiu’s gripping modern exorcism tale of two former orphans, starring newcomers Cristina Flutur and Cosmina Stratan, who shared Cannes Best Actress prize.

The Film Society and NYFF receive support from American Airlines, Royal Bank of Canada, The New York Times, Stella Artois, National Endowment for the Arts, and New York State Council on the Arts.

Tickets go on sale September 9 at the NYFF box office. For information on the full line-up, schedules, special events, and panels, visit
Follow #filmlinc on Twitter.

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