Fall is prime film festival season. While actors and directors don eye-popping couture and walk red carpets from Venice to Telluride to Toronto, the rest of us sit home ogling paparazzi shots, reading the gushing reviews, and wondering when we, too, will get a chance to see the movies!
The latest is the New York Film Festival, a dazzling event now in its 60th year, known for showcasing the best of world cinema, the films we’ll be buzzing about from now till awards season. The glittering affair, which began on September 30 and runs until October 16, boasts work from the kind of luminaries—Noah Baumbach, Park Chan-wook, Kelly Reichardt, Paul Shrader, Frederic Wiseman—whose films cinephiles impatiently wait for until the next one drops. According to Villa Albertine, the lineup this year includes a whopping 22 French features or French co-productions. If you’re in the Grand Pomme, grab tickets here! Otherwise, here’s the dirt on where the rest of us can get a look at these beauties.
TRIANGLE OF SADNESS
This is the movie everyone’s talking about. Helmed by the Swedish director, Ruben Östlund (Force Majeure and The Square), the French co-production skewers our wealth- and beauty-obsessed culture with the story of a celebrity model couple, Carl (Harris Dickinson) and Yaya (Charlbi Dean, who tragically died on August 29 at age 32), whose vacation on a luxury cruise for the uber-rich goes horribly awry. Also starring the incomparable Woody Harrelson as the unhinged captain, the film won the Palme d’Or at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.
Triangle of Sadness opens in theaters on Friday, October 7.
STARS AT NOON
French cinema legend Claire Denis (Beau Travail, Both Sides of the Blade) is taking over the world. She has two international releases this year and her latest, the NYFF selection Stars at Noon, won the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes. The high-stakes romantic thriller set in Nicaragua stars Margaret Qualley (My Salinger Year) as an American journalist who falls in love with a mysterious Englishman played by Joe Alwyn (Conversations with Friends).
Stars at Noon opens in theaters on Friday, October 14.
Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski’s (Deep End, Moonlighting) new movie about a nomadic donkey named EO is Poland’s official submission for the 95th Academy Awards. It is not a French film, but we are including it because some of the dialogue is in French, it was inspired by iconic French director Robert Bresson’s beloved 1966 film, Au Hasard Balthazar, and it has an actual U.S. release date, so you can see it! Jonathan Romney in Film Comment called the film, “a flamboyant, visionary work. The wildest, youngest film in the Cannes lineup was made by an 84-year-old director up for anything.“
EO opens in theaters on November 18.
Vicky Krieps (Hold Me Tight, Bergman Island) won the award for best performance in the Un Certain Regard section of the 2022 Cannes Film Festival for playing Empress Elisabeth of Austria in this French co-production. With Austrian director Marie Kreutzer at the helm, the biopic covers the period in 1877 when the beautiful queen was turning 40. Variety’s Jessica Kiang called the film “brilliant…a witty subversion of biopic and costume-drama clichés.”
Corsage opens in theaters on December 23.
THE MOTHER AND THE WHORE
The 1973 Nouvelle Vague classic, directed by Jean Eustache and starring Jean-Pierre Léaud, Bernadette Lafont, and Françoise Lebrun, will screen in the festival’s Revivals section. In the era following the May 1968 political uprisings, the film tracks the life and love affairs of Alexandre (Léaud), a jobless, self-obsessed flaneur who loves nothing more than listening to his own rambling monologues. The Grand Jury Prize winner at Cannes in 1973 has been hard to find of late. With the NYFF screening a new 4K restoration, fingers crossed that a national roll-out will follow and a streaming platform will pick it up to boot.
ONE FINE MORNING
Directed by Mia Hansen-Løve (Bergman Island, Things to Come), the film stars Léa Seydoux as a widowed mother caring for her sick father (Pascal Gregory), who falls into a passionate affair with an old friend (Melvil Poupaud), who happens to be married. NYFF says, “Hansen-Løve, so finely observant of the small nuances of human interaction, creates, in harmonious concert with a magnificent Seydoux, a complicated portrait of a woman torn between romantic desire and familial tragedy that is a marvel of emotional and formal economy.”
Sony Pictures Classics will release the film at an unspecified date.
The Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu, best known for 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, “returns with a gripping, mosaic-like portrait of a rural Transylvanian town riven by ethnic conflicts, economic resentment, and personal turmoil,” according to the NYFF catalogue. R.M.N is a French/Romanian co-production.
IFC Films acquired the North American rights and will release the film at an unspecified date.
After winning the coveted Silver Lion Grand Jury Prize at the Venice International Film Festival, Alice Diop’s debut was picked up for U.S. release by Super, the boutique distribution label from Neon. It was recently announced that Saint Omer will be France’s entry for Best International Feature Film at the Oscars 2023. Kayije Kagame stars as a journalist and author who attends the trial of a young Senegalese woman (Guslagie Malanda), who has allegedly murdered her own baby daughter, an event that transforms her life and career.
Saint Omer will be released by Super at an unspecified date.
THE SUPER 8 YEARS
Also of note, French author and winner of the 2022 Novel Prize in Literature, Annie Ernaux, and her son, David Ernaux-Briot, directed this documentary film which is screening in the festival’s Spotlight section. The short personal documentary assembles silent home movies from Ernaux’s life, taken from 1972 to 1981, with Ernaux herself narrating. We can only hope that this unique cinematic experience about the author of the book that inspired the 2022 movie of the year, Happening, will be available on screens near us in the near future.
Andrea Meyer has written creative treatments for commercial directors, a sex & the movies column for IFC, and a horror screenplay for MGM. Her first novel, Room for Love (St. Martin’s Press) is a romantic comedy based on an article she wrote for the New York Post, for which she pretended to look for a roommate as a ploy to meet men. A long-time film and entertainment journalist and former indieWIRE editor, Andrea has interviewed more actors and directors than she can remember. Her articles and essays have appeared in such publications as Elle, Glamour, Variety, Time Out NY, and the Boston Globe.