Films Français at the New York Film Festival Thru October 20

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Twenty French-produced or co-produced films will screen–in person–at the 59th New York Film Festival, starting in NYC on September 24 and running through October 20. The frenzy surrounding the star-powered event will likely exceed previous years (if that’s possible), given the stellar lineup and the fact that the 2020 festival unspooled remotely due to COVID-19. 

Sandwiched between the world premiere of Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth (starring Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand) and Pedro Almodovar’s Parallel Mothers, (starring Penélope Cruz), with Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog (starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst) smack in the middle, the program, as always, boasts a sampling of the strongest, most anticipated international films of the year. 

Francophiles have much to celebrate. Here are a few highlights: 

Bergman Island, Mia Hansen-Løve

In a cinephile’s dream, married filmmakers Chris and Tony (Vicky Krieps and Tim Roth) take a joint writing retreat on the remote island of Fårö, where director Ingmar Bergman lived and shot many of his masterpieces.

France, Bruno Dumont

Provocative and often unsettling auteur Dumont (The Life of Jesus) casts Léa Seydoux as a TV journalist whose life spirals when she accidentally drives into a young delivery man on a Paris street.

Titane, Julia Ducournau

The winner of the 2021 Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or, about a dancer running from the police, is described in the program as, “a feverish, violent, and jaw-dropping ride [that] nevertheless exposes the beating, fragile heart at its center.”

Vortex, Gaspar Noé

The Irreversible and I Stand Alone director shows his more tender side in the darkly emotional story of an elderly couple working on a book about the intersection of cinema and dreams. 

Jane by Charlotte, Charlotte Gainsbourg

Through a series of conversations, the director paints a cinematic portrait of her famous mother, Jane Birkin. Read our piece on the film here

I Want to Talk About Duras, Claire Simon

The portrait of the writer’s relationship with her much younger, homosexual romantic partner, Yann Andréa, is based on transcripts from a 1982 interview with Andréa.

The NYFF famously sells out in a flash. Any remaining tickets can be purchased here. Fortunately, many films have American distributors and will soon be available in theaters and on streaming platforms. 

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