New York Film Festival highlights: ‘White Noise,’ ‘She Said,’ ‘Women Talking,’ ‘Till’ and more

The 60th annual edition of the New York Film Festival kicks off on Friday night with the North American premiere of Netflix’s “White Noise” – the first of many awards contenders set to screen at the Manhattan fest as the season marches forward.

“White Noise,” which actually kicked off the 2022 Venice Film Festival back in August, is Noah Baumbach’s latest project for the streamer and his first since “Marriage Story” landed numerous Oscar nominations in 2020, including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay for Baumbach, Best Actor for Adam Driver, Best Actress for Scarlett Johansson, and Best Supporting Actress for Laura Dern (Dern was the film’s sole winner). The early reviews for “White Noise” leaned positive – with Baumbach’s adaptation of the Don DeLillo novel holding a 68 rating on Metacritic. That gives “White Noise” an edge, at least from a critical perspective, over a handful of other top awards contenders that proved more polarizing on the festival run, like Netflix’s own “Bardo” (51 rating on Metacritic) and (60 rating on Metacritic).

But “White Noise” isn’t the only major fall contender hoping to get itself heard on the busy streets of New York. The Centerpiece film this year is “All the Beauty and Bloodshed,” Laura Poitras’s acclaimed documentary. For its Closing Night selection, the New York Film Festival selected “The Inspection,” an A24 drama from writer-director Elegance Bratton that has stars Jeremy Pope and Gabrielle Union generating awards buzz in the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress races, respectively.

Beyond the three standout screenings, the New York Film Festival main slate and spotlight sections have numerous top contenders scheduled as well. Chief among those picks is “She Said,” the drama about the New York Times reporting that brought down Harvey Weinstein. The film from director Maria Schrader will have its world premiere at the New York Film Festival. Likewise, “Till” from director Chinonye Chukwu, will world premiere in New York. That film has many pundits and users predicting an Oscar nomination for star Danielle Deadwyler

Other top titles set to screen in New York in October include Sarah Polley’s “Women Talking,” Luca Guadagnino’s “Bones and All,” Todd Field’s “TAR,” and James Gray’s “Armageddon Time.” Check out the full list of main slate and spotlight selections below and check back to Gold Derby for coverage of the 2022 New York Film Festival.

Opening Night

White Noise

Dir. Noah Baumbach

Centerpiece

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

Dir. Laura Poitras

Closing Night

The Inspection

Dir. Elegance Bratton

NYFF 60th Anniversary Celebration

Armageddon Time

Dir. James Gray

Main Slate

Aftersun

Dir. Charlotte Wells

 

Alcarràs

Dir. Carla Simón

 

All That Breathes

Dir. Shaunak Sen

 

Corsage

Dir. Marie Kreutzer

 

A Couple

Dir. Frederick Wiseman

 

De Humani Corporis Fabrica

Dir. Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor

 

Decision to Leave

Dir. Park Chan-wook

 

Descendant

Dir. Margaret Brown

 

Enys Men

Dir. Mark Jenkin

 

EO

Dir. Jerzy Skolimowski

 

The Eternal Daughter

Dir. Joanna Hogg

 

Master Gardener

Dir. Paul Schrader

 

No Bears

Dir. Jafar Panahi

 

The Novelist’s Film

Dir. Hong Sangsoo

 

One Fine Morning

Dir. Mia Hansen-Løve

 

Pacifiction

Dir. Albert Serra

 

R.M.N.

Dir. Cristian Mungiu

 

Return to Seoul

Dir. Davy Chou

 

Saint Omer

Dir. Alice Diop

 

Scarlet

Dir. Pietro Marcello

 

Showing Up

Dir. Kelly Reichardt

 

Stars at Noon

Dir. Claire Denis

 

Stonewalling

Dir. Huang Ji and Ryuji Otsuka

 

TÁR

Dir. Todd Field

 

Trenque Lauquen

Dir. Laura Citarella

 

Triangle of Sadness

Dir. Ruben Östlund

 

Unrest

Dir. Cyril Schäublin

 

Walk Up

Dir. Hong Sangsoo

 

Spotlight Selections

Bones and All

Luca Guadagnino, 2022, U.S., 130m

In a startling, star-making performance, Taylor Russell plays Maren, a teenager who has just moved to a small town in Virginia with her father (André Holland). However, it’s only a matter of time before the frightening secret Maren harbors is revealed and she must hit the road again—on her own. Soon, she meets another young drifter, Lee (Timothée Chalamet), who understands her more than anyone she’s ever met, and the two set out on a cross-country journey, satiating their dangerous desires and reckoning with their tragic pasts. Adapting a novel by Camille DeAngelis, director Luca Guadagnino (Call Me by Your Name) has crafted a work of both tender fragility and feral intensity, setting corporeal horror and runaway romance against vividly textured Americana, and featuring fully inhabited supporting turns from Mark Rylance, Michael Stuhlbarg, Jessica Harper, Chloë Sevigny, and Anna Cobb. A United Artists release.

 

A Cooler Climate

James Ivory and Giles Gardner, 2022, U.K., 75m

World Premiere

In this deeply personal new documentary from James Ivory, the Academy Award®-winning filmmaker uncovers boxes of film he shot during a life-changing trip to Afghanistan in 1960. This glorious color footage unleashes a Proustian reverie during which Ivory recounts his life as traveler, outsider, and artist. Alternating between the incredible moving images he recorded as a curious visitor in Kabul and Bamiyan and his own personal story growing up in Oregon, coming to terms with his own sexual identity and embarking on what would become a legendary cinematic career, Ivory has made a film—co-directed with Giles Gardner and featuring music by Alexandre Desplat—about the voyages we all take, around the globe and within our own interior landscapes.

 

Exterior Night

Marco Bellocchio, 2022, Italy, 328m

Italian with English subtitles

U.S. Premiere

The indefatigable Marco Bellocchio, whose last fiction feature at NYFF was his riveting mafia crime drama The Traitor, has directed a monumental six-part series about a shocking event that rocked Italy in the late 1970s: the kidnapping and eventual murder of the country’s influential statesman and former prime minister Aldo Moro by the leftist Red Brigades. It’s a subject that Bellocchio has explored before (Good Morning, Night) but not in the extensive, gripping detail seen here. Taking a prismatic approach, which allows him to feature the perspectives of all the incident’s major players and negotiators, including the politicians, the clergy, and the terrorists, Bellocchio gives a sense of both the incremental tension and the political frenzy that occurred during and after, forever changing the relationship between the country’s Communist and Christian Democratic parties. The extraordinary cast includes Fabrizio Gifuni as Moro, Toni Servillo as Pope Paul VI, Fausto Russo Alesi as Prime Minister Francesco Cossiga, and Daniela Marra as kidnapper Adriana Faranda.

 

Is That Black Enough for You?!?

Elvis Mitchell, 2022, U.S., 135m

World Premiere

American film critic Elvis Mitchell’s kaleidoscopic documentary creates a definitive narrative of the Black revolution in 1970s cinema, from genre films to social realism, from the making of new superstars to the craft of rising auteurs. With Is That Black Enough for You?!? (the title references a recurring line from Ossie Davis’s 1970 benchmark Cotton Comes to Harlem), Mitchell takes a personal and panoramic approach, expressing his own experiences as a viewer while detailing the cinematic and political histories that led to this extraordinary flowering of a newly ascendant Black heroism. The Learning Tree, Watermelon Man, Shaft, Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, Cool Breeze, Sounder, Super Fly, Coffy, The Spook Who Sat by the Door, Claudine, Uptown Saturday Night, Cornbread, Earl and Me, Killer of Sheep, and dozens more are analyzed with Mitchell’s customary verve and perspicacity. This is a work of painstaking scholarship that’s also thoroughly entertaining, an essential archival document and testament to a period of American film history unlikely to be repeated. Featuring interviews with Margaret Avery, Harry Belafonte, Charles Burnett, Laurence Fishburne, Whoopi Goldberg, Samuel L. Jackson, Suzanne de Passe, Glynn Turman, Billy Dee Williams, Zendaya, and more. A Netflix release.

 

The Kingdom Exodus

Lars von Trier, 2022, Denmark, 291m

Danish, English, Swedish with English subtitles

U.S. Premiere

Lars von Trier has directed a third season of his incomparable television series, The Kingdom, which began in 1994 and helped establish the Danish filmmaker’s reputation for jolting imagery and penchant for layered, unpredictable storytelling. The show’s legions of fans will be delighted by his dark-comic return to the misfit world of Copenhagen’s Rigshospitalet, once again ruled equally by sinister supernatural visions and at times hilarious administrative incompetence. This time, the hospital’s workers are aware of having been in a show and complain that the scoundrel Lars von Trier has given them a bad name. Our guides to the increasing madness are Karen (Bødil Jorgensen), a curious somnambulist who voluntarily checks herself in after wandering to the Kingdom in her sleep, and the new Swedish head neurosurgeon, Stig, Jr. (Mikael Persbrandt), desperate to follow in the footsteps of his father, the original series’ dastardly Dr. Stig Helmer. We are pleased to offer the opportunity to theatrically experience all five episodes, featuring the return of such original cast members as Ghita Norby, Peter Mygind, Søren Pilmark, and Udo Kier, as well as appearances from Alexander Skarsgard. A MUBI release.

 

Personality Crisis: One Night Only

Martin Scorsese and David Tedeschi, 2022, U.S., 120m

World Premiere

Continuing his vibrant and invaluable documentaries about iconic American artists and musicians, such as George Harrison: Living in the Material World, No Direction Home: Bob Dylan, and the Fran Lebowitz portrait Public Speaking, Martin Scorsese turns his camera on another beloved New York institution: the singular David Johansen. Equally celebrated as the lead singer-songwriter of the androgynous 1970s glam punk groundbreakers the New York Dolls and for his complete reinvention as hepcat lounge lizard Buster Poindexter in the 1980s, the chameleonic Johansen has created an entire genre unto himself, combining swing, blues, and rock into something at once mischievous and deeply personal. In Personality Crisis: One Night Only, Scorsese and co-director David Tedeschi (The 50 Year Argument), with the help of cinematographer Ellen Kuras (American Utopia), luminously capture the entertainer’s January 2020 Café Carlyle set, where he performs as Poindexter singing the Johansen songbook, bringing downtown irreverence to this storied uptown joint. Presented alongside new and archival interviews, the concert is marvelously intimate and a testament to both a lost New York and a performer who remains as fresh and exciting as ever. A Showtime release.

 

She Said

Maria Schrader, U.S., 2022, 135m

World Premiere

In 2017, New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey broke a story that would change the world. Uncovering decades of sexual harassment and assault in Hollywood, Kantor and Twohey boldly took on an establishment that had too long been allowed to systematically protect abusers. This thrilling new drama based on Kantor and Twohey’s best-selling book about their hard-fought investigation is directed by Maria Schrader (director of I’m Your Man and the acclaimed TV series Unorthodox) from a screenplay by Rebecca Lenkiewicz (Ida). She Said stars Zoe Kazan and Carey Mulligan in wonderful performances as the two intensely committed reporters whose efforts would ultimately help ignite the #MeToo movement. Schrader’s film, in the tradition of All the President’s Men and Spotlight, is a tribute to the art and importance of investigative journalism, as well as a moving portrait of two women whose personal lives couldn’t be put on hold even as they navigated a labyrinth of NDAs, legal double binds, and frightened witnesses. She Said’s remarkable supporting cast includes Patricia Clarkson, Andre Braugher, Samantha Morton, and Jennifer Ehle. A Universal Pictures release.

 

Solaris — 50th Anniversary Screening with Live Musical Accompaniment

Andrei Tarkovsky, USSR, 1972, 166m

Russian and German with English subtitles

Possibly the most emotionally devastating science fiction film ever made, Solaris follows scientist Chris Kelvin (Donatas Banionis) as he is sent to a space station whose inhabitants have been attempting to make contact with the mysterious planet Solaris. Often described as a Soviet response to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Solaris is an enigmatic work of startling beauty and depth. To mark this seminal film’s 50th anniversary, our special screening features live musical accompaniment by Matthew Nolan and Stephen Shannon. Their newly created score, specially commissioned for the festival, is rooted in both Tarkovsky’s aesthetic and philosophical concerns and in the sonic architecture of Oleg Artemyev’s original soundtrack. This alternative score, with its mesmerizing waves of electronic sounds, brings the core concerns of the film into greater focus, its atmosphere of dread and longing offering a fascinating interpretation of the film’s cryptic emotions. A Janus Films release.

 

“Sr.”

Chris Smith, 2022, U.S., 89m

Rarely do films about artists allow the kind of poignant intimacy seen in this tender yet fittingly irreverent portrait of the life and career of Robert Downey, Sr., the fearless, visionary American director who set the standard for counterculture comedy in the 1960s and ’70s. An inspired collaboration between celebrated documentarian Chris Smith (American Movie); the subject’s son, Robert Downey, Jr.; and the man himself, who’s occasionally shown working on his own version of the movie we’re watching, “Sr.” functions both as an elegy for the rule-flouting underground icon, who passed away at age 85 in July 2021, and as a testament to his tireless creative spirit. Capturing its subject’s refreshing candor about aging, past struggles with addiction, and the ups and downs of working in Hollywood, Smith’s film is an emotional depiction of a father-son bond that remained strong, pragmatic, and deeply loving to the end.

 

The Super 8 Years

Annie Ernaux and David Ernaux-Briot, 2022, France, 60m

French with English subtitles

North American Premiere

The French writer Annie Ernaux, whose novels and memoirs have gained her a devoted following (and whose autobiographical L’Événement was adapted just last year into the critically acclaimed film Happening), opens a treasure trove with this delicate journey into her family’s memory. Compiled from gorgeously textured home movie images from 1972 to 1981—when her first books were published, her sons became teenagers, and her husband, Philippe, brought an 8mm film camera everywhere they went—this portrait of a time, place, and moment of personal and political significance takes us from holidays and family rituals in bourgeois suburban France to trips abroad in Albania and Egypt, Spain and the USSR. Supplying her own introspective voiceover, Ernaux and her co-filmmaker, her son David, guide the viewer through fragments of a decade, diffuse and vivid in equal measure. The Super 8 Years is a remarkable visual extension of Ernaux’s ongoing literary project to make sense of the mysterious past and the unknowable future.

 

Till

Chinonye Chukwu, 2022, U.S., 130m

World Premiere

Chinonye Chukwu’s searing modern-day death-row drama Clemency was one of the most accomplished breakthroughs in recent American cinema. The director has now traveled back to the 1950s to tell the story of Mamie Till-Mobley, the Chicago woman whose son, Emmett Till, was lynched while visiting cousins in Mississippi and whose body became an indelible image of the horrors of American racism. Employing a direct, unflinching, yet sensitive gaze, Chukwu has created the definitive drama of this woman’s grief and resilience, and in an astonishing performance, Danielle Deadwyler captures both a mother’s indescribable heartbreak and her inspiring ascension to the role of civil rights activist. Till is a momentous reminder of an ever-present tragedy, featuring painstaking production design, subtly expressive camera framing and composition, and a note-perfect supporting cast, including Sean Patrick Thomas, Jalyn Hall, Tosin Cole, John Douglas Thompson, Frankie Faison, and Whoopi Goldberg. A United Artists release.

 

Women Talking

Sarah Polley, 2022, U.S., 104m

Sarah Polley brings ferocious honesty and restrained urgency to her screen adaptation of Miriam Toews’s acclaimed novel about of a group of women from a remote religious community dealing with the aftermath of sexual assault perpetrated by the colony’s men. A film of ideas brought to life by Polley’s imaginative direction and a superb, fine-tuned ensemble cast—including Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, Frances McDormand, Ben Whishaw, and Judith Ivey—Women Talking is a deep and searching exploration of self-determination, group responsibility, faith, and forgiveness, philosophically engaging and emotionally rich in equal measure. A United Artists release.

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