News and Commentary – Coming: The 2017 New York Film Festival

Once again it’s that time of year – the Fifty-Fifth New York Film Festival will run from September 28 through October 15 – and as usual there are more great screenings and events than one could possibly hope to attend. The entire forty-five page brochure is worth a close read, but we’ll highlight some of the elements we’re most enthusiastic about. 

In the main slate – films showing ahead of their general release – there are easily a dozen entries that caught our eye, but we’re especially excited about four in particular. Eighty-Eight year old New Wave Legend Agnes Varda will show up with her new movie—and when we say show up, we mean it, she’ll be doing Q&A sessions at the festival October first and second. And one of our favorite directors, Arnaud Desplechin, will be screening his latest, Ismael's Ghosts—Desplechin will also do Q&A on October 13 and 14. (Two years ago, somebody got to hear Desplechin talk about My Golden Days, while your tireless correspondent was slaving away on the day job across town. But I did get the proverbial t-shirt, and not “just” a t-shirt, a really nice one.) We’re also quite curious about Clare Denis’ Let the Sunshine in, starring Juliette Binoche (Denis will appear October 7 and 8); and we have high hopes for Woody Allen’s latest, Wonder Wheel. Allen’s work has been uneven over the past decade, but it is a very promising sign that Wonder Wheel, scheduled to open in December, was selected to close the festival. (Star Kate Winslet will also participate in a special event Friday, October 13.)

But wait, there’s more. Revivals this year include MCC favorite Jean-Pierre Melville’s beloved caper film Bob Le Flambeur, and to file under curiosity, there is a little something from one of our favorite actors, “Three Music Films by Mathieu Amalric.” More promising still, we would describe our enthusiasm as unbounded for the world premiere of Trouble No More, a film about Bob Dylan’s “born again” phase, which comes with promises of some absolutely smoking concert footage. (Many gangster-rap lauding secular liberals are aghast at this period in Dylan’s career, which nevertheless produced some important, enduring songs in the Dylan catalogue and some great concerts – you should track down the bootlegs – but this Bob-era has been largely underappreciated.)  

And finally, in honor of his centennial year, the NYFF is cueing up a marvelous Robert Mitchum retrospective; twenty-five films, including Crossfire, Angel Face, His Kind of Woman, and three – count ‘em, three – All Time Greats: Out of the Past, Night of the Hunter, and The Friends of Eddie Coyle.  

Out of the Past

Robert Mitchum (with Jane Greer), in Out of the Past