The 56th annual New York Film Festival is in full-swing as actors, directors and film enthusiasts unite at the big apple’s Lincoln Center. The 2018 NYFF is highly anticipated with American premiers of some of the most praised international films, including several Cannes titles.
The festival kicked off its opening night with the racy costume-drama The Favourite and closes Oct. 14 with the North American premiere of Julian Schnabel’s At Eternity’s Gate — a journey through the troublesome life of one of the world’s most renowned artists, Vincent Van Gogh.
With plenty of films already receiving critical acclaim from past festivals, such as Her Smell and Hotel by the River, here are 5 New York Film Festival features viewers and critics have declared must-sees.
IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK
Oscar winning director of Moonlight, Barry Jenkins, returns with a film adaption of the James Baldwin novel If Beale Street Could Talk. The film follows a young black couple, Fonny and Tish, who discover they are having a baby. Simultaneously, Fonny (Stephan James) is arrested for a crime he didn’t commit. Tish (Kiki Layne) desperately seeks a way to clear her fiancée’s name before their child arrives.
Jenkin’s script was adapted from the Baldwin novel and was meant to highlight a message of racial injustice. The Moonlight director said he was very inspired by Baldwin’s writing, saying Beale Street is “incredibly relevant to the American soul.” Jenkins prides himself in upholding the love he felt on the pages of the novel onscreen.
Critics are calling If Beale Street Could Talk “gorgeous and emotionally stirring,” and “one of the best movies you’ll see this year.”
If Beale Street Could Talk will be released in theaters Nov. 30.
Yorgos Lanthimos’ historical drama The Favorite, starring Emma Stone, Rachel Wiesz and Olivia Colman, marks the director’s return to NYFF. Lanthimos’ work has been an attraction at past festivals, as his well-received film The Lobster was featured at the Lincoln Center in 2015. His latest release headlined this year’s NYFF.
The Favourite is set early in the 18th century, when England is at war with France. As the volatile Queen, Anne (Olivia Colman), is suffering from ill health and temper displacement, she appoints her friend Lady Sarah (Rachel Wiesz) to the task of governing the country. But when Lady Sarah becomes wooed with the charming new servant, Abigail (Emma Stone), her position as the Queen’s companion is threatened. The seemingly innocent servant has a side-mission of her own and is determined to reprise her aristocratic roots.
NYFF director Kent Jones, called The Favourite a “perfectly meshed historical epic, visual feast, a wild ride (…), a formidable display of the art of acting from Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone, and Olivia Colman (…), and a blast.”
The Favourite will premiere in theaters Nov. 23.
Roma has received immense praise from both critics and viewers of this film festival season. The film was a massive success in Venice and took home the Golden Lion prize. The Netflix-absorbed film has only received speculation for multiple Oscar nominations as director Alfonso Cuaro´n also serves as the co-editor, co-cinematographer, writer and co-producer on Roma.
Cuaron’s autobiographically inspired film takes place in Mexico City in the early 1970s. Roma follows a middle-class family in their physical and emotional day-to-day lives that has been held together by their beloved nanny/housekeeper (Yalitza Aparicio). The epic story, shot entirely in black and white, details sudden life-changing moments while subconsciously creating “a vast cinematic experience.”
Roma has been set as the center piece for the NYFF and is set for theatrical release Dec. 14, followed by its Netflix premiere.
Academy award-nominated filmmaker Tamara Jenkins (creator of The Savages and Slums of Beverly Hills) returns with this Netflix produced drama. Kathryn Hahn and Paul Giamatti play a middle-aged Upper Westside couple who are facing struggles of infertility. As their exhausted efforts begin to take a toll on their relationship, their doctor recommends a third-party in conception. Richard (Giamatti) and Rachel (Hahn) delve deeper into the unfamiliarity of assisted reproduction and domestic adoption, when their college drop-out niece (Kayli Carter) volunteers as their IVF egg donor.
Private Life debuted at the Sundance Film festival and viewers were eager to see what Jenkins had created in her nine-year-long absence from film. In the brilliantly honest fertility epic, critics rejoiced at raw depiction of the battle of getting pregnant, saying, Private Life “miraculously gifts the viewer an empathetic lens to a painful battle, usually whispered, rarely openly discussed.”
Private Life will be released in theaters Oct. 5 and will appear on Netflix later this year.
Paul Dano’s directorial debut Wildlife is adapted from a Richard Ford novel of the same name. Carey Mulligan’s performance as the complex mother character (Jeanette) has been called the best of her career. Jeanette’s determination and self-involvement opposes the traditional values of a 1960s nuclear family. When her husband Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal) loses his job as a pro-golfer, and his sense of purpose, he decides to join the efforts against the wildfires blazing along the Canadian borders — leaving behind his wife and fourteen-year-old son, Joe (Ed Oxenbould).
Wildlife offers an interesting perspective, as Joe is forced to assume the role of an adult, as his mother struggles to adjust to their new situation and he comes to terms with his parent’s crumbling marriage.
Since its Sundance debut, Wildlife has received many positive reviews from critics who are saying the film is “an accomplished, moving piece of filmmaking, one that trusts its characters and its performers.” Others credit Dano with the film’s success saying it “aces the formal requirements that make a good film.”
Wildlife will be released in theaters Oct. 19.