It Begins: 52nd New York Film Festival is Underway - See Some Films
by Alex Billington
September 26, 2014
It's your time New Yorkers! Don't miss out! Forget Tribeca, this the best festival in the city. Today is the first day of the 52nd New York Film Festival, the annual film festival run by the Lincoln Center. They have better films than Tribeca, better venues, better experiences, everything is better at the Lincoln Center. And if you've been waiting to see some of the best films of 2014, now is your chance. The festival kicks off with David Fincher's Gone Girl premeiring tonight (which we're screening this evening) and runs for over two weeks, highlighting the best that cinema has to offer from all over the world. Tickets are available online for anyone to buy, and they're worth hunting down if you're a cinephile from New York City with free evenings.
This is my second year attending/covering the New York Film Festival and I'm happy to be back. Covering film festivals in the city where you live is a completely different experience, but luckily NYFF runs a great show. I love the venues (all of the cinemas at the Lincoln Center are top of the line) and best of all, they care about the audience as much as the celebrities. Or at least, they go out of their way to make any and everyone feel like they can be a part of this great festival. Sure it's impossible to get a ticket to the opening party, but that doesn't matter. It's all about the films the chance to see so many good ones playing in the city this fall.
Here's the short list of films I've screened at NYFF (early screenings) so far - with plenty more on the way:
Hill of Freedom - Dir. Hong Sang-soo - Amusing and short (only 66 minutes!) but not as emotionally engaging as I was hoping it might be. It's not bad. My first introduction to Hong Sang-soo.
Eden - Dir. Mia Hansen-Løve - My second time seeing this film (TIFF review) because I adore it so much. Connects with me deeply, similar to Boyhood in its scope, but it's honestly not for everyone.
Listen Up Phillip - Dir. Alex Ross Perry - Too many close-ups! So many! Not my style, too loquacious and literary and pretentious, not enough heart. I prefer Schwartzman more in The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Whiplash - Dir. Damien Chazelle - My second time seeing this film (Sundance review) and I still love it, it's still fucking fantastic. The epitome of passion that embodies the desire to exceed expectations.
Aside from some of the other big ones like Inherent Vice, Gone Girl and Birdman, a number of the films in the line-up this year have already played at other festivals first. Almost everything else I've seen already I would recommend to others, and I'm glad they're showing these at NYFF. They are the best films of the year, and you'll agree once you start seeing them. Other films I've seen that are playing at NYFF52: Birdman, '71, Clouds of Sils Maria, Foxcatcher, Maps to the Stars, Mr. Turner, Two Days One Night, and Whiplash, plus documentaries The Last Hijack, The Look of Silence, Seymour: An Introduction.
To put it succinctly - go see some films at NYFF! There's so many to see, so many discoveries, so many gems, so many great films. They've got comedies, they've got dramas, they've got foreign features, they've got indie sensations, they've got a couple of Hollywood productions, it's all here and it's all worth seeing (no really, it is). Go check out a film you've never heard of before, take a risk with a filmmaker you're not familiar with, see something you're excited for and then go see something you're not excited for. It's worth it. Worth it to experience a great film in the best venues at the very best film festival in all of New York City. There's always something going on in town, but for the next few weeks give the NYFF your attention. You won't forget it.
I'm excited to continue on with NYFF52 and keep seeing films. While they've already been hosting press screenings for the last few weeks, there are still more screenings every day until October 12th. The festival brings in all the filmmakers and stars for events every day, meaning there's a chance to discuss and interact in addition to experience. There's a group of young critics being trained and given all access to screenings, too. It's a festival where you're guaranteed to see a great film and have a fun time. So don't miss out. Don't miss the best films of the year. Find a way to get in somehow, find something interesting to see, and enjoy.