How mighty is the New York Film Festival? The latest from Steven Spielberg — the Cold War spy saga “Bridge of Spies,” with Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance — isn’t even one of the special screenings. The 53rd iteration of NYFF has choice nabs for its opening, closing and centerpiece slots. The first goes to “The Walk,” Robert Zemeckis’ account of Philippe Petit’s high-wire stroll across the World Trade Center, previously documented in “Man on Wire.” Closing night is Don Cheadle’s “Miles Ahead,” a pleasantly bizarre-sounding take on Miles Davis. And the big one in the middle is no less than “Steve Jobs,” Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin’s take on the tech giant. All three are world premieres, puffing up the prestige of a long-prestigious fest.
All three titles were previously announced, but NYFF’s full, 26-film main slate is now official. There are holdovers from Cannes and elsewhere. Todd Haynes’ “Carol” is his romance between Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. “The Lobster,” from the English-language debut from “Dogtooth” auteur Yorgos Lanthimos, stars the likes of Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz and John C. Reilly in an atypical dystopia wherein the terminally single are turned into animals. The period romance “Brooklyn,” with Saoirse Ronan, will also appear, as will Michael Almereyda’s science drama “Experimenter,” with Peter Sarsgaard.
There are also, of course, the requisite international greats. Taiwan’s minimalist extraordinaire Hou Hsiao-hsien finally returns with no less than a kung-fu movie, albeit an arty kung-fu movie: “The Assassin.” Retro stylist Guy Maddin’s “The Forbidden Room” is also present, as is “Mountains May Depart,” a memory piece from Arnaud Desplechin (“Kings and Queen,” “A Christmas Tale”). Michel Gondry is still in France with “Microbe & Gasoline,” while American audiences will finally get a peek at the three-part, six-hour “Arabian Nights,” from “Tabu”’s Miguel Gomes. All this, plus the latest from the great Chantal Akerman (“No Home Movie”) and South Korea’s ever-reliable Hong Sang-soo (“Right Now, Wrong Then”).
In this slate, even someone like Michael Moore — showing off his new “Where to Invade Next” — seems minor by comparison.
The festival will run from September 25 through October 11. For the full line-up — including many we regret highlighting here — visit the site.