The Film Society of Lincoln Center Announces Revivals Lineup for the 55th New York Film Festival, September 28 to October 15

New restorations of Andrei Tarkovsky’s The Sacrifice, Jean Vigo’s L’Atalante, Kenji Mizoguchi’s Sansho the Bailiff and A Story from Chikamatsu, Humberto Solás’s Lucía, and more, plus works by NYFF55 Main Slate filmmakers Agnès Varda and Philippe Garrel

 

Hallelujah the Hills. Picture courtesy Film Society of Lincoln Center

 

The Revivals section showcases important works from renowned filmmakers that have been digitally remastered, restored, and preserved with the assistance of generous partners.

Two venerated filmmakers from the festival’s 2017 Main Slate lineup also have works featured in this year’s Revivals section. Agnès Varda, who is returning to the festival alongside co-director JR with their new film Faces Places, will present her 1977 feminist musical One Sings, the Other Doesn’t, which was the Opening Night selection of the fifteenth edition of NYFF forty years ago. And two works by Philippe Garrel—1968’s black-and-white, silent film Le Révélateur and 1979’s devastatingly personal L’Enfant secret—accompany his Main Slate selection Lover for a Day. Both directors will appear in person at the festival.

Other works making their return in brilliant new restorations are Hou Hsiao-hsien’s often overlooked Daughter of the Nile (NYFF26), on its 30th anniversary, Andrei Tarkovsky’s Bergman-influenced final work, The Sacrifice (NYFF24), and Adolfas Mekas’s Hallelujah the Hills, which premiered in the first New York Film Festival in 1963.

The Revivals section also celebrates Jean Vigo’s legendary last film, L’Atalante, which was originally released just before the young filmmaker’s death in a cruelly edited, 65-minute version. Reconstituted painstakingly over time, the film is now is the closest we may ever come to Vigo’s original cut. Completing the lineup are two masterworks by Kenji Mizoguchi, both released in the same year—Sansho the Bailiff and A Story from Chikamatsu; long-thought-lost gothic tale The Old Dark House, by James Whale; Humberto Solás’s vivid first feature Lucía, a key work of Cuban cinema; Jean-Luc Godard’s made-for-TV chase movie Grandeur and Decadence, starring Jean-Pierre Léaud; Pedro Costa’s rarely seen second feature, Casa de Lava; Jean Renoir’s beautiful The Crime of Monsieur Lange; and Hallelujah the Hills, Adolf Mekas’s landmark work of New American Cinema.

The 18-day New York Film Festival highlights the best in world cinema, featuring works from celebrated filmmakers as well as fresh new talent. The selection committee, chaired by Jones, also includes Dennis Lim, FSLC Director of Programming; Florence Almozini, FSLC Associate Director of Programming; and Amy Taubin, Contributing Editor, Film Comment and Sight & Sound.

As previously announced, the NYFF55 Opening Night is Richard Linklater’s Last Flag Flying, Todd Haynes’s Wonderstruck is Centerpiece, Woody Allen’s Wonder Wheel is Closing Night, and the Retrospective honors Robert Mitchum’s centenary. The complete lineup for the Main Slate can be found here and for Projections, here.

NYFF Special Events, Spotlight on Documentary, and Convergence sections, as well as filmmaker conversations and panels, will be announced in the coming weeks.

Tickets for the 55th New York Film Festival will go on sale September 10 at noon. Becoming a Film Society Member at the Film Buff Level or above provides early ticket access to festival screenings and events ahead of the general public, along with the exclusive member ticket discount and brand new member benefits and offers available throughout NYFF. Learn more at filmlinc.org/membership.

For even more access, VIP passes and packages offer the earliest opportunities to purchase tickets and secure seats at some of the festival’s biggest events including Opening and Closing Nights, and Centerpiece. VIP passes also provide access to many exciting events, including the invitation-only Opening Night party, Filmmaker Brunch, and VIP Lounge. Benefits vary based on the pass or package type purchased. VIP passes and packages are on sale now. Learn more at filmlinc.org/packages.

 

 

Films & Descriptions

L’Atalante
Dir. Jean Vigo, France, 1934, 89m
Jean Vigo’s legendary last film, about a barge captain (Jean Dasté) and his new bride (Dita Parlo), who begin their turbulent marriage aboard his riverboat accompanied by an eccentric first mate (Michel Simon), was filmed in the winter of 1933 while the director was suffering from tuberculosis. Gaumont started hacking away at Vigo’s cut and released a 65-minute version to poor reviews. One month later, Vigo died at age 29. Since then, the film has not only been seen and loved but painstakingly reconstituted over time to be as close as we will ever come to Vigo’s original cut. A Janus Films release.

Restored by Gaumont in association with The Film Foundation and La Cinémathèque française with the support of Centre National de la Cinématographie. Restoration performed at L’Immagine Ritrovata in Bologna and Paris.

Bob le flambeur
Dir. Jean-Pierre Melville, France, 1956, 102m
The 1981 screening of Bob le flambeur at the 19th New York Film Festival marked many American filmgoers’ first exposure to Jean-Pierre Melville. His fourth feature, starring Roger Duchesne as a thief with a code of honor who envisions and executes a perfect plan to rob the casino in Deauville, marks the real beginning of what we have now come to think of as Melville’s world: a drily elegant network of interlocking movements and gestures between laconic gangsters, at once powered and haunted by American cinema. A Rialto Pictures release.

4K restoration from the interpositive, under the supervision of Studiocanal, with the support of the CNC.

Casa de Lava
Dir. Pedro Costa, Portugal, 1994, 105m
The colonial histories and displaced emigrants of Cape Verde have taken a central role in many of Costa’s films, but his rarely seen second feature is the only one of his movies thus far to have actually been shot on the archipelago. Leão (Isaach de Bankolé), the comatose laborer whose removal to his home at Fogo jump-starts the film, is a clear precursor to Costa’s now iconic character Ventura, with whom he shares a profession and a past. But the amount of fierce, unblinking attention the film gives to the colonists themselves is the real revelation: Edith Scob as an aging Portuguese woman who has made the island her ill-fitting home; Pedro Hestnes as her son; and Inês de Medeiros as the Lisbon nurse who accompanies Leão with a mixture of brashness and fear. Casa de Lava, inspired by Tourneur’s I Walked with a Zombie, is one of the director’s most direct reckonings with Portugal’s colonial legacy. A Grasshopper Film release.

The Crime of Monsieur Lange
Dir. Jean Renoir, France, 1936, 77m
A publishing company’s members form a collective after its charming and thoroughly evil owner (Jules Berry) disappears in the dead of night in Jean Renoir and writer Jacques Prévert’s beautiful film, made under the sign of Prévert’s socialist theater collective, Le Groupe Octobre. “Of all Renoir’s films,” wrote François Truffaut, “M. Lange is the most spontaneous, the richest in miracles of camerawork, the most full of pure beauty and truth. In short, it is a film touched by divine grace.” With René Lefèvre as the guileless dreamer M. Lange and singer and actress Florelle as his beloved. A Rialto Pictures release.

4K restoration from nitrate and safety elements, the internegative and a 35mm print, under the supervision of Studiocanal, with the support of the CNC.

Daughter of the Nile
Dir. Hou Hsiao-hsien, Taiwan, 1987, 91m
Often overlooked, Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Daughter of the Nile (Ni luo he nu er), a fascinating attempt to portray the anomie felt by Taiwanese youth of the mid-1980s (based in part on incidents in the life of screenwriter Chu T’ien-wen), came between the period pieces that established the director on his home ground and around the world. Even Hou himself has been hard on the film and its main actress, pop star Yang Lin, in the role of a teenager trying to make a living, care for her volatile older brother (Jack Kao), find love, and define herself all at once. Nevertheless, Daughter of the Nile is a rich experience from a formidable filmmaker. A Cohen Media Group release.

L’Enfant secret
Dir. Philippe Garrel, France, 1979, 92m
After the generational upheaval of May ’68 and its aftermath, and the personal upheavals of drug addiction, depression, and shock therapy, Garrel made the conscious decision to turn away from the increasingly private poetry of his earlier work, at the center of which was his great love Nico. He turned to the great screenwriter Annette Wadamant, who helped him to organize his thoughts into a narrative of “things that happened to me,” and the result was this spare, elemental, devastating film about two damaged souls (Henri de Maublanc and Anne Wiazemsky) trying to build a life together as her child (Xuan Lindenmeyer) is taken away. As Serge Daney wrote, “It’s as if this autobiographical film has succeeded in holding its bearings without forgetting the trace of each stage of the journey it’s passed through.”

Grandeur and Decadence/Grandeur et Décadence
Dir. Jean-Luc Godard, France, 1986, 91m
Godard took a French network television commission to create a TV movie for the Série noire TV anthology based on James Hadley Chase’s 1964 novel The Soft Centre, and turned in this funny, melancholy video piece about a director (Jean-Pierre Léaud) and producer (comic filmmaker Jean-Pierre Mocky) who are trying to make a movie out of the Chase novel—sort of—in the old style: on the run, with a low budget, and with an eye toward sublimity. A Capricci Films release.

Hallelujah the Hills
Dir. Adolfas Mekas, USA, 1963
Inspired as much by Hollywood comedies and romances of the silent era as by the French New Wave, Adolfas Mekas’s debut feature remains, 54 years after its American premiere in the first New York Film Festival, an irreverent delight, a semi-slapstick vision of true love, and a valentine to cinema itself. Two madly impulsive young men are in love with the same woman, who happens to be played by two different actresses. The snow-covered fields and trees of Vermont still gleam as beautifully in this new digital restoration as in the original 35mm.

Lucía
Dir. Humberto Solás, Cuba, 1968, 160m
A key work of Cuban cinema, the first feature from director Humberto Solás is a trio of stories about women named Lucía, each in a different register: “Lucía 1895” (featuring Raquel Revuelta, the “Voice of Cuba” in I Am Cuba) is inspired by Visconti’s Senso; “Lucía 1933” (with Eslinda Núñez, from Memories of Underdevelopment) is closer to Hollywood melodrama of the forties; and “Lucía 196_”, made in the spirit of the revolutionary moment, is a broadly drawn tale of a woman (Adela Legrá) under the thumb of her domineering husband. “One of the few films, Left or Right, to deal with women on the same plane and in the same breath as major historical events,” wrote Molly Haskell in 1974. Lucía is also a vivid visual experience, shot in glorious black and white by Jorge Herrero.

Restored by Cineteca di Bologna at L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory in association with Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industria Cinematográficos (ICAIC). Restoration funded by Turner Classic Movies and The Foundation’s World Cinema Project.

The Old Dark House
Dir. James Whale, USA, 1932, 71m
Cast from the mold of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” and the many gothic tales in its wake, J. B. Priestley’s 1927 novelBenighted was one of the most popular among the dozens of stories of the late 1920s and early 1930s for the page, stage, and screen about stranded travelers wandering through gloomy, secluded mansions at night. In their film adaptation, James Whale and his writers Benn Levy and R. C. Sherriff gave the novel a comic spin, bringing the film closer in spirit to the director’s later Bride of Frankenstein. The Old Dark House was thought to be lost in the years after Universal lost the rights, and it was filmmaker Curtis Harrington who rescued it from oblivion. A Cohen Media Group release.

One Sings, the Other Doesn’t
Dir. Agnès Varda, France, 1977, 107m
The opening night selection of the 1977 New York Film Festival, Agnès Varda’s singular One Sings, the Other Doesn’t (L’une chante, l’autre pas) is a feminist musical—with lyrics by the director—about the bond of sisterhood felt by Pomme (Valérie Mairesse) and Suzanne (Thérèse Liotard) throughout years of changes and fraught relationships with men. “If I put myself on the screen—very natural and feminist—maybe I’d get ten people in the audience,” Varda explained to Gerald Peary at the time of the film’s release. “Instead, I put two nice young females on the screen, and not too much of my own leftist conscience. By not being too radical but truly feminist, my film has been seen by 350,000 people in France.” A Janus Films release.

Le Révélateur
Dir. Philippe Garrel, France, 1968, 67m
This astonishingly beautiful black-and-white silent film was shot in the Black Forest of Germany with a cast of three (Bernadette Lafont, Laurent Zerzieff, and Stanlislas Robiolle), and is a primal response to the events of May ’68 as they were still unfolding. Lafont synopsized the film perfectly: “A couple and their child flee in the face of an unknown but still considerable menace… In a desolate landscape, full of humidity and humiliation, we see the weakest of beings stage his revolt: a child.” According to the cinematographer Michel Fournier, Garrel allowed him “the greatest liberty to improvise and to invent, with voluntarily minimal lighting in order to stimulate our imagination, and an extremely sensitive film stock in order to capture the faintest glimmers or the strongest apparitions.”

The Sacrifice
Dir. Andrei Tarkovsky, Sweden, 1986, 142m
The sacrifice in Andrei Tarkovsky’s final film, completed only months before his death from cancer at the age of 54, is performed by Alexander, an aging professor who strikes a deal with God in order to avert humankind’s self-obliteration after the sudden outbreak of World War III. The Sacrifice is a work made under the sign of one of Tarkovsky’s masters, Ingmar Bergman: the film was shot in Swedish with several of Bergman’s principal actors, including Erland Josephson in the lead, and his DP Sven Nykvist. It is, most certainly, a final testament. But it is also, like every Tarkovsky film, a plunge into the uncanny and the uncharted. A Kino Lorber release.

Sansho the Bailiff
Dir. Kenji Mizoguchi, Japan, 1954, 124m
One of the greatest of Kenji Mizoguchi’s films, Sansho the Bailiff (Sanshô Dayû) is also one of the greatest works of the cinema. The story of a family’s quiet endurance as it is split up and its members are sold into slavery and prostitution in 11th-century Japan is very delicately balanced between tenderness and remove. Sansho the Bailiff “moves from easy poetry to difficult poetry,” wrote Roger Greenspun when the film had its belated New York premiere in 1969. “Its impulses, which are profound but not transcendental, follow an aesthetic program that is also a moral progression, and that emerges, with superb lucidity, only from the greatest art.” A Janus Films release.

Restored by KADOKAWA Corporation and The Film Foundation at Cineric, Inc. in New York with sound by Audio Mechanics, with the cooperation of The Japan Foundation. Special thanks to Masahiro Miyajima and Martin Scorsese for their consultation.

A Story from Chikamatsu
Dir. Kenji Mizoguchi, Japan, 1954, 102m
Kenji Mizoguchi’s adaptation of Chikamatsu Monzaemon’s 17th-century jōruri play about an apprentice scroll-maker (Kazuo Hasegawa) who runs away with his master’s young wife (Kyōko Kagawa) is, like Sansho the Bailiff (released earlier in the same year) and Ugetsubefore them, a film of extraordinary beauty and force. Per Akira Kurosawa, A Story from Chikamatsu (Chikamatsu monogatari) is “a great masterpiece that could only have been made by Mizoguchi.” Screenwriter Yoshikata Yoda remembered the director giving him the following instructions: “Be stronger, dig more deeply. You have to seize man, not in some of his superficial aspects, but in his totality.” In other words, a quest, and one that was at the heart of Mizoguchi’s greatest works. A Janus Films release.

Restored by KADOKAWA Corporation and The Film Foundation at Cineric, Inc. in New York with sound by Audio Mechanics, with the cooperation of The Japan Foundation. Special thanks to Masahiro Miyajima and Martin Scorsese for their consultation.

FILM SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER
The Film Society of Lincoln Center is devoted to supporting the art and elevating the craft of cinema. The only branch of the world-renowned arts complex Lincoln Center to shine a light on the everlasting yet evolving importance of the moving image, this nonprofit organization was founded in 1969 to celebrate American and international film. Via year-round programming and discussions; its annual New York Film Festival; and its publications, including Film Comment, the U.S.’s premier magazine about films and film culture, the Film Society endeavors to make the discussion and appreciation of cinema accessible to a broader audience, as well as to ensure that it will remain an essential art form for years to come.

The Film Society receives generous, year-round support from Shutterstock, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. American Airlines is the Official Airline of the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

Support for the New York Film Festival is generously provided by Official Partner HBO® and The New York Times, Benefactor Partners Verizon, FilmStruck, The Village Voice, Dolby, and illy caffé, Hospitality Partners Loews Regency New York and RowNYC, and Supporting Partners MUBI, Fiji Water, Manhattan Portage. WABC-7, WNET New York Public Media, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline Hollywood, JCDecaux, and The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment serve as Media Sponsors.

 

Gregg Morris can be reached at gmorris@hunter.cuny.edu

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