Festivals including the Cannes Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, The Tribeca Film Festival, and now, the New York Film Festival have all returned this year. Thousands of movie lovers will gather between the many auditoriums of Lincoln Center to catch some of the best films of the year. From big films such as “Dune,” and small projects like “Bergman Island,” the New York Film Festival offers the best of the best of films that you will likely hear about when the Oscars roll around.
Not being accredited for the New York Film Festival as a member of the press did not stop me from buying tickets to some of my most anticipated films of the year. I attended four screenings: “Bergman Island,” “The Lost Daughter,” “The Power of the Dog,” and “Dune.”
While it was my first time participating in a film festival, I instantly could feel that there is something unique and special about film festivals; lights begin to dim, and audience members are fully focused on the film. How many times have you gone to the movies and people are on their phones, or talking with their friends? None of that is tolerated or seen at the NYFF. During my screening of “Dune,” they had security constantly wandering up and down the aisles to ensure that everyone had their masks on and were not videotaping the film. Perhaps it is because “Dune” was still a few weeks away from being released to the general public, but it helped keep everyone focused on the actual film itself. It is like going to a Marvel movie on opening night in a packed theatre, but these films are well made and are likely to win awards.
Following most feature films were Q&As with select filmmakers and actors and were usually moderated by some sort of critic. “The Lost Daughter” had one of the most positively-received talks, and included cast members Olivia Colman, Dakota Johnson, Peter Sarsgaard, Paul Mescal, Ed Harris, and director Maggie Gyllenhaal all in attendance. The crowd especially popped for Colman akin to the wrestling fans in attendance when CM Punk debuted on AEW this summer. Even Wes Anderson—who is currently filming his latest film in Spain—checked in via live stream with other frequent collaborators to converse with some cast members of “The French Dispatch” who were in New York, including Jeffrey Wright and
All of this is to say, the New York Film Festival is a special experience. From foreign films, animated features, to Wes Anderson’s latest, the New York Film Festival gives movie fans all sorts of opportunities to expose themselves to great cinema. Very seldom do I feel like I just watched something special when the credits roll, especially with the slog of franchise films based on IPs that we mostly receive today, but seeing
a film at the New York Film Festival will leave you with the feeling that you just witnessed something special. Films like “The Lost Daughter” and “The Power of the Dog” will likely be in the conversation for awards from now until next spring, and you would be amongst the first to see films like these if you attend the New York Film Festival. Before the concern of a sort of elitism at the New York Film Festival, they are not completely against franchise films, as they are showing “Dune,” which hopes to get a sequel down the line.
The atmosphere is also something to behold. It is extremely rare to find yourself watching a film in a theatre amongst people who are all there to closely watch the film. There is not the usual smell of popcorn and soda filling the air, and while that may not be ideal for a film as long as “Dune,” it helps keep you focused on the film. Plus, Lincoln Center is located in the perfect part of New York City with fantastic restaurants such as Rosa Mexicano, P.J. Clarke’s on 63rd, or Il Violino.
Whether you are a casual moviegoer or a diehard “cinephile,” the New York Film Festival can easily wet your appetite with their variety of films. I cannot recommend enough that if you ever have a chance of attending a screening at any film festival, jump at the opportunity and experience it for yourself.