The 51st New York Film Festival has tapped 35 films, an unusually large number for this tightly curated Gotham fest, to comprise a main slate that mixes a strong contingent of comedies, plus an animated pic, in with the traditional array of serious-minded global cinema that has often made up the bulk of NYFF's lineup in the past years.
The slate, which usually weighs in at somewhere between 25 and 30 films, is the first to be overseen by Kent Jones, who took over the top festival post -- director of programming and selection committee chair -- last year following the exit of longtime leader Richard Pena. Festivalgoers looking for clues to how Jones' taste might differ from the old guard will likely find the greatest shift in the 2013 lineup's significant chunk of comedies including Richard Curtis' "About Time," Roger Michell's "Le Week-End" and "Alan Partridge," the Declan Lowney-helmed movie centering on Steve Coogan's titular TV creation.
The comedy cohort stands out largely because the fest, rightly or not, has more of a rep for championing challenging, serious, smarty-pants films, many of them drawn from the international festival circuit. There are some of those on this year's list as well, including Lav Diaz's 250-minute take on "Crime and Punishment," "North, the End of History," and Corneliu Porumboiu's cerebral "When Evening Fall on Bucharest or Metabolism."
Also in the NYFF lineup are the more traditional array of fest-circuit headturners, this year including Cannes award winners such as Abdellatif Kechiche's "Blue Is the Warmest Color," Joel and Ethan Coen's "Inside Llewyn Davis" (pictured, top) and Alexander Payne's "Nebraska," all making the cut alongside Jim Jarmusch vampire tale "Only Lovers Left Alive," Frederick Wiseman doc "At Berkeley," J.C. Chandor's Robert Redford topliner "All Is Lost" and the latest animated outing from Hayao Miyazaki, "The Wind Rises." Among the other international titles on the list are Claire Denis' "Bastards," Agnieszka Holland's "Burning Bush," Arnaud Desplechin's "Jimmy P" and Hong Sang-soo's "Nobody's Daughter Haewon."
Actors-turned-directors also stand out on the list, with James Franco-helmed South Gothic story "Child of God" and Ralph Fiennes-directed Dickens bio "The Invisible Woman" (pictured, above) joining Stiller's "Mitty" in the fest.
The 17-day New York Film Festival runs Sept. 27-Oct. 13, with sidebars and other complementary programming still to be set.
The 2013 New York Film Festival Main Slate:
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS (Opening Night Gala Selection)
Director: Paul Greengrass
THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY (Centerpiece Gala Selection)
Director: Ben Stiller
HER (Closing Night Gala Selection)
Director: Spike Jonze
Director: Richard Curtis
ABUSE OF WEAKNESS (Abus de faiblesse)
Director: Catherine Breillat
New York Film Festival Unveils Lineup
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