Film festival aims high with 'Bullets'


The New York Film Festival has finally gotten a film from New York's most "New York" filmmaker.

After decades of eluding what seemed like an obvious showcase for Woody Allen's work, an Allen film, his new Miramax comedy "Bullets Over Broadway," will make its U.S.debut at the 32nd New York Film Festival.

The festival will be christening a new slot for the Allen homecoming, making "Bullets Over Broadway" its "Centerpiece" presentation. The high-profile designation, similar in stature to the opening and closing night slots, will take place mid-festival and is expected to become an event staple.

The Sept. 23 through Oct. 9 festival has slated Miramax's "Pulp Fiction" to open the event and Fine Line Features' "Hoop Dreams" as the closer.

The festival launched in the early '60s, and Mr. Allen began his directorial career in film with "Take the Money and Run" (1969).

In addition to Mr. Allen's auteur status, his sophisticated brand of New York humor and often highbrow subject matter suggested his films would be a perfect fit for the festival. However, insiders have said that Mr. Allen's distributors -- Orion and TriStar -- and perhaps Mr. Allen himself had traditionally sought a more mainstream launch than the New York Film Festival.

Starring Dianne Wiest, John Cusack, Chazz Palminteri and Mary-Louise Parker, "Bullets Over Broadway," Mr. Allen's 23rd film as director, is a comedy about a playwright and a mobster whose parallel worlds intersect in New York in the '20s.

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