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By Film Threat Staff | August 15, 2007

The 45th New York Film Festival will premiere 28 films when it runs Sept. 28-Oct. 14 at the Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center. The festival, presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and sponsored by Sardinia Region Tourism and The New York Times, also features three unique sidebars, three special event screenings and five retrospective films.

Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud’s “Persepolis” has been selected as the festival’s Closing Night film. The animated coming-of-age story, based on Satrapi’s popular graphic novel about her own childhood in Iran during the Islamic Revolution, won a Jury Prize at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. It features the voice talents of Catherine Deneuve, Chiara Mastroianni, Danielle Darrieux and Simon Abkarian, several of whom are expected to attend the festival’s Closing Night screening at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall on Sunday, Oct. 14. Sony Pictures Classics is releasing the film.

The festival’s previously announced Opening Night and Centerpiece selections (Wes Anderson’s “The Darjeeling Limited” and the Coen Brothers’ “No Country for Old Men”) now headline a strong American contingent in the 2007 slate. Noah Baumbach, Gus Van Sant, Todd Haynes, Sidney Lumet all return to the festival with American productions; Julian Schnabel and Abel Ferrara come back with international co-productions; and Brian DePalma, John Landis and Ira Sachs each make their festival debuts.

Baumbach will screen his follow-up to “The Squid and the Whale,” the very funny and very true “Margot at the Wedding.” Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Jason Leigh star as contentious sisters thrown into a disastrous family weekend caused by Pauline’s (Leigh) engagement to the underwhelming Malcolm (Jack Black). Scott Rudin produces the film, a Paramount Vantage release.

Van Sant’s “Paranoid Park,” based on the novel by Blake Nelson, details the unraveling of a skateboarder’s life after he is involved in the death of a security guard. Newcomer Alex Nevins stars in the film, for which Van Sant won Cannes’ special 60th Anniversary Prize. IFC First Take will release the film.

The other American titles include Haynes’ “I’m Not There”—a rumination on the life of Bob Dylan, with actors Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger, Ben Wishaw and Marcus Carl Frankin each representing elements the famed musician’s mystique—DePalma’s trenchant vision of the Iraq war, “Redacted,” and Ira Sachs’ taut melodrama “Married Life.” Lumet returns to the New York Film Festival for the first time in 43 years (“Fail-Safe,” 1964) with “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead,” a crime story starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Albert Finney and Marisa Tomei. Two documentaries—Landis’ “Mr. Warmth, The Don Rickles Project” and Ed Pincus and Lucia Small’s “The Axe in the Attic”—round out the festival’s new U.S. productions.

The 45th New York Film Festival honors worldwide film production with more than half of its slate taken from other countries. Julian Schnabel’s “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” tells the story of magazine editor Jean-Dominique Bauby, who, paralyzed by a stroke, blinks out a memoir that eloquently captures his vibrant interior life. Mathieu Amalric stars as Bauby in the Miramax release, which won Cannes’ Best Director award and Technical Grand Prize.

Spanish director Juan Antonio Bayona will screen his feature film debut “The Orphanage,” a supernatural drama about a woman who re-opens the orphanage in which she was raised, only to discover terrible secrets as her seven-year-old son, Simón, begins making imaginary friends. The Picturehouse release is presented and produced by last year’s Closing Night director Guillermo del Toro (“Pan’s Labyrinth”).
Among the other international titles in the festival are Carlos Reygadas’ “Silent Light,” which shared with “Persepolis” the Jury Prize at Cannes; Abel Ferrara’s Italy/U.S. co-production “Go Go Tales;” Catherine Breillat’s “The Last Mistress;” Claude Chabrol’s “A Girl Cut In Two;” Hou Hsiao-hsien’s “The Flight of the Red Balloon;” Eric Rohmer’s “The Romance of Astrea and Celadon;” Alexander Sokurov’s “Alexandra;” Béla Tarr’s “The Man from London;” and Jia Zhang-ke’s documentary “Useless.” Cannes Palme d’Or winner “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” and Best Actress prizewinner “Secret Sunshine” were previously confirmed.

Five films will be featured as special retrospectives of the 45th New York Film Festival: the long-awaited “definitive cut” of “Blade Runner” by Ridley Scott, honoring the landmark science fiction film’s 25th anniversary; the premiere of a new score by the Alloy Orchestra to accompany Josef von Sternberg’s 1927 film “Underworld,” winner of the Best Writing Oscar® at the first Academy Awards®; John Ford’s first major film “The Iron Horse (1924),” a massive production about the building of the transcontinental railroad; Sven Gade and Heinz Schall’s 1920 German production of “Hamlet,” starring actress Asta Nielsen in the title role; and an evening titled “The Technicolor Show,” introduced by Martin Scorsese and featuring John Stahl’s “Leave Her to Heaven (1945).”

The Walter Reade Theater will also host three upcoming music documentaries as part of the New York Film Festival’s special events. Carlos Saura will screen “Fados,” a exploration of the celebrated Portuguese musical style. Acclaimed rock documentarian Murray Lerner’s “The Other Side of the Mirror: Bob Dylan Live at the Newport Folk Festival, 1963-1965” features footage of Bob Dylan’s infamous Newport performances, where the musician first used electric amplifiers. Peter Bogdanovich will complete the set with “Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Runnin’ Down a Dream,” an in-depth look at the legendary American rock band to be screened at its full 238 minutes, with a 15-minute intermission.

“Persepolis” joins a select group of films that have closed the New York Film Festival, many of which have gone on to critical acclaim and successful theatrical runs. Over the last 20 years, these have included David Mamet’s “House of Games,” Jane Campion’s “The Piano,” Milos Forman’s “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” Pedro Almodóvar’s “Live Flesh” and “Talk to Her,” Ang Lee’s “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” Alejandro González Iñárritu’s “21 Grams,” Alexander Payne’s “Sideways,” Michael Haneke’s “Caché” and last year’s selection, Guillermo Del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth.”

Due to ongoing renovations at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, this year’s New York Film Festival screenings will be held at the Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, in the Time Warner Center. Opening Night will be held at Avery Fisher Hall, as well as Rose Hall. Closing Night will be held at Avery Fisher Hall only. Special events and some retrospective screenings will be held at the Walter Reade Theater.

The 45th New York Film Festival’s selection committee is made up of Richard Peña, chairman and the Film Society’s program director; Kent Jones, associate director of programming at the Film Society and editor-at-large of Film Comment magazine; Scott Foundas, film editor and critic, L.A. Weekly; J. Hoberman, film critic, The Village Voice, and visiting lecturer at Harvard University; and Lisa Schwarzbaum, film critic, Entertainment Weekly.

As previously announced, this year’s festival sidebar will honor director and screenwriter Joaquim Pedro de Andrade, a renowned member of Brazil’s Cinema Novo movement of the 1950s and ‘60s, who solidified his place as a master filmmaker with his 1969 classic, Macunaima. The series, titled Tropical Analysis: The Films of Joaquim Pedro de Andrade, will run Sept. 29-Oct. 9 at the Walter Reade Theater.

Two other sidebars are included among the festival’s events screening at the Walter Reade Theater. Views from the Avant-Garde returns for its 11th year as a distinguished showcase of experimental film and video, screening films during the second weekend of the festival, Oct. 6-7. The festival also celebrates the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region with Chinese Modern: A Tribute to Cathay Studios, Oct. 10-16, screening films from the Hong Kong production that, more than any other, introduced a distinctly modern lifestyle to Chinese culture.

Additionally, during the festival, the Film Society will salute New Line Cinema’s 40 years of extraordinary filmmaking at a black-tie gala to benefit the Film Society’s campaign to build a new film center. New Line Cinema’s Co-Chairmen and Co-CEOs Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne will be honored at the event on Friday, Oct. 5, at the Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center.

The 45th New York Film Festival, presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, is sponsored by Sardinia Region Tourism and The New York Times. The screening of Underworld is made possible through the generosity of the Ira M. Resnick Foundation. Tropical Analysis has been organized by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and Os Filmes do Serro. Chinese Modern is sponsored by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office New York.

The Film Society of Lincoln Center was founded in 1969 to celebrate American and international cinema, to recognize and support new directors, and to enhance the awareness, accessibility and understanding of film. Advancing this mandate today, the Film Society hosts two distinguished festivals: the New York Film Festival, which annually premieres the best films from around the world and has introduced the likes of François Truffaut, R.W. Fassbinder, Jean-Luc Godard, Pedro Almodóvar, Martin Scorsese, and Wong Kar-Wai to the United States, and New Directors/New Films, co-presented by the Museum of Modern Art, which focuses on emerging film talents. Since 1972 when the Film Society honored Charles Chaplin, the annual Gala Tribute celebrates an actor, filmmaker or industry leader who has helped distinguish cinema as an art form. Additionally, the Film Society presents a year-round calendar of programming at its Walter Reade Theater and offers insightful film writing to a worldwide audience through Film Comment magazine.

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