Last Friday was the opening night of the New York Film Festival and a great party it was, followed by the traditional after party at New York restaurant Village. Last year I started my own tradition by taking snaps in black & white. This year I did the same, albeit with a real camera. This is the first of several posts with pix from the night. No captions, just photos.
Once again, it was a Black and White night….
I am on record as saying that my favorite film festival party of the year is opening night of the New York Film Festival. It’s like the prom but with (slightly) better food, fewer zits, better tuxes (more on that, later) and you get to go every year. Oh, and you don’t have to spike the punch.
It’s also black tie and I love that. Black tie parties are a chance for everyone to dress up and look snazzy and are really for the women. The men are supposed to all look relatively the same in tuxedos and the women get to shine. That’s all history, now. These days standards have been lowered slightly, so that “black tie” can mean a nice suit for men, in place of a tux. I’m not in favor of this, but that’s not really the point.
The point is, and I am sad to say this, the standards of dress at this party have been declining steadily over the past 8 years or so and have now gone far beyond a “nice suit and tie” into the realm of sovenly. The thing is, this isn’t Cannes and well, the Film Society of Lincoln Center isn’t going to send people home if they show up without a tux, nor should they. Additionally, the event has become increasingly inclusive of the independent film crowd and that’s fantastic. Not everyone owns a tux, and a nice suit and tie are fine. That said, there were quite a large number of people dressed, well, rather less formally. Unlike this nattily dressed gentleman:
indieWIRE’s editor in chief Eugene Hernandez leaving Tavern on the Green.
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Miramax, December, 2007)
directed by: Julian Schnabel, written by: Jean-Dominique Bauby (novel), Ronald Harwood (screenplay)
The life of Jean-Dominique Bauby is at once tragic and inspirational and in the very capable hands of director Julian Schnabel, his story comes to the screen in a most moving and artful way. We learn through early dialogue and flashback that Bauby has suffered a major stroke and that coming out of a coma he awakens in a state referred to as “locked in syndrome.” Actor Mathieu Amalric (Munich) plays Bauby, editor of Elle magazine and a major player in 1990s Paris social circles. After his stroke, Bauby becomes all but incapable of communication, as he is unable to speak or move, with the exception of his left eyelid.
In the film’s first 20 minutes or so we are Bauby, the camera playing the role of his functioning eye. Seeing that Bauby’s entire world has been internalized, it’s an inspired device, executed perfectly by Schnabel and his DP Janusz Kaminski (Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List). Initially overwhelmed by a feeling of claustrophobia – imagine wearing a neck brace and an eye patch while lying motionless in a hospital bed, unable, even, to swallow – we quickly appreciate having Bauby’s thoughts as voiceover. In what some might see as a cruel stroke, his mental acuity is left intact, but many of his early thoughts are sarcastic and witty, providing some relief from the tension.
Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (ThinkFilm, October 26th)
Dir: Sidney Lumet; written by: Kelly Masterson
NYFF public screenings: Friday, October 12th: 6pm, Saturday, October 13th: 12:45pm Buy Tickets
Master filmmaker Sidney Lumet latest effort, Before the Devil Knows Your Dead, is the tautest melodrama I’ve seen in quite some time and at 83, Lumet has lost none of his edge. While I didn’t necessarily find this new picture, which stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Albert Finney, Marisa Tomei, and Rosemary Harris, to be on the par with, Dog Day Afternoon or The Verdict — both among my all-time favorite films — it certainly kept me in its grip from the moment go. The difference between this one and the other two is that this film is story driven while the others are character oriented. The story is as close to Greek or Shakespearean tragedy as one can get and at times the characters seem to be little more than vehicles propelling the storylines forward. But what storylines there are!
The opening sequence finds married couple Andy (Hoffman) and Gina Hanson (Tomei) in an exceptional moment of blissful passion while vacationing in Brazil and their post-coital dialog reveals a clearly unhappy marriage Andy is a real estate executive with a cushy office over looking Manhattan and an unhappy wife, Gina, who replaces feelings of emptiness with expensive meaningless objects and sex with her brother-in-law, Hank (Hawke). This is as much bliss as the picture is going to offer and over the course of the next 110 minutes there is just a sense of menace and dread. Tomei, naked through most of her scenes, might just get her career back on track with this role. Not sure if that’s a good thing or simply a sad case of what an actress has to do get herself noticed these days. Finney plays Charles, the stoic patriarch. Whoever came up with the idea to cast Albert Finney as Hoffman’s dad had a gem of an idea and the relationship between the two is a key element of this tale.
Legendary director Sidney Lumet weighs in what he perceives as an inevitable shift from celluloid to hi-def digital production at a Q&A following a press screening of his latest film Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead at the 2007 New York Film Festival. I’ll be running a review of the film in the coming days as well as the complete audio recording of this Q&A session.
83 and still getting excited about new technology! The man’s amazing.