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.
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
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.
Sunday night was the occasion of one of my favorite parties of the film festival calendar, that being the New York Film Festival closing night fiesta at the Stone Rose Lounge in the Time Warner Building at New York’s Columbus Circle, brought to you this year by our friends at Kodak. The party was well-hosted by Kodak’s Anne Hubbell, pictured on the right here as 1/2 of my own personal “If Life Were Only Like This” display. Helping to make me look good is the IFC Center manager Katie “I’m kickin’ Your Ass In Fantasy Soccer” Trainor.
See what I mean?