New York Film Festival 2021

Here’s everything you need to know about New York Film Festival 2021, including screenings, reviews and ticket info

Benedict Cumberbatch in a cowboy hat in a Wild West setting with scrub and sandy hills
Photograph: Netflix

Easily one of the best things to do in the fall, the annual New York Film Festival dates back to 1963, when it established a mission of bringing the best work from around the world to Lincoln Center. Excitement is already feverish for this year’s 59th edition, thanks to the August announcement of this year's main slate lineup which will include new works from Céline Sciamma, Pedro Almodóvar, Joel Coen, Jane Campion and more big-name directors.

An annual treat that shows off the city's cinematic good taste in a classy way, the New York Film Festival hosts many fantastic movie screenings and events that you won’t want to miss. This year, the film festival has returned to four theaters at Lincoln Center, with proof of vaccination required to enter any screening. 

When is New York Film Festival 2021?

The festival runs from Friday, September 24 to Sunday, October 10.

Where is New York Film Festival 2021?

The festival’s main venue is Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, located at 1941 Broadway (between 65th and 66th Sts), with subsequent screenings at various Lincoln Center venues, including the Walter Reade Theater (165 W 65th St) and the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center (144 W 65th St). Additional venues will be announced soon. 

Will New York Film Festival 2021 also be virtual?

While some virtual events may be added, there will not be any virtual screenings this year, due to director requests to keep their debuts limited to theaters.

How do I get New York Film Festival tickets?

All tickets will be available via the official festival website starting at noon EST on Tuesday, September 7. All access passes are now available for $375. Main Slate and Spotlight screenings are $25 for Film at Lincoln Center members and students or $30 for the general public. Tickets to currents and revivals are $12 for members and students and $17 for the general public. Discounted rush tickets will also be available an hour before select screenings, at the film’s specific box office. 

New York Film Festival 2021

Ten brilliant new movies showing at the 2021 New York Film Festival
Movies

Ten brilliant new movies showing at the 2021 New York Film Festival

Each year, the New York Film Festival (which runs from Friday, September 24, to Sunday, October 10, 2021) sweeps up the best of the year’s international cinema. In 2021, the festival will open with the world premiere of Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth, close with Pedro Almodóvar’s Parallel Mothers and squeeze in a midway gala of Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog. In between, there’s a long list of new movies from around the globe, many of them from the best directors working today, including South Korea’s Hong Sangsoo, France’s Céline Sciamma and the UK’s Joanna Hogg. But which films are genuinely worth trying to get tickets for? That’s where we can help. These are Time Out’s picks of the program. You’ll find the full NYFF program and information on times and tickets here.

Review: The Velvet Underground
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Review: The Velvet Underground

If you already love the Velvet Underground, this is two hours of visual and aural bliss. If you don’t, same. 

Review: The Tragedy of Macbeth
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Review: The Tragedy of Macbeth

Joel Coen’s first solo film is a bloody feast for the eyes and the ears

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Review: Titane
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Review: Titane

Extreme violence, car fucking and gender fluidity meet in Julie Ducournau’s wild ride

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Review: Flee
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Review: Flee

The sorrows and horrors of the migrant experience are laid bare in a richly moving animation with a queer dimension

Review: The Worst Person in the World
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Review: The Worst Person in the World

Writer-director Joachim Trier closes out his unofficial Oslo trilogy with this lively portrait of a woman searching for romantic and creative meaning

Review: Belle
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Review: Belle

It girls, grieving high-schoolers and cyber dragons collide in Mamoru Hosoda’s dazzling anime skew on Beauty and the Beast

Review: Passing
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Review: Passing

Rebecca Hall’s directorial debut is a stunning investigation of race, sexuality and identity in Jazz Age Harlem

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Review: The French Dispatch
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Review: The French Dispatch

Wes Anderson puts his byline on a dazzlingly conceived but over-loaded celebration of old-school journalism

Review: Hit the Road
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Review: Hit the Road

Iranian filmmaker Panah Panahi’s road trip movie is a bittersweet answer to Little Miss Sunshine

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New York Film Festival 2020

Mangrove
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Mangrove

This is the first episode in director Steve McQueen’s TV series of five films about Black British life from the 1960s to ’80s. It’s co-written by McQueen (12 Years a Slave) and Alastair Siddons (Trespass Against Us), and stands loudly and proudly as a movie in its own right. Urgent, angry and unsentimental, it takes us back to the late 1960s and early ’70s and a landmark flashpoint in the history of Black Britain.Its focus is the almighty cultural, political and judicial clash that saw Frank Crichlow (Shaun Parkes), the Trinidad-born owner of Notting Hill’s Mangrove restaurant, a popular West Indian hangout on All Saints Road, chased to the highest level of the courts in 1970. Alongside him in the dock were eight other Black activists and thinkers, including Darcus Howe (Malachi Kirby) and British Black Panther leader Altheia Jones-LeCointe (Letitia Wright). All were falsely accused of inciting a riot in west London on the back of ceaseless police harassment. The subsequent trial saw several of the Mangrove Nine – as they became known – brilliantly defending themselves, becoming spokes in the wheels of an establishment that barely knew how to react.These are fascinating, electric personalities, and the intoxicating raw energy of Mangrove is fuelled by their intellects, imaginations, anger – as well as terrific performances from Parkes, Kirby, Wright and others. This might be history, but it’s a story that has obvious relevance today, and you can feel that urgency in the film’s spirit. This is no dusty historical tale, of mild passing interest. It’s untold history, relevant right now, finally given its due. It begins with a party vibe as we meet Crichlow as he opens the Mangrove in 1968, and later the mood turns to nightmare and finally to one of hard-won empowerment. Its portrayal of Crichlow is especially nuanced: what Parkes gives us is a portrait of political awakening and consciousness. Crichlow is furious, frustrated, disbelieving, just wanting to get on with life. He’s a reluctant revolutionary, especially when faced with more engaged characters like Howe and Jones-LeCointe (and there are fascinating distinctions and tensions drawn within that group, too, between those attracted more to ideas or action).It’s a story of two Englands: one emerging, one established. The film’s first half is set on the streets of Notting Hill, with visions of the half-built Westway carving its way through the area (we also see the near-completed Trellick Tower; it would be another two years before Grenfell Tower was finished a few streets away). This proud sense of place is upturned in the second half when the Old Bailey becomes our theatre, with its arcane rituals and the film’s woozy, dislocating visions of the court’s grand, celestial ceiling paintings.Mangrove artfully swerves the hollow excitement that can come with big-screen dramas celebrating punch-the-air court victories and historical milestones. As Howe says in the dock, the end feels like the beginning, and Mangrove feels like a small fight in a big battle, with no clear start and finish. It begins and ends on the streets of Notting Hill, one chapter in the long recent history of a place and a community. It’s a masterclass in conjuring up a time and a place, and many of its ideas and arguments feel as pointed today as they did in 1970. Watch and learn.Mangrove opens the BFI London Film Festival on Wed Oct 7. It airs on the BBC in November

Lovers Rock
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Lovers Rock

Seductive, shrewd and special, Lovers Rock is just one chapter in a new five-film anthology about Black London life from the 1960s to the ’80s, all of them directed by British filmmaker and artist Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave). It immerses us in a house party in west London in 1980 – a swirl of excited preparations, followed by the rituals and rhythms of the party itself, a cash-on-the-door reggae night at a house in Ladbroke Grove. There’s flirting. Showing off. Loosening up. Getting it on. A lot of dancing. Some hanging about. A queue for the toilet. Some heavy behaviour in the garden. Clouds of cigarette smoke, loads of sweat and the buzz of the crowd-pulling Bruce Lee dance-moves when the needle drops on Kung Fu Fighting.And that’s it. It’s a blissfully simple, short story of a film, unfolding over just one night, framed by dusk and dawn. While it might be a quick fix – a high, a swoon, a rush and it’s over – McQueen and his co-writer Courttia Newland cram an enormous amount of joy, experience and suggestion into just 68 minutes.It’s mostly an ensemble piece – a bunch of characters each get a moment in the spotlight – but if it’s anyone’s story, it’s Martha’s (Amarah-Jae St Aubyn). We follow her sneaking out of home and back again, until her night ends with the promise of more to come from Franklyn (Micheal Ward), the handsome guy she meets. There are events – a scuffle, the blossoming romance, some aggro on the door, a lot of laughs – yet it’s the dancefloor moments you’ll remember: the women breaking into an acapella version of Janet Kay’s ‘Silly Games’, and then the male flipside, a stomping, sweaty mass of blokes getting down to The Revolutionaries’ soundsystem standard ‘Kunta Kinte’.This is a clued-up film, aware of the divisions of race, class, power, money that would define much of the lives of these first- and second-generation Black Londoners, many of them the sons and daughters of Caribbean immigrants. But, apart from a couple of telling interactions away from the party – a condescending white boss, a group of menacing white boys – its politics are implicit. With Lovers Rock McQueen creates a proud bubble of Black youth: the party and the music cancel out the noise of parents, bosses, church, racists and other downers of early 1980s England. But they’re all hinted at. The party is an escape, a retreat, a sort of freedom.And what a party. McQueen and his collaborators (cinematographer Shabier Kirchner deserves a special shout-out) immerse us so deeply into the sounds, sights and smells of this time and this place that there’s barely time to think. The detail is hypnotic. It’s a film of sounds, feelings and textures. The tunes will lodge in your brain, and you’ll leave blinking into the light like you were right there yourself – wondering where you’ve been, what you’ve seen and when you can return. Lovers Rock airs in the UK on BBC One in November as part of Small Axe, an anthology of five films by Steve McQueen.

These six new spotlight films are set to debut at the New York Film Festival next month
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These six new spotlight films are set to debut at the New York Film Festival next month

On the Rocks
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On the Rocks

It’s not quite up there with Lost in Translation but Sofia Coppola’s latest rumination on ennui, drifting relationships and the rarified discontent of seemingly comfortable lives may be exactly the existential crisis you need right now. It’s one of those films that seems to creep up on you: one minute, you’re revelling in its chi-chi New York locations and the sight of an on-form Bill Murray and Rashida Jones reinventing the buddy comedy; the next, you find yourself welling up as it zooms in on the painful undercurrents of father-daughter dynamics. This story of flawed fathers and disappointed daughters is partly inspired by Coppola’s own dad, though it’s hard to imagine incorrigible playboy Felix (Murray) staying in one place long enough to do anything as concrete as making a movie. To the lasting resentment of his daughter Laura (Jones), a blocked writer and mum on the cusp of turning 40, he’s already bailed out on her mother – and his womanising days seem far from over. But who better to help her find out if there’s something going on between her entrepreneur husband Dean (Marlon Wayans) and his attractive new colleague? This poacher-turned-gamekeeper even brings his own transport (a vintage Alfa Romeo) and a pair of binoculars. The pair’s sleuthing takes in some of Manhattan’s most boho corners – the olde-worlde Bemelmans Bar is On the Rocks’ answer to Lost in Translation’s Park Hyatt Tokyo – before embarking on a fairly pointless diversion to Mexico. But the real fun of the film – and its beating heart – comes in watching the pair hang out, relitigating old wounds and jousting over monogamy, trust and dad’s very pre-#MeToo outlook (‘I don’t know why women get plastic surgery,’ muses Felix. ‘Because of men like you,’ comes the acid reply). Murray and Jones know when to play for laughs and when to mine a little deeper, and Coppola does too – On the Rocks is full of observational moments that do both. A rogue Roomba provides a deadpan interlude, appearing in Laura’s office and repeatedly butting the wall in a way that’s more than a bit analogous with her creatively stymied state of mind. It reminded me of watching Stephen Dorff’s disengaged movie star going round in circles in his Ferrari in Somewhere.  Jenny Slate has a ton of fun as a divorced friend whose anarchic love life acts as a cautionary tale for the restless Laura. But On the Rocks is the Murray-Jones show: one provides a highly relatable snapshot of a dynamic woman at the end of her tether; the other is all tether. Riding along with them as they cross the Big Apple looking for her husband and a little common ground is a journey well worth taking. In US and UK cinemas on Fri Oct 2, and on Apple TV+ worldwide on Oct 23

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New York Film Festival unveils this year’s lineup
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New York Film Festival unveils this year’s lineup

This world may have changed drastically since last fall, but great cinema is here to stay. One of New York’s premiere annual film events, the New York Film Festival, has announced the lineup for this September’s event. And although the festival is set to look a lot different than in previous incarnations, the films scheduled to be shown are as exciting as ever.  “The disorientation and uncertainty of this tough year had the effect of returning us to core principles,” Dennis Lim, director of programming for NYFF, said in a statement. “To put it simply, the Main Slate is our collective response to one central question: which films matter to us right now? Movies are neither made nor experienced in a vacuum, and while the works in our program predate the current moment of crisis, it’s striking to me just how many of them resonate with our unsettled present, or represent a means of transcending it.” This year’s lineup of films, which will be shown mainly virtually and in outdoor screenings, includes new works by Steve McQueen, Chloe Zhao and Azazel Jacobs. As previously announced, the 58th edition of the festival will open with McQueen’s Lovers Rock, a 1980-set film taking place over the course of one night at a house party. (That film is part of the director’s ambitious new Small Axe anthology. Two other films in that anthology, Mangrove and Red, White and Blue, will also be screening at the festival.)  The centerpiece of the festival will be Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland, an adaptation of Jessica Bruder’s acclaimed 2017 book documenting the lives of itinerant older Americans. (Did we mention Frances McDormand stars in that one?) The closing night selection is Azazel Jacob’s eccentric new film French Exit, starring Michelle Pfeiffer as a once wealthy New York widow starting her life over in Paris. That one seems like a pretty easy sell, but we will await our critic's response. For the full list of the film’s featured in this year’s Main Slate, visit the New York Film Festival’s official site. Highlights include Frederick Wiseman’s City Hall; Jia Zhangke's Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue; Christian Petzold's Blue; Hong Sangsoo's The Woman Who Ran; and Garrett Bradley's Time. The 58th New York Film Festival is set to run from September 17–October 11. Most popular on Time Out - You can now book a roomette on Amtrak and bring a friend for free- The 13 best waterfront restaurants in NYC- Brooklyn overtakes Manhattan for most neighborhoods in the top 50 priciest- 10 perks of wearing a mask all the time in NYC- You can now rent a “backyard” on the waterfront at Pier 17

New York Film Festival 2019

NYFF Review: The Irishman
Movies

NYFF Review: The Irishman

Replete with all the gangster gab a Scorsese fan could want, it's strongest in quieter passages

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
The 10 best movies to see at the 2019 New York Film Festival
Movies

The 10 best movies to see at the 2019 New York Film Festival

The city’s premiere annual event for film fanatics, NYFF, is about to begin. Here are the truly unmissable titles.

The best restaurants near Lincoln Center
Restaurants

The best restaurants near Lincoln Center

Skip the tourist traps and head to these gems instead for your post-screening debate

New York Film Festival will open with Martin Scorsese's The Irishman in fall 2019
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New York Film Festival will open with Martin Scorsese's The Irishman in fall 2019

It's a programming coup that ranks with the fest's 2014 world premiere of David Fincher's Gone Girl

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New York Film Festival 2018

The 10 best movies to see at the 2018 New York Film Festival
Movies

The 10 best movies to see at the 2018 New York Film Festival

From the riches of the annual showcase, we pick ten bangers, filled with punk perversity and global empathy alike

New York Film Festival 2017

The 10 best movies to see at the 2017 New York Film Festival
Movies

The 10 best movies to see at the 2017 New York Film Festival

Catch the cream of this year’s edition—heartbreaking indies and foreign sensations—before awards season heats up

The official lineup for the New York Film Festival is here!
News

The official lineup for the New York Film Festival is here!

Nothing turns our eye more to the serious fall movies than announcement of the New York Film Festival's "main slate"

New York Film Festival 2016

The 10 best movies to see at the 2016 New York Film Festival
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The 10 best movies to see at the 2016 New York Film Festival

Here’s the official lineup for the New York Film Festival
News

Here’s the official lineup for the New York Film Festival

The opening film at this year’s New York Film Festival will make history
News

The opening film at this year’s New York Film Festival will make history

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
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Abacus: Small Enough to Jail

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
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New York Film Festival 2015

The 10 best movies at the 2015 New York Film Festival
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The 10 best movies at the 2015 New York Film Festival

Arabian Nights
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Arabian Nights

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Carol
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Carol

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Cemetery of Splendor
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Cemetery of Splendor

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars

New York Film Festival 2014

Maps to the Stars
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Maps to the Stars

Targets don’t come much softer than Hollywood. What stops David Cronenberg’s grotesque noir, written by L.A. insider Bruce Wagner, from feeling tired is that it’s deliciously odd. It hovers in the ether above reality, as if the director of The Fly, A History of Violence and Cosmopolis managed to get his hands on a rogue script for TV’s Entourage and up the weird factor tenfold. Some of this creepy portrait of Beverly Hills screw-ups is deeply silly—here’s looking at you, John Cusack as a self-help guru—but it has just enough venomous bite to leave you feeling poisoned simply from being in the company of these gargoyles for two hours. At first, it feels like Maps to the Stars is going to play close to known reality, with characters talking about "Harvey" (Weinstein, we presume) and about how one filmmaker "ain’t P.T. Anderson." "This is Garry Marshall not Bertolucci," says Julianne Moore’s desperate, fat-lipped actress Havana. She’s a horrific creation: spoiled, needy, two-faced, the daughter of another actress ("a dead cult figure") and a lonely, walking mess in Rodeo Drive clothes, aching to land a role. Another character, Agatha (Mia Wasikowska), steps off the bus from a shady past and becomes her assistant. Her arms are always covered; on her face are scars. She’s obsessed with celebrity and makes friends with a limo driver-cum-wannabe screenwriter (Robert Pattinson, in a side role), but her eye is always on a bigger prize. Elsewhere we meet a child movie star, Benjie (Eva

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
Clouds of Sils Maria
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Clouds of Sils Maria

When we first meet Maria Enders (Juliette Binoche), she’s riding on a train through the Alps with her ever-present assistant, Valentine (Stewart), by her side. Olivier Assayas’s initially intriguing, ultimately wispy drama doles out the facts in quick succession: Maria is a high-profile stage and film actor in the process of a bitter divorce, and she’s on her way to present an award to the writer who, twenty years earlier, authored the play that first brought her to the world’s attention. (It was a workplace dramedy about a young secretary coldly seducing her female boss to get ahead.) But then Valentine gets a call: The poor honoree has died of a heart attack, the first of several crises that throw Maria off her axis. Assayas’s film is similarly unmoored, though it takes a while to realize that. He keeps a placid distance from his characters, settling into an easygoing, lightly satirical groove after Maria accepts an offer to do a new production of her deceased mentor’s play. The catch: This time, she’ll be the older woman and troubled Hollywood starlet JoAnn Ellis (Chloë Grace Moretz)—whom we primarily see in TMZ-like paparazzi videos and a hilarious movie-within-the-movie superhero parody—will play the conniving assistant. If you’ve seen Ingmar Bergman’s Persona, you’ll have an inkling of where this is headed. Part of the fun, though, is watching Assayas put his own playful spin on the actorcentric metamovie: It’s actually assistant Valentine who becomes Maria’s quasirival

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars