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French Exit
Photo by Tobias Datum. Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

New York Film Festival unveils this year’s lineup

You'll be able to catch films starring Frances McDormand, Michelle Pfeiffer and more.

By
Will Gleason
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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.

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