Friday, September 30, 2011

49th NYFF Gets Started With 'Carnage'

Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, Christoph Waltz and Kate Winslet in "Carnage." Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

CIVILITY takes a holiday when two couples meet to make things right after their boys have a fight on the playground.

This is how it goes down in Roman’s Polanski’s super-charged and tightly wound “Carnage,” which opens the 49th New York Film Festival tonight with a gala screening at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall The film stars Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz and John C. Reilly as the parents.

Before NYFF closes on 16 Oct. with “The Descendants,” film buffs will have experienced a wide variety of film and film-related events.

Besides the “Main Slate” of new release of which “Carnage” is a part, there is the “15 Annual Views from the Avant-Garde” where the focus is on the experimental and far offbeat in film making. In the “Masterworks” category is a digitally restored version of “Ben-Hur.” Viewers who saw it last week on TCM will have quite a treat in this large screen version in a restored form. Another noteworthy event under the Masterworks rubric is a centennial, 37-film tribute to the groundbreaking Nikkatsu Studio (“Velvet Bullets and Steel Kisses: Celebrating the Nikkatsu Centennial”), which among other achievements is credited with creating the surrealistic soft-core porn films called “roman porno.”

The “Special Events” category features documentaries and anniversary screenings. One documentary not to miss is Stefano Savona’s “Tahrir,” which chronicles events on the ground in Cairo’s Tahrir Square days before Hosni Mubarak decided to step down. Meanwhile period film fans will enjoy a screening of “Howard’s End.” The Merchant-Ivory film and Sony Pictures release will be shown following the talk and clipfest, “20 Years of Art Cinema: A Tribute to Sony Pictures Classics.”

During “HBO Films Directors Dialogues” directors discuss their work and answer questions from the interviewer and audience. Abel Ferrara (“4:44: Last Day on Earth”) may have some thoughts on the end of the world, while Julia Loktev (“The Lonliest Planet”), could speak to landscape as a main character.

Debuting at NYFF this year is “Forums,” a series of free panel discussions designed to provide a better understanding of the film industry and facilitate up-close and personal moments with filmmakers (John Landis and Pedro Almodovar, for instance).

Stay tuned for more from NYFF, including reviews.

Visit to learn more about the 49th New York Film Festival, including ticket and venue information.

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