Friday, September 25, 2015

NYFF53 Opening Day: Papal Visit Delays ‘The Walk’ But Not ‘The Truth Box’ and Other Tales

Don Cheadle as Miles Davis in "Miles Ahead." Photo from "Miles Ahead" Facebook page.

NO mincing words. You are a liar. Now, tell the truth.

That is what participants will be asked to do when they step into “The Truth Box,” a travelling, truth-telling booth that is part of a larger project called “The (Dis)Honesty Project.”

The Truth Box is one of the hottest tickets today, the first day of the 53rd New York Film Festival, which features other installations in its Convergence category, as well as some classic films. All are free today, "Free Friday. The last day of NYFF53 is 11 Oct.

In The Truth Box, participants are invited (challenged?) to simply be honest about a previous lie. Collaborators behavioral scientist Dan Ariely and director Yael Melamede began The Truth Box and other parts of “The (Dis)Honesty Project” as an exploration of the negative societal impacts of dishonesty.

It is somehow fitting that such an installation opens during the visit of Pope Francis. The papal visit is also responsible for the delay in presenting the festival’s opening film. No doubt, the Holy Father would like to hear from any number of people from the confines of a truth box.

This opening day is one of the few in NYFF history that the opening film will not be shown. The world premiere of Robert Zemeckis’ “The Walk” begins at 6 p.m. on Saturday (26 Sept.).

“The Walk” recounts the run-up to and that actual death-defying, high-wire feat of Philippe Petit's (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center some 40 years ago. It is shown in 3D and is said to have the ability to cause nausea in some viewers.

Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert in "Drums Along the Mohawk." Archive photo.

The NYFF53 closer is a film about another New York-based, real-life episode that unfolded in the 70s. In "Miles Ahead," which has its world premiere on 10 Oct., Don Cheadle wears three hats as director, actor (titular character) and writer to capture an angst-ridden period in the life of trumpeter Miles Davis.

Elsewhere under Convergence, where stories are told across platforms and are largely interactive, is “Temping” from Michael Rau. It seems to present a portrait of machines replacing man (or woman, in this case). Actuary Sarah Jane is on vacation and “performing” her duties are a PC, laser printer and other office equipment.

Also playing on NYFF53 opening day is a series of classic films, including “Wild River,” “Drums Along the Mohawk” and “All that Jazz.”

Visit to learn more about the 53rd New York Film Festival, including showtimes and venues.

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