Once again, the festival's selection of 25 films by some of the world's most exciting directors is enough to make any film fan salivate: if new work by George Clooney, Neil Jordan, Michael Haneke, Steve Soderbergh, Noah Baumbach, Hong Sang-soo, Aleksandr Sokurov and Hou Hsiao Hsien isn't enough, Michael Winterbottom's adaptation of Tristram Shandy, Lars von Trier's follow-up to "Dogville," and Philip Seymour Hoffman as Truman Capote should be reason enough to get excited.
For screening times, special festival screenings, and tickets, check the official website of Film Society at Lincoln Center.
Opening Night: GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK - Review
The confrontation between newscaster Edward R. Murrow and Senator Joseph McCarthy during the 1950s is uncannily brought to life in this dramatic reconstruction elegantly directed by George Clooney (who also plays Fred W. Friendly). A choice ensemble cast (Frank Langella, Robert Downey, Jr., Patricia Clarkson) supports the amazing central performance of David Strathairn as Murrow. With its expressive, fluid black-and-white cinematography, this film expertly captures the climate of fear and the downbeat, gray flannel contradictions of the era, while its theme of the news medias responsibility to speak truth to power could not be more pertinent today. We are brought deep inside the operation of a television network, as a tense political thriller about courage and patriotism unfolds: cat and mouse keep exchanging roles, and there are no absolute winners. 90min. USA, 2005.
Festival Centerpiece: BREAKFAST ON PLUTO
His spooky-beautiful blue eyes make the fast-rising young Irish actor Cillian Murphy a natural at playing gentleman-psychopaths witness his intensity in Red Eye, Batman Begins, and career-launching 28 Days Later. In Neil Jordans exquisitely realized new drama, though, adapted from a novel by Pat McCabe (The Butcher Boy) and set in swinging London of the 1960s and 70s, Murphy is all but transformed in a tour-de-force performance as Patrick Kitten Braden, who escapes the provincialism of small-town Ireland and moves to London to be
herself, a fabulously attired transvestite cabaret chanteuse. Kittens determined self-authenticity never wavers. And so naturally, there are consequences. There are echoes of Jordans gender-bender The Crying Game (NYFF 92) but theres also an exciting whiff of Butcher Boy perversity. The splendid supporting cast includes Liam Neeson, Stephen Rea, and Brendan Gleeson. 135 min. Ireland/UK, 2005.
Closing Night: CACHE (HIDDEN)
As he has shown with The Piano Teacher, Code Unknown, and Funny Games (among other chilling creations) the Paris-based Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke is a peerless artist-provocateur who has never met a situation of bourgeois stasis he didnt want to explode quietly, precisely, and with devastating effect. Caché, though, may be his best and most meaningful detonation yet an absolutely, excitingly unnerving study in middle-class disequilibrium brought on by realistic urban paranoia and inflamed by a latent racism in all its ugliness. Daniel Auteuil and Juliette Binoche are brilliantly cast as Georges and Anne, a sophisticated couple tormented by the arrival of anonymous surveillance videos of their everyday lives. And the more convinced Georges becomes that he knows the sender, the more breathtaking is Auteuils wisely daring performance. Caché digs deep and hits a nerve. 117 min. France, 2005.
The events of May 68 and their disappointing aftermath have always been at the heart of Philippe Garrels work. Regular Lovers is Garrels achingly beautiful memorial to the moment itself, and to the poignant confusion felt by French youth who tried to keep the spirit of revolt alive as they grappled with adulthood. A young poet (played beautifully by the directors son Louis) witnesses the conflagration during a night on the barricades, then experiences the euphoria of love and communal freedom, followed by the inevitable moment when reality sets in. Garrel has fashioned an intimate poetic epic, which harks back to the silent films of Louis Feuillade and the poetry of Baudelaire and Gérard de Nerval in its austere yet romantic vision of Paris by night and by day. 175 min. France, 2005.