As usual, this year's New York Film Festival slate features numerous recyclables from Cannes and Toronto. But those who followed the much-hyped disappointments at this year's Cannes fest can breathe a sigh of relief: The Film Society of Lincoln Center has transplanted only the crème of the crop, from Palm d'Or winner Elephant to Clint Eastwood's equally elegiac Mystic River. Other high-profile engagements include Dogville, Lars Von Trier's Brechtian evocation of American fascism, Denys Arcand's The Barbarian Invasions, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's 21 Grams and Errol Morris's The Fog of War.
Two years ago, the NYFF seemed to resuscitate the entire Nouvelle Vague collective but barely survived 9/11 and the anti-Spielbergian rants of Monsieur Godard. The French may be underrepresented at this year's fest, but the checks and balances committee all but makes up for the Gallic dearth with Nouvelle Vague outsider Claude Chabrol's latest tickle-me-thriller The Flower of Evil. The provocations (Pornography, Crims21 Gold) are plenty, but so are the sensitive works of non-fiction: Besides Fog of War, George Hickenlooper's Mayor of the Sunset Strip and Rithy Panh's S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine, Ross McElwee's Bright Leaves is the only documentary playing at the festival without a U.S. distributor.
Please check back on a daily basis as a synopsis and full review of each festival film will be added to Slant Magazine's ongoing coverage. The 41st New York Film Festival will run from October 3 to October 19, 2003. For more information please check the festival's main program. Ed Gonzalez