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New Directors/New Films 2011 | Feature | Slant Magazine

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New Directors/New Films 2011

New Directors/New Films 2011


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For its 40th anniversary edition, the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art’s annual New Directors/New Films festival offers up a slate rich in cinephillically anticipated programming—especially when compared with the rather limp offerings of its 39th incarnation—while continuing to showcase a geographically and aesthetically diverse range of films by neophyte auteurs. (Twenty-two countries are represented among the fest’s 28 selections.) For those of us who follow the international press—or have a subscription to Cinema Scope magazine—such titles as Athina Rachel Tsangari’s genre-bending whatsit Attenberg, Li Hongqi’s ultra-deadpan comedy of rural adolescence Winter Vacation, and Denis Cöté’s intensive Curling have long tantalized the imagination, with all three now making their belated New York debut.

Its programmers scouring both the usual sources (Cannes, Venice, Sundance, Locarno) and the lesser trod avenues in search of fest fare, this year’s series features both films already feted on the international circuit (in addition to the aforementioned trio, prize winners include the closing-night film, Circumstance, and Croisette favorite Octubre) and those awaiting their chance for similar acclaim. Among the latter group are a pair of tense films involving characters racing against time: Bogdan George Apetri’s Outbound, the latest in an imposing line of Romanian films to wash up on American shores, and J.C. Chandor’s Margin Call, the fest’s opening-night selection and the closest thing to a blockbuster it has to offer, an intensive look at 24 hours inside an investment bank in a state of acute crisis.

While documentary is relatively underemphasized in this year’s festival, the series’s handful of nonfiction selections offer a diverse range of subjects and methods. Among the most intriguing offerings are Göran Hugo Olsson’s The Black Power Mix Tape 1967-1975, which unearths vintage, never-before-seen interviews with figures like Stokely Carmichael and Angela Davis and updates them with contemporary commentary, and Matthew Bates’s art-pranky Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure. Finally, among fictional titles, Denis Villaneuve’s electric, Oscar-nominated Incendies will likely prove one of the more hotly debated of the fest’s entries, with some praising the film’s bravura structure and gut-punch revelations and others decrying the film’s essential hollowness. Andrew Schenker

New Directors/New Films 2011 runs from March 23 to April 4. For tickets click here.

6,7,8 (Mohamed Diab)
At Ellen’s Age (Pia Marais)
Attenberg (Athina Rachel Tsangari)
Belle Epine (Rebecca Zlotowski)
The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 (Göran Olsson)
Circumstance (Maryam Keshavarz)
Copacabana (Marc Fitoussi)
Curling (Denis Côté)
The Destiny of Lesser Animals (Deron Albright)
Gromozeka (Vladimir Kott)
Happy, Happy (Anne Sewitsky)
Hit So Hard (P. David Ebersole)
Hospitalite (Koji Fukada)
Incendies (Denis Villeneuve)
Majority (Seren Yüce)
Man Without a Cell Phone (Sameh Zoabi)
Margin Call (J.C. Chandor)
Memory Lane (Mikhael Hers)
Microphone (Amhad Abdalla)
Octubre (Daniel and Diego Vega)
Outbound (Bogdan George Apetri)
Pariah (Dee Rees)
Shut Up Little Man! (Matthew Bate)
Some Days Are Better than Others (Matt McCormick)
Summer of Goliath (Nicolas Pereda)
Tyrannosaur (Paddy Considine)
El Velador (Natalia Almada)
Winter Vacation (Li Hongqi)