Staff Recommendations: Sept. 24
September 24, 2014
With the New York Film Festival kicking off its 52nd edition on Friday, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the festival’s slate. Interested in “Gone Girl” but haven’t seen the films David Fincher is famous for making? Scared to try out Jean-Luc Godard’s latest, “Goodbye to Language,” because you haven’t seen his classics? Here are recommended past films by NYFF directors who have new films showing at this year’s festival.
“Boogie Nights,” the iconic ’90s film written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, offers a decidedly unglamorous view of sex, drugs and the ’70s porn industry. Arguably, it is the movie that took Mark Wahlberg from teen idol to serious actor. Scenes vacillate masterfully between dryly hilarious and gut-wrenching. Watch it first for the lewd but clever ironic humor. Watch it again for the complex explorations of relationships, morality and identity.
Ariana DiValentino, Social Media Editor
“Contempt,” Jean-Luc Godard’s first and last big-budget movie, is an art film through and through. It is a scathing takedown of the film industry, and it is also a sad portrait of a couple whose relationship crumbles during a film shoot. Successful for playing up Brigitte Bardot’s sexuality and turning her into a style icon, and complete with beautiful cinematography and a melancholy score from Georges Delerue, “Contempt” remains one of the most memorable cinematic experiences of all time.
Alex Greenberger, Arts Editor
Though British director Mike Leigh’s film career extends back to the early 1970s and includes over 20 films, only a handful have managed to make as great an impression as “Happy-Go-Lucky.” The film stars Sally Hawkins as a resilient schoolteacher who has a hard time taking things seriously, especially when it comes to her curmudgeonly driving instructor (Eddie Marsan). Hawkins is an absolute delight, and the supporting cast and infectious score are equally as brilliant in telling the story of a woman fighting, in her own heartfelt way, to preserve the magic in the subtleties of everyday life.
Ife Olujobi, Entertainment Editor
David Fincher’s adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s novel of the same name captures the anxieties of our time while also wryly critiquing them. Centered around a narrator (Edward Norton) and his friend Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), the film quickly reveals itself as a humorous metaphor for consumerist culture hidden under the guise of the narrator’s desire to rediscover his masculinity through organized underground fights. There is also Marla Singer (Helena Bonham Carter), but to explain her would be to explain the movie. Brimming with irony and scene changes as sharp as the twisting plotline, Fincher’s movie is a cult classic for a reason.
Gianna Collier-Pitts, Violet Vision Editor