New York Film Festival to present Breakfast on Pluto and Capote

BY Mike Grippi

August 18 2005 11:00 PM ET

History as it is
reflected onscreen will be one of the themes that is
front and center as the 43rd New York Film Festival kicks
off September 23 with George Clooney's Good Night,
and Good Luck
, an account of CBS newsman
Edward R. Murrow's confrontation with Sen. Joseph
McCarthy. Reflecting on Wednesday's announced festival
lineup, selection committee chairman and program director
Richard Peña said, "The films are never selected
with themes in mind. But if you look at this year's
selections, starting with opening night, there is a
notion of how history is treated, re-created, and expressed
on-screen and in art." Films that touch on that
subject include Hou Hsai-hsien's Three Times, a
Taiwanese film set in three time periods, 1911, 1966,
and 2005; Israeli documentarian Avi Mograbi's Avenge but
One of My Two Eyes
, which records the
treatment of Palestianians by members of the Israeli army;
Bennett Miller's Capote, which follows Truman
Capote (Philip Seymour Hoffman) as he researches his
seminal nonfiction book In Cold Blood; and Lars von
Trier's Manderlay, which looks at the legacy of
slavery in the American South of the 1930s.

Neil Jordan's
Breakfast on Pluto, the story of an Irish
transvestite cabaret singer in '70s London that stars
Cillian Murphy, will be featured prominently as the
festival's Centerpiece film. And Michael Haneke's
Cache, a thriller that earned Haneke the Best
Director award at the Cannes Film Festival, has been
chosen as the closing-night film October 9. Steven
Soderbergh will be represented by two films at the
fest. He's an executive producer of Good Night, which
was produced by, among others, his Section 8 banner,
which he heads with Clooney. And he directed Bubble,
an Ohio-set murder mystery, produced under his new
pact with Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban's 2929 Prods., which
calls for Soderbergh to direct six high-definition films to
debut day-and-date in theaters and on TV and home
video.

While this year's
lineup doesn't rely upon the grand old masters of
cinema, it includes plenty of contemporary auteurs. The
fraternal Belgian directing team of Jean-Pierre and
Luc Dardenne will bring their L'Enfant, which took
home the Palme d'Or at Cannes this year. Gay French
director Patrice Chereau will offer his latest film,
Gabrielle, starring Isabelle Huppert. And
Korean Park Chan-wook will be represented by Sympathy for
Lady Vengeance
, the third film in his
vengeance trilogy that includes 2003's Old Boy.
Several filmmakers are making return trips to the New York
showcase. Hou Hsiao-hsien has had more than a half-dozen
films in the festival. This year marks the fourth film
shown at Cannes for both Von Trier and Russian
director Aleksandr Sokurov, the latter of
whom will be showing The Sun. French
director Phillippe Garrel, whose Regular Lovers
won a spot, was last represented at the festival in 1969.

Geographically,
Peña said, this year's selections reflect the growing
importance of South Korean cinema, "which has clearly in the
last decade emerged as a major filmmaking culture. And
all three are so different and so well-achieved." In
addition to Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, they include
Im Sang-soo's The President's Last Band and
Hong Sang-soo's A Tale of Cinema. The lineup
also reflects what Peña called "the reemergence
of Eastern European cinema." Titles from that region
include Cristi Puiu's The Death of Mr. Lazarescu from
Romania, Dorota Kedzierzawska's I Am from
Poland, and Bohdan Slama's Something Like
Happiness
from the Czech Republic.

Other films on
the schedule include Noah Baumbach's The Squid and the
Whale
, an account of a family dealing with
divorce; Michael Winterbottom's A Cock and Bull
Story
, an adaptation of Laurence Sterne's novel
Tristram Shandy; Michel Negroponte's
Methadonia; Hany Abu-Assad's Paradise Now;
Jean-Paul Civeyrac's Through the Forest; and Mitsuo
Yanagimachi's Who's Camus Anyway? Panel discussions
will include "Speaking Truth to Power: Media,
Politics, and Government," with Brian Lehrer, Helen
Thomas, and Don Hewitt, who is portrayed in Good
Night
; HBO Films' Directors' Dialogues with Neil
Jordan and other directors at the festival; and a Film
Comment Focus on actor Steve Coogan. (Gregg Kilday, via
Reuters)

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