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ON THE ROAD WITH THE 2007 NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL--FROM DARJEELING TO TEXAS TO IRAQ TO PARANOID PARK

A FEW OF THE FILMS SHOWN AT THE 45TH EDITION OF THE FESTIVAL ARE DESCRIBED BELOW. FOR ADDITIONAL DETAILS, VISIT www.filmlinc.com

 

 

OPENING NIGHT

THE DARJEELING LIMITED: Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman, Anjelica Huston, Amara Karan, Waris Ahluwalia, Irfan Khan, Barbet Schroeder, Camilla Rutherford, Bill Murray, Natalie Portman (Directed by Wes Anderson; Written by Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman; Fox Searchlight) A trio of emotionally addled, highly competitive American siblings (Owen Wilson, Adrien BRody, Jason Schwartzman) still grieve--each in his own way--for their charismatic father one year after his death. In an attempt to heal spiritual wounds and repair severed brotherly bonds, they decide to choo-choo across India together. Their oddball stop-offs in remote villages and on parched stretches of desert are fueled by an abundant supply of pain killers and exotic cough syrup. If you’ve seen this auteur's inimitably topsy-turvy “Bottle Rocket,” “Rushmore,” “The Royal Tenenbaums” and “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,” you surely know what to expect from the latest Andersonian odyssey. To read A. O. Scott's New York Times review of "The Darjeeling Limited," click here; for the trailer, click here. Now playing in theaters

CENTERPIECE


NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN: Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Woody Harrelson, Kelly Macdonald, Tess Harper, Stephen Root, Barry Corbin (Directed by Joel Coen; Written by Joel and Ethan Coen; Paramount Vantage and Miramax Films) It’s 1980, and somewhere in a wild, rough region of Texas, a young Vietnam vet named Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) comes to an abrupt halt in his early-morning hunt for antelope. What stops Llewelyn is the discovery of a bundle of heroin, a suitcase containing two million dollars, and several bloody corpses. And what Llewelyn does is this: he takes the money and runs, followed closely by deranged drug dealer Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem). If this man-on-the-run has any hope for survival, it rests with Sheriff Bell (Tommy Lee Jones), a smart, stubborn World War II vet who’s convinced the world has gone bonkers. This adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s 2005 novel sounds chilling and oddball enough to stand beside such Coen Brothers shockers as “Blood Simple,” “Miller’s Crossing,” “Fargo” and “The Man Who Wasn’t There.” To read the Variety review of "No Country for Old Men," click here. To read the Variety review of "No Country for Old Men," click here; for the trailer, click here. Now playing in theaters


CLOSING NIGHT


PERSEPOLIS: (Voices of Catherine Deneuve, Chiara Mastroianni, Danielle Darrieux, Simon Abkarian, Gabrielle Lopes Benites, Gabrielle Lopes, Fraancois Jerosme, Arie Elmaleh; Written and directed by Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi; Sony Pictures Classics) Since this is an animated feature based upon writer/director Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel about her coming-of-age in Iran, and since it employs the voices of such pretty people as Catherine Deneuve and her daughter, Chiara Mastroianni, you might assume “Persepolis” is a lyrical recollection of sweet, dreamy adolescence. But you’d be wrong. It is instead an unsparing depiction of the oppression of young women during the Islamic Revolution in 1970s Iran, focusing on the suffering of the sensitive, spirited Marjane under militant male domination. Eventually, her parents arrange her journey to a different form of discrimination in Europe and finally she returns to her home, only to find a land that is unbearably alien to her. Disney this is not. Opens in theaters on 12/25/07


ALSO UNREELED

4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS & 2 DAYS: Anamaria Marinca, Laura Vasiliu, Vlad Ivanov, Alex Potocean, Luminita Gheorghiu, Adi Carauleanu (Written and directed by Cristian Mungiu; IFC Films) It’s 1987 in Bucharest, and a college student, with the help of her roommate, tracks down a man whose line of business is performing illegal abortions. What the pregnant woman and her friend do not bargain for is the abortionist’s demand for more money than previously agreed upon, as well as his insistence that they submit to his cold-blooded rape. And so it went during the brutal Ceausescu regime. Romanian director Cristian Mungiu's harrowing drama won the Palme d'Or at the 2007 Cannes Festival. For the Variety review of "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days," click here.

BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Albert Finney, Marisa Tomei, Rosemary Harris, Brian F. O’Byrne, Marcia Jean Kurtz, Michael Shannon (Directed by Sidney Lumet; Written by Kelly Masterson; ThinkFilm) If you’re so strapped for cash that masterminding a robbery seems your best solution, doesn’t it make perfect sense to target your Mom and Pop’s jewelry shop, thereby keeping things more or less in the family? That’s the shaky rationale of Andy (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Hank (Ethan Hawke), the desperate brothers in this thriller from Sidney Lumet. If “Devil” turns out to be classier and more complex than it sounds, it will probably be because the 83-year-old Lumet--whose meticulous studies of people accussed of breaking the law include “12 Angry Men,” “Fail Safe,” “The Anderson Tapes,” “The Offence,” “Serpico,” “Murder on the Orient Express,” “Dog Day Afternoon,” “Prince of the City,” “The Verdict,” “Gloria” and “Find Me Guilty”--has not lost the knack for making celluloid crime pay. Now playing in theaters

THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY: Mathieu Almaric, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Emmanuelle Seigner (Directed by Julian Schnabel; Written by Ronald Harwood; Focus Features) It makes perfect sense that Jean-Dominique Bauby’s stunning book, “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," should carry the subtitle of "A Memoir of Life in Death.” Bauby, a dynamic, articulate, happily married father of two, was the widely admired editor-in chief of France’s Elle Magazine in 1995 when, at the age of 44, he suffered a stroke that left him in a coma for 20 days. It was assumed that he would never again share thoughts and impressions with his loved ones and former colleagues. And when he did finally awake, the only part of his body that appeared to be functioning was his left eye. Soon, however, with the blink of that eye, he was able to make it understood that his brain had not been impaired. Amazingly, a system was devised by his family and friends whereby he would blink when a particular letter of the alphabet was read aloud to him. From there, it was a matter of his forming words, structuring sentences and conveying the complex, passionate ideas and images that filled his mind and then shape them into a unique manuscript. Bauby died in 1998, just two days after the publication of “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.” It was thought that Johnny Depp, who worked with director Julian Schnabel in "Before Night Falls," would tackle the challenging role of Bauby, but that plan fell through. So Depp's loss is Mathieu Almaric's gain. To read about more new biopics, click here; for the Variety review of "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," click here. Opens in theaters on 12/19/07

I’M NOT THERE: Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Marcus Carl Franklin, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger, Ben Whishaw, Julianne Moore, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Michelle Williams (Directed by Todd Haynes; The Weinstein Company) Did you ever have the feeling that there’s something baffling, if not downright bizarre, about legendary music man Bob Dylan? Well, the mystery may soon be cleared up in this brazen biopic. Who's been handed the task of acting (and singing) like Dylan in all of his shifting complexity? As it turns out, it took at least five men and one woman to rise to the challenge: Christian Bale, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger, Ben Whishaw, Marcus Carl Franklin and, yes, a notably curly-topped Cate Blanchett. The women in Dylan’s life are played by Julianne Moore, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Michelle Williams (Heath Ledger’s wife in “Brokeback Mountain” and in real life). Director Todd Haynes, who worked wonders with Julianne Moore in “Safe” and “Far From Heaven,” will undoubtedly keep all of these heavyweight performers blowin’ eloquently in the wind. To read about many more new biopics, click here. Opens in theaters on 11/21/07

MARGOT AT THE WEDDING: Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jack Black, John Turturro, Ciaran Hinds, Barbara Turner (Written and directed by Noah Baumbach; Paramount Classics) “The Squid and the Whale” was one of the sharpest, funniest and most moving films of 2005, and it should have won at least one Oscar--maybe for Best Original Screenplay, for which Noah Baumbach was nominated. Unlike the dysfunctional Brooklyn family examined in “The Squid and the Whale,” the two sisters (Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Jason Leigh) and one husband-to-be (Jack Black) in writer-director Baumbach’s follow-up film dwell in upstate New York. But surely they will be at least a little bit dysfunctional. Incidentally, filmmaker Baumbach and actress Leigh are husband and wife in real life, and Barbara Turner is Jennifer's mom. So I guess that makes them a functional family. To read the Variety review of "Margot at the Wedding," click here; for Guy Flatley's 2000 interview with Jack Black, click here. Now playing in theaters

MARRIED LIFE: Pierce Brosnan, Chris Cooper, Patricia Clarkson, Rachel McAdams, David Richmond-Peck (Directed by Ira Sachs; Written by Ira Sachs and Oren Moverman; Focus Features) Almost without exception, divorces are messy and extremely painful--especially for the spouse being dumped. Harry Allen (Chris Cooper) has flipped for Kay, a hot little number (Rachel McAdams), who is prettier and, yes, younger than his wife, Pat (Patricia Clarkson). Being a sensitive guy, Harry dreads hurting poor old Pat. So he decides to kill her instead. Then the situation gets complicated, thanks to the maneuvers of a close friend of Harry’s (Pierce Brosnan), a cad who wouldn’t know the first thing about keeping his hands off a woman, any woman. Writer-director Ira Sachs, who won the Grand Jury prize at the 2005 Sundance Festival, adapted this dark comedy from British author John Bingham’s “Five Roundabouts to Heaven.” Opens in theaters on 2/22/08

PARANOID PARK: Gabe Nevins, Jake Miller, Taylor Momsen, Lauren McKinney, Daniel Lui (Written and directed by Gus Van Sant) More than any other contemporary filmmaker, Gus Van Sant seems obsessed with telling tales of men, for the most part very young men, who are saddled with mind-blowing stress. Sometimes they are innocent victims of an unjust society; sometimes they are total weirdos waiting for the right moment to pounce; and sometimes they are a blend of the two. To see what we mean, think about the troubled males at the center of Van Sant’s “Drugstore Cowboy,” “My Own Private Idaho,” “To Die For,” “Good Will Hunting,” “Gerry,” “Elephant” and even the remake of Hitchcock’s “Psycho.” Soon you will be able to think about still another Van Sant study of a boy in bad shape. This time it’s Alex (Gabe Nevins), a restless, 16-year-old skateboarder who, without bothering to buy a ticket, hops aboard a train headed for Paranoid Park, a Portland hangout for alienated street kids. Somewhere in transit, Alex is spotted and pursued by a billy-club-wielding security cop. Without thinking, Alex swiftly turns his skateboard into a lethal weapon, thereby dumping his stalker on the fast track to eternity. The rest of Van Sant’s story, based on the novel by Blake Nelson, may best be described as a quirky, child-friendly American spin on Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment.” Opening date to be announced

REDACTED: Kel O’Neill, Ty Jones, Daniel Stewart Sherman, Izzy Diaz, Rob Devaney, Patrick Carroll (Written and directed by Brian De Palma; Magnolia Pictures) In 1989, director Brian De Palma shocked audiences with “Casualties of War,” an uncompromising drama written by David Rabe, who based his screenplay on a New Yorker article by Daniel Lang. The true story, starring Sean Penn and Michael J. Fox, focused on four GIs who kidnap a Vietnamese woman, rape her, and then stab her to death. The war this time takes place in Iraq, and, once again, the events detailed by De Palma in “Redacted” are based on a horrific true story--the rape and murder of an Iraqi teenager and three members of her family by four GIs. Opens in theaters on 12/14/07