The New York Film Festival is essentially the annual greatest-hits album of the festival circuit. This fall fest typically opens and closes with big, glitzy premières, but the majority of its main slate is comprised of the best selections from Sundance, Cannes, Berlin, and others. So it must have been been a pretty good year for festival films; with 35 entries from all over the world, NYFF 2013 is the biggest in its half-century history. That includes new films from the Coen brothers, Claire Denis, James Gray, Spike Jonze, Hayao Miyazaki, Alexander Payne, Jia Zhangke, and many (specifically, 29) more.
The 51st New York Film Festival runs September 27 through October 13. The full main slate lineup is below, with the fest’s descriptions of the films; for more information, check out the festival’s official website.
Main Slate Lineup For The 51st New York Film Festival:
Directed by Richard Curtis
Richard Curtis adds a touch of time-travel to this hilarious romantic comedy, a perfect vehicle for the comic talents of Bill Nighy, Rachel McAdams, Lindsay Duncan, and emerging star Domhnall Gleeson.
Abuse Of Weakness
Directed by Catherine Breillat
Catherine Breillat’s haunting film about her 2004 stroke and subsequent self-destructive relationship with star swindler Christophe Rocancourt, starring Isabelle Huppert.
Directed by Declan Lowney
In the long-awaited big-screen debut of Steve Coogan’s singular comic creation, the vain, obliviously tactless Alan Partridge must serve as an intermediary when North Norfolk Digital is seized at gunpoint by a downsized DJ.
All Is Lost
Directed by J.C. Chandor
Robert Redford as you’ve never seen him before, in a near-wordless, all-action performance as a lone sailor trying to keep his yacht afloat after a collision with a discarded shipping container in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
Directed by Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson
Two Brooklyn filmmakers follow their son Idris and his friend Suen from their enrollment in the Dalton School as children through their high-school graduations in this devastating, years-in-the-making documentary that takes a hard look at race and class in America.
Directed by Frederick Wiseman
Another masterfully constructed documentary from Frederick Wiseman, examining the University of California, Berkeley from multiple angles—the administrators, the students, the surrounding community—to arrive at a portrait as rich in detail as it is epic in scope.
Directed by Claire Denis
Claire Denis’ jagged, daringly fragmented, deeply unsettling film inspired by recent French sex-ring scandals is the rarest of cinematic narratives—a contemporary film noir, perfect in substance as well as style.
Blue Is The Warmest Color
Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche
The sensation of this year’s Cannes Film Festival is an intimate—and sexually explicit— epic of emotional transformation, featuring astonishing performances from Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux. A Sundance Selects release.
Directed by Agnieszka Holland
A passionately brilliant Czech miniseries from Agnieska Holland about the events that followed student Jan Palach’s public self-immolation in protest against the Soviet invasion after Prague Spring.
Directed by Paul Greengrass
Paul Greengrass has crafted an edge-of-your-seat thriller based on the true story of the seizure of the Maersk Alabama cargo ship in 2009 by four Somali pirates, with remarkable performances from Tom Hanks and four first-time actors.
Child Of God
Directed by James Franco
James Franco’s uncompromising excursion into American Gothic, adapted from Cormac McCarthy’s 1973 novel, about an unstable sociopath in early-’60s rural Tennessee who descends into an animal-like state. Not for the faint-hearted.
Directed by Sebastián Lelio
A wise, funny, liberating movie from Chile, about a middle-aged woman who finds romance, but whose new partner finds it painfully difficult to abandon his old habits.
Directed by Spike Jonze
In Spike Jonze’s magical, melancholy comedy of the near future, lonely Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with his new all-purpose operating system (the voice of Scarlett Johansson), leading to romantic and existential complications.
Directed by James Gray
In James Gray’s richly detailed period tragedy, set in a dusty, sepia-toned 1920s Manhattan, a young Polish immigrant (Marion Cotillard) is caught in a dangerous battle of wills with a shady burlesque manager (Joaquin Phoenix).
Inside Llewyn Davis
Directed by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen
The Coens’ picaresque, panoramic, wryly funny story of a singer-songwriter is set in the New York folk scene of the early ’60s and features a terrific array of larger-than-life characters and a glorious score of folk standards.
The Invisible Woman
Directed by Ralph Fiennes
Ralph Fiennes directs and stars as Charles Dickens in this adaptation of Claire Tomalin’s revelatory 1992 biography, which brought the upright Victorian author’s secret 13-year affair with a young actress to light.
Directed by Philippe Garrel
Another intimate, handcrafted work of poetic autobiographical cinema from French director Philippe Garrel, in which his son Louis and Anna Mouglalis star as actors and lovers trying to reconcile their professional and personal lives.
Jimmy P: Psychotherapy Of A Plains Indian
Directed by Arnaud Desplechin
In Arnaud Desplechin’s intelligent, moving depiction of a successful “Talking Cure,” the encounters between patient (Benicio del Toro) and therapist (Mathieu Amalric) are electric with discovery.
The Last Of The Unjust
Directed by Claude Lanzmann
This moral and cinematic tour de force from the creator of Shoah will cause you to reconsider your understanding of Adolph Eichmann and of Benjamin Murmelstein, the last Jewish elder of Theresienstadt, and the film’s central figure.
Like Father, Like Son
Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda
Hirokazu Kore-eda’s sensitive drama takes a close look at two families’ radically different approaches to the horribly painful realization that the sons they raised as their own were switched at birth.
The Missing Picture
Directed by Rithy Panh
Rithy Panh’s brave new film revisits his memories of four years spent under the Khmer Rouge and the destruction of his family and his culture; without a single memento left behind, he creates his “missing images” with narration and painstakingly executed dioramas.
My Name Is Hmmm…
Directed by agnès b
In this deeply personal, incandescent first feature from designer agnès b, a young girl holding her family together and bearing the weight of sexual abuse runs away from home and enjoys a carefree idyll with a kindly Scottish trucker.
Directed by Alexander Payne
This masterful film from Alexander Payne, about a quiet old man (Bruce Dern) whose mild-mannered son (Will Forte) agrees to drive him from Montana to Nebraska to claim a nonexistent prize, shades from the comic to multiple hues of melancholy and regret.
Nobody’s Daughter Haewon
Directed by Hong Sang-soo
A young student at loose ends after her mother moves to America tries to define herself one encounter and experience at a time, in reality and in dreams, in another deceptively simple chamber-piece from South Korean master Hong Sang-soo.
North, The End Of History
Directed by Lav Diaz
Filipino director Lav Diaz’s 12th feature—at four-plus hours, one of his shortest—is a careful rethinking of Dostoyevsky’s Crime And Punishment, with a tortured anti-hero who is a haunting embodiment of the dead ends of ideology.
Directed by Hany Abu-Assad
A tense, gripping, ticking-clock thriller about betrayal, suspected and real, in the Occupied Territories, from Hany Abu-Assad (Paradise Now).
Only Lovers Left Alive
Directed by Jim Jarmusch
Jim Jarmusch’s wry, tender, moving take on the vampire genre features Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston as a centuries-old couple who watch time go by from separate continents as they reflect on the ever-changing world around them.
The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty
Directed by Ben Stiller
Ben Stiller stars in and directs this sweet, globe-trotting (but New York-based) comic fable about an up-to-the-minute everyman, co-starring Kristen Wiig as the woman of his dreams, Sean Penn as a legendary photographer, and Shirley MacLaine as Walter’s mother.
Directed by Jehane Noujaim
Jehane Noujaim’s tense, vivid vérité portrait of events as they unfolded in Tahrir Square through Arab Spring and beyond, in a newly revised, up-to-the-minute version.
Stranger By The Lake
Directed by Alain Guiraudie
Alain Guiraudie’s lethally precise, sexually explicit film, which unfolds entirely in the vicinity of a gay cruising ground, is both a no-holds-barred depiction of a hedonistic subculture and a perverse and unnerving tale of amour fou.
Directed by Tsai Ming-liang
Tsai Ming-liang’s fable of a homeless family living the cruelest of existences on the ragged edges of the modern world is bracingly pure in its anger and its compassion, and as visually powerful as it is emotionally overwhelming.
A Touch Of Sin
Directed by Jia Zhangke
Jia Zhangke’s bloody, bitter new film builds a portrait of modern-day China in the midst of rapid and convulsive change through four overlapping stories of marginalized and oppressed citizens pushed to murderous rage.
Directed by Roger Michell
A magically buoyant, bittersweet comedy drama about a middle-aged and middle-class English couple who go to Paris for a weekend holiday; starring two of Britain’s national treasures, Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan.
When Evening Falls On Bucharest Or Metabolism
Directed by Corneliu Porumboiu
A rigorously structured, fascinatingly oblique new film from Corneliu Porumboiu that examines the life of a film director during the moments on a shoot when the camera isn’t rolling.
The Wind Rises
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
The great Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki’s new film is based on the life of Jiro Hirokoshi, the man who designed the Zero fighter. An elliptical historical narrative, The Wind Rises is also a visionary cinematic poem about the fragility of humanity.