NYFF adds tributes to the program for the first time

Posted by · 9:41 am · August 21st, 2012

This year’s New York Film Festival just keeps expanding. Yesterday it was revealed that anniversary screenings of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” “Lawrence of Arabia” and “The Princess Bride” would be on the docket for the 50th annual, and today, it’s been revealed that, like Telluride and AFI Fest, NYFF has added a tribute element to its proceedings.

The first-ever honorees will be actress Nicole Kidman — whose film “The Paperboy,” from director Lee Daniels, was also added to the line-up today — and NYFF Selection Committee Chair & Program Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center Richard Peña.

“Richard Peña has been the Program Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Director of the New York Film Festival since 1988,” the press release states. “At the Film Society, he has organized retrospectives of Michelangelo Antonioni, Sacha Guitry, Abbas Kiarostami, Robert Aldrich, Roberto Gavaldon, Ritwik Ghatak, Kira Muratova, Youssef Chahine, Yasujiro Ozu, Carlos Saura and Amitabh Bachchan, as well as major film series devoted to African, Israeli, Cuban, Polish, Hungarian, Arab, Korean, Swedish, Taiwanese and Argentine cinema.”

Said FSLC’s executive director Rose Kuo, “It is very fitting that we celebrate the 50th birthday of the New York Film Festival by honoring the man who has guided the festival’s artistic vision for the last 25 years. Richard Peña helped us discover directors like Pedro Almodovar, Abbas Kiarostami, Olivier Assayas, Lars Von Trier and Hou Hsiao-hsien, making an indelible contribution to film culture in New York City and around the world.”

Kidman, meanwhile, could maybe — MAYBE — be an awards season player for “The Paperboy.” The film premiered at Cannes in May to mixed — well, mostly negative — reactions. However, in noting that the film “straddles the line between trash and treat,” our own Guy Lodge said Kidman “is more sexually strident and earthily funny than she”s been since ‘To Die For,’ but in her subtly brokered exchanges with [co-star Zac] Efron smartly avoids patronizing [her character] as a gone-to-seed Lolita.” Millennium Entertainment picked the film up for US distribution.

Said Peña in today’s press release, “Nicole Kidman is one of film’s finest contemporary actresses. Since her breakthrough performance in ‘To Die For’ and her bold and provocative appearances in Lars Von Trier’s ‘Dogville,’ Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Eyes Wide Shut,’ as well as her awarding-winning portrayal of Virginia Woolf in Stephen Daldry’s ‘The Hours,’ Kidman has insisted on finding roles that are complex, bold and demanding.”

That seems to be a pattern continued with “The Paperboy,” which I’m happy was added to the slate. I’ve been intrigued ever since those boos emanated from The Croisette.

The 50th annual New York Film Festival runs September 28 – October 14.

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