Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Many Diamonds Set for the Crown King of Film Festivals

Movies: N.Y. Film Festival screens new works by directors Ang Lee, Atom Egoyan and Pedro Almodovar.

September 26, 1997|JACK MATHEWS | FOR THE TIMES

NEW YORK — The New York Film Festival is not the biggest, oldest or most prestigious event on the international festival calendar, but it is the most sanely organized, and for cinema buffs who can't do Cannes, Toronto and Berlin every year, it is reel-for-reel, pound-for-pound, dollar-for-dollar the best fest of them all.

As it begins its 35th year, with tonight's gala showings of Ang Lee's "The Ice Storm," the New York Film Festival has settled into its unique role as the all-star game of international film. Program director Richard Pena and the rotating members of his selection committee get the pick of the litter from the earlier festivals, and they often find gems among movies that critics don't even get to. And, of course, they get their own occasional world premiere.

Thus, they open the '97 program with "The Ice Storm," a major studio movie that won the screenplay prize at Cannes and which opens commercially in Los Angeles on Oct. 17, and they end it Oct. 13 with the world premiere of Pedro Almodovar's "Live Flesh." The centerpiece presentation in the middle weekend is festival favorite Atom Egoyan's "The Sweet Hereafter," the Grand Prize winner at Cannes.

Other prizewinners are Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami's "The Taste of Cherry," which shared the Gold Palm award at Cannes; Egyptian Youssef Chahine's "Destiny," a special jury prizewinner at Cannes; Wong Kar-Wai's "Happy Together," which earned the Hong Kong filmmaker Cannes' best director prize, and Japanese director Takeshi Kitano's "Hana-Bi," winner of the top prize at the recent Venice Film Festival.

If you can still get tickets to it, the hot tip from here is Richard Kwietniowski's "Love and Death on Long Island." A critics' favorite at Cannes--though it was not in competition for prizes--it stars John Hurt as a socially isolated intellectual British novelist who falls in love with an American pop icon (Jason Priestley) and comes here to find him. Nova Scotia subs for Long Island, but never mind. This is a wonderfully warm and clever comedy.

And speaking of warm, there is one deliberate tribute to the late Marcello Mastroianni, a 3 1/2-hour documentary that bears his name as its title, and one inadvertent one--Manoel de Oliveira's "Voyage to the End of the World," featuring Mastroianni's last performance, as a filmmaker reflecting on his life.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|