NEW DIRECTORS/NEW FILMS ’09 SLATE ANNOUNCED
The line up for this year’s New Directors/New Films was announced moments ago. The opening film will be Cherien Dabis’s Amreeka and Lee Daniels’s Sundance Grand Jury Prize winning film Push: Based on the Novel by Sapphire is the closing film. The full list of titles are below. ND/NF will be held at NYC’s Museum of Modern Art and The Film Society of Lincoln Center March 25 – April 5.
Cherien Dabis, USA/Canada/Kuwait, 2009; 96m
Cherien Dabis’s humanist miracle of a first film chronicles the bittersweet adjustment to a multicultural way of life after Muna, a single mother from Ramallah, and Fadi, her teenage son, move to Middle America.
Push: Based on the Novel by Sapphire
Lee Daniels, USA, 2009; 109m
Destined to be one of the most hotly discussed films of the year, Push chronicles the world of Precious Jones, a seriously overweight, functionally illiterate, lonesome teenager pregnant with a second child by her own father. A Lionsgate release.
Tatia Rosenthal, Israel/Australia, 2008; 78m
Can the mysteries of life really be known for “the low-price of $9.99”? This timely and compelling stop-motion animated feature explores urban dreams and dilemmas. A Regent Releasing release.
Autumn / Sonbahar
Özcan Alper, Germany/Turkey, 2008; 99m
A stunning elegy to lost youth and lost ideals set in the majestic mountains east of the Black Sea, Özcan Alper’s debut is a powerful harbinger for the emergence of a strong new wave in Turkish cinema.
Sterlin Harjo, USA, 2009; 85m
Sterlin Harjo’s wise second feature affectionately travels Oklahoma’s roads, stopping now and then to reveal itself as one of American cinema’s most moving love stories—adult and unsentimental—in a long time.
Birdwatchers / BirdWatchers – La terra degli uomini rossi
Marco Bechis, Italy/Brazil, 2008; 108m
The schism between the indigenous Guarani Indians and the wealthy Brazilian landowners who inhabit their ancestral land is brought to devastating life in this gripping, powerful docudrama. An IFC Films release.
Sophie Barthes, USA/Russia, 2008; 101m
Screenwriter/director Sophie Barthes deftly balances fantasy and reality in her witty, metaphysical tale of a successful actor (the great Paul Giamatti playing himself) undergoing a psychic breakdown while rehearsing a production of “Uncle Vanya.” A Samuel Goldwyn release.
Louie Psihoyos, USA, 2009; 90m
Award-winning National Geographic photographer Louis Psihoyos brings the environmental film to astounding new levels of drama and urgency in this exploration of Taiji, Japan, a village on the Pacific coast that is home to a longstanding whaling tradition and a deeply unsettling secret.
Every Little Step
Adam Del Deo and James D. Stern, USA, 2008; 96m
In this documentary about casting the 2006 revival of “A Chorus Line,” the lives of dancers auditioning for the new production mirror the stories of some of the original cast members, whose experiences were captured on tape by the musical’s creator, Michael Bennett. A Sony Pictures Classics release.
The Fly / Mukha
Vladimir Kott, Russia, 2008; 107m
In Vladimir Kott’s post-perestroika drama, a reluctant father and recalcitrant daughter try to out maneuver each other in a battle of wills that is as deadly as it is funny.
Give Me Your Hand / Donne-moi la main
Pascal-Alex Vincent, France/Germany, 2008; 79m
This visually sumptuous ode to brotherly love and loathing by first time feature director Pascal-Alex Vincent follows virtually indistinguishable twin brothers Alexandre and Victor Carril in a buoyant escapade that turns surprisingly dark and dangerous. A Strand Releasing release.
Harmony and Me
Bob Byington, USA, 2009; 75m
Bob Byington’s deadpan and hilarious slacker movie for the cell phone generation is straight out of that independent film capital, Austin, Texas, where a voluble young lyricist refuses to let go of the heartbreak caused when his girlfriend became his ex.
Ursula Meier, Switzerland/France/Belgium, 2008; 95m
An ordinary middle class family lives an ordinary life in their ordinary house that sits next to an unused highway. With no neighbors or cars for miles, all it takes is the opening of the highway to change the family’s dynamic.
Gustave de Kervern and Benoît Delépine, France, 2008; 90m
When a group of women factory workers are blindsided by management’s relocation of the factory and are left with a pittance in severance pay, their very odd colleague Louise suggests they hire a hit man, the even odder Michel, to take care of business.
The Maid / La Nana
Sebastián Silva, Chile, 2009; 95m
This sharply etched portrait of an tightly wound domestic servant and her passive-aggressive relationship to her middle-class family is given tremendous force and tragicomic relief in the remarkable, prizewinning title performance by Catalina Saavedra.
Mid-August Lunch / Pranzo di ferragosto
Gianni Di Gregorio, Italy, 2008; 75m
Fifty-nine-year-old Gianni Di Gregorio (screenwriter of Gomorrah) stars in his utterly charming directorial debut as Giovanni, whose agreement to take in his landlord and best friend’s elderly mothers for a few days results in a wonderfully loose, improvisational award winner.
The Milk of Sorrow / La teta asustada
Claudia Llosa, Spain/Peru, 2008; 100m
The legacies of rape and terror in Peru extend to the children born of victims. This remarkable film floats between fable and visceral reality, confronting fear and healing wounds through the power of the human spirit.
Ordinary Boys / Chicos normales
Daniel Hernandez, Spain, 2008; 85m
In a small Moroccan village that was home to many of those responsible for the 2004 terrorist bombings in Spain, three young adults—an aspiring actor, a law student, and a small-time drug dealer—find themselves at a crossroads that will change the course of their lives.
Paper Soldier / Bumaznyj soldat
Aleksei German Jr., Russia, 2008; 118m
Aleksei German Jr. pays homage to classic Russian cinema, the plays of Anton Chekhov, and the liberal era of Khrushchev in an impressionistic story of a confused doctor working with the first cosmonauts of the Soviet space program.
Enrique Rivero, Mexico, 2008; 86m
If the only home you’ve known is one you’ve lived in as a servant, what would you do if the master decides to sell? A gripping portrait of quiet loyalty and impending abandonment.
The Shaft / Dixia de tiankong
Zhang Chi, China, 2008; 98m
Newcomer Zhang Chi charts the profound changes in a tightly knit family over a critical year in three separate, inter-related, and pitch-perfect stories.
Stay the Same Never Change
Laurel Nakadate, USA, 2009; 93m
This audacious, slyly hilarious work dares to grapple with the terrifying complexities of tween-age girlhood.
So Yong Kim, USA/South Korea, 2008; 89m
A gently told yet heart-wrenching tale of a young girl’s journey from abandonment to maturity. An Oscilloscope Pictures release.
Alexis Dos Santos, UK, 2008; 93m
Alexis Dos Santos returns to New Directors with his second feature, Unmade Beds, chronicling the adventures of free-spirited London expats sharing beds and true confessions on their way to defining themselves.
We Live in Public
Ondi Timoner, USA, 2008; 90m
Insurant, insightful, and authentic, Ondi Timoner’s Sundance winner is a boundlessly resourceful insider’s view of Internet pioneer Josh Harris’s rise and fall and the heady times in the art and technology Wild West of 1990s Manhattan.