New York Film Festival Announces Main Slate With Coen, Almodóvar Premieres

Film at Lincoln Center has announced the 32 films that will be featured during the 59th New York Film Festival. As previously announced, Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth will open the festival and Pedro Almodóvar’s Parallel Mothers will close it out. NYFF59 runs September 24th through October 10th and passes are available.

Making its world premiere, Coen’s Macbeth adaptation stars Denzel Washington in the titular role with Frances McDormand portraying Lady Macbeth. Coen’s take on the story of a would-be king and his lady’s amoral political turns, bottomless greed, and detrimental ambitions promises visual designs and aspect ratios found in Laurence Olivier’s Forties Shakespeare adaptations, along with the “bloody medieval madness” of Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood.

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The North American debut of Almodóvar’s melodrama Parallel Mothers stars Penélope Cruz as Janis and newcomer Milena Smit as Ana, two women from different generations whose lives are intertwined by their short time together in a maternity ward.

Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog serves as Centerpiece. Adapted from Thomas Savage’s 1967 cult novel of the same name, the spin on the American Western stars Kirsten Dunst as young widow Rose, who is living with her new husband George (Jesse Plemons). The couple’s lives become complicated by George’s bullying brother Phil (Benedict Cumberbatch), leading to tragedy.

This year’s 32 Main Slate highlights films produced in 31 countries. It includes new titles from both renowned filmmakers and directors making their NYFF debuts, along with award-winning films featured at other festivals, such as Cannes prizewinners Julia Ducournau’s Titane, Nadav Lapid’s Ahed’s Knee, Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Memoria, Joachim Trier’s The Worst Person in the World, and Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s animated Flee, winner of the Sundance Grand Jury Prize for World Cinema Documentary.

Among the filmmakers making their Main Slate debut are musician Saul Williams and Rwandan-born artist Anisia Uzeyman, whose “sci-fi punk musical” Neptune Frost makes its U.S. premiere. Set in Burundi, it tells the story of an African intersex hacker and a coltan miner, and how their romance results in the emergence of a collective of computer hackers.

“Taken together, the movies in this year’s Main Slate are a reminder of cinema’s world-making possibilities,” Dennis Lim, NYFF director of programming and chair of the Main Slate selection committee said in a statement. “They open up new ways of seeing and feeling and thinking, and whether or not they refer to our uncertain present, they help us make sense of our moment. I’m in awe of the sheer range of voices, styles, ideas, and images contained in this lineup, which includes many returning filmmakers but also more new names than we’ve had in some time, and I’m eager to welcome audiences back to our cinemas to experience these films as live, communal events.”

NYFF59 will be presented primarily as in-person screenings, along with select outdoor and virtual events. Proof of vaccination will be required to attend. Additional offerings beyond the Main Slate will be announced in the coming weeks.

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