10 Lessons From Watching the Entire 2019 New York Film Festival Main Slate

/Film | 10/21/2019 | Marshall Shaffer
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I’ve heard from many a festival-goer that it’s possible to work through the entire New York Film Festival lineup – or at least its premier section, the Main Slate – given how the event spreads out manageably over the course of seventeen days all at Lincoln Center. But with schedule conflicts or lack of interest in certain titles, it’s a feat seldom seen or accomplished. Or, maybe given how gluttonous I feel after having done this myself, people choose not to brag about it if they do manage to pull it off.

While battling fatigue as well as exhaustion, plus countless instances of doubting if this was something I actually wanted to do, I managed to see all 29 films programmed in this year’s NYFF Main Slate. (If you’re the ranking type, I did just that over on Letterboxd.) I learned plenty about myself and some masochistic moviegoing habits after subjecting myself to this marathon of viewing contemporary cinema, but that’s a subject for another piece. It’s impossible to watch this incredible selection of films from across the globe and not have some larger takeaways about trends, patterns and parallels. Here are ten lessons from surveying the Main Slate in its entirety.

Number - Films - NYFF - Characters - Forms

Across a number of films at NYFF, characters must turn to non-traditional forms of communication when societal forces render them unable to use spoken or written language. I won’t reveal the purpose of characters using Morse code in Parasite, as that does enter spoiler territory. Yet this binary method of communication, simple to transmit yet cumbersome to decode, proves an effective means for Bong Joon-ho to convey the status of those forgotten (or hidden) from the Korean upper class. Director Céline Sciamma, too, shows how the two female lovers in Portrait of a Lady on Fire must find ways to...
(Excerpt) Read more at: /Film
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