Best bets at New Directors/New Films festival
These days, movies are marketed to death, promoted, hyped and previewed to the point where you pretty much know exactly what you're getting into when you visit the multiplex. The opportunities to truly take a film-going chance, to discover new cinematic talent or an unexpected gem, are sparse at best.
New Directors/New Films, the Film Society of Lincoln Center and MoMA's annual festival spotlighting the best up-and-coming filmmakers, is an elixir, a bright light in an overall grim picture. This year's edition, which kicks off tonight and runs through March 31, features the New York premiere of 25 features and 17 shorts culled from across the globe.
From opening night feature "Blue Caprice," which is based on the 2002 Beltway sniper attacks, to the closing night documentary "Our Nixon," assembled out of Super 8 footage shot during the Nixon presidency, NDNF offers a premier taste of new and exciting international cinema. The Walter Reade Theatre is 165 W. 65th St. and MoMA is 11 W. 53rd St. More info can be found at newdirectors.org. Here are a few of the movies you can't miss:
This riveting Danish drama parallels the hijacking of a cargo ship in the Indian Ocean with the company CEO's phone negotiations from Denmark to free his crew. With fluid camerawork that emphasizes movement over dialogue, and tense quiet over noise, director Tobias Lindholm is equally at home in the sticky, grimy misery on board the MV Rozen as he is in the tense corporate boardroom where fates are decided. Fri., Walter Reade Theatre, 6:15 p.m.; Sun., MoMA, 8:30 p.m.
The feature filmmaking debut of Shannon Plumb, a Brooklyn video artist and the wife of acclaimed filmmaker Derek Cianfrance ("Blue Valentine"), "Towheads" is an idiosyncratic story about a mother who adopts different disguises in a bid to enliven her dreary existence. Cast with Cianfrance and their real-life children, it's a deeply personal work that's at once the sad story of unfulfilled potential and a tender portrait of mother-son love. March 27, MoMA, 9 p.m.; March 30, Walter Reade Theatre, 8:30 p.m.
Shane Carruth's reverie concerns a woman and a man joined by a shared history involving a parasitic organism ingested in a drug cocktail, human-pig connections, a man called only the "sampler" and other such elliptical oddities. With its fragmented images and rejection of easy conventions it's at once a viewing challenge and unforgettably beautiful. March 28, WRT, 9 p.m.; March 30, MoMA, 6:15 p.m. t