Women’s Films At New York Film Festival 2008 – Jennifer Merin reports

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Of the 28 films slated for screening at the 46th New York Film Festival (Septembr 26 to October 12, 2008 at Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater and the Ziegfield Theater at 141 West 54 Street), eight are directed by and/or focus on women.

Directed by women:

  • Agnès Jaoui’s “Let It Rain” (“Parlez-moi de la pluie”) – France, 2008 – 110m – A portrait of a rising feminist politician may be the ticket to fame and jobs for two aspiring filmmakers.
  • Lucrecia Martel’s “The Headless Woman” (“La mujer sin cabeza”) – Argentina/France/Italy/Spain, 2008 – 87m – The Argentine filmmaker’s powerful third feature takes us into an altered perceptual state with a woman who hits something with her car.
  • Kelly Reichardt‘s “Wendy and Lucy” – USA, 2008 – 80m – In this follow up to the director’s acclaimed “Old Joy,” Wendy (Michelle Williams) searches for her dog Lucy, revealing the troubled spirit of modern America along the way.

About women:

  • Clint Eastwood’s “Changeling,” a provocative fact-based period drama about Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie), a single mother in 1928 Los Angeles who returns home to find her nineyear-old son missing. The police return five months later with a child claiming to be her son, but despite the affirmation of the media, she remains unconvinced. She joins forces with a community activist Gustav Briegleb (John Malkovich), and the search for her son becomes a personal campaign against institutional corruption and for equality under the law.
  • Darezhan Omirbaev“s “Chouga” (“Shuga) – France/Kazakhstan, 2007 – 91m –

    A Kazakh, minimalist adaptation of “Anna Karenina.”

  • Mike Leigh’s “Happy-Go-Lucky” – UK, 2008 – 118m – An affectionate portrait of an unattached, 30-something London schoolteacher coming to terms with the fact that she’s no longer young.
  • Max Ophuls’ “Lola Montès” – France/West Germany, 1955 – 115m – A gleaming new restoration from the Cinémathèque uses all available footage for Ophuls’ classic about the life of the legendary courtesan and circus performer—lover of kings, knaves and Franz Liszt. This is the third time the masterpiece will be screened at the New York Film Festival, now as the spotlight retrospective.
  • João Botelho‘s “The Northern Land” (“A Corte do Norte“) – Portugal, 2008 – 101m – A woman searches for the truth about her life in the stories of ancestors and the distant manor house they inhabited.

Check the New York Film Festival for the complete program, screening dates and ticket information.

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Jennifer Merin

Jennifer Merin is the Film Critic for Womens eNews and contributes the CINEMA CITIZEN blog for and is managing editor for Women on Film, the online magazine of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, of which she is President. She has served as a regular critic and film-related interviewer for The New York Press and About.com. She has written about entertainment for USA Today, The L.A. Times, US Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Endless Vacation Magazine, Daily News, New York Post, SoHo News and other publications. After receiving her MFA from Tisch School of the Arts (Grad Acting), Jennifer performed at the O'Neill Theater Center's Playwrights Conference, Long Wharf Theater, American Place Theatre and LaMamma, where she worked with renown Japanese director, Shuji Terayama. She subsequently joined Terayama's theater company in Tokyo, where she also acted in films. Her journalism career began when she was asked to write about Terayama for The Drama Review. She became a regular contributor to the Christian Science Monitor after writing an article about Marketta Kimbrell's Theater For The Forgotten, with which she was performing at the time. She was an O'Neill Theater Center National Critics' Institute Fellow, and then became the institute's Coordinator. While teaching at the Universities of Wisconsin and Rhode Island, she wrote "A Directory of Festivals of Theater, Dance and Folklore Around the World," published by the International Theater Institute. Denmark's Odin Teatret's director, Eugenio Barba, wrote his manifesto in the form of a letter to "Dear Jennifer Merin," which has been published around the world, in languages as diverse as Farsi and Romanian. Jennifer's culturally-oriented travel column began in the LA Times in 1984, then moved to The Associated Press, LA Times Syndicate, Tribune Media, Creators Syndicate and (currently) Arcamax Publishing. She's been news writer/editor for ABC Radio Networks, on-air reporter for NBC, CBS Radio and, currently, for Westwood One's America In the Morning. She is a member of the Critics Choice Association in the Film, Documentary and TV branches and a voting member of the Black Reel Awards. For her AWFJ archive, type "Jennifer Merin" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).