The latest films by Susan Lacy and Jennifer Lebeau, and a film tracing the history of the Metropolitan Opera have joined the 2017 New York Film Festival lineup.
Last week, organizers unveiled the list of projects that make up the event’s documentary slate, including Alex Gibney‘s long-awaited No Stone Unturned, which offers a critical look into the 1994 Loughinisland massacre in Northern Ireland.
Joining the 18-day New York-set festival’s roster in the Special Events category are Susan Lacy’s Spielberg (pictured), which chronicles the cinema titan’s remarkable career; Jennifer Lebeau’s Trouble No More, punctuating rare 1979-1980 concert footage seminal musician Bob Dylan; and Susan Froemke’s The Opera House, which details the history of the Metropolitan Opera.
All three films will enjoy their world premieres at the 55th annual NYFF, which runs Sept. 28 – Oct. 15.
Academy Award-nominee Rory Kennedy will examine technologically underserved schools in America in Without a Net, while documentarian Claude Lanzmann will return to NYFF with the world premiere of his four-film series Four Sisters, which is pieced together from interviews conducted in the 1970s with four Holocaust survivors.
Lanzmann was the subject of former realscreen editor Adam Benzine‘s 2016 Oscar-nominated documentary short Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah.
Film descriptions, as provided by NYFF, follow below:
Claude Lanzmann’s Four Sisters
The Hippocratic Oath (France, 2017, 89m)
Baluty (France, 2017, 64m)
The Merry Flea (France, 2017, 52m)
Noah’s Ark (France, 2017, 68m)
Since 1999, Claude Lanzmann has made several films that could be considered satellites of Shoah, comprised of interviews conducted in the 1970s that didn’t make it into the final, monumental work. He has just completed a series of four new films, built around four women from four different areas of Eastern Europe with four different destinies, each finding herself unexpectedly and improbably alive after war’s end: Ruth Elias from Ostravia, Czechoslovakia; Paula Biren from Lodz, Poland; Ada Lichtman from further south in Krakow; and Hannah Marton from Cluj, or Kolozsvár, in Transylvania. “What they have in common,” wrote Lanzmann, “apart from the specific horrors each one of them was subjected to, is their intelligence, an incisive, sharp and carnal intelligence that rejects all pretence and false reasons—in a word—idealism.” What is so remarkable about Lanzmann’s films is the way that they stay within the immediate present tense, where the absolute horror of the shoah is always happening.
The Opera House
Dir. Susan Froemke, USA, 2017, 108m
Renowned documentarian Susan Froemke takes viewers through the history of the Metropolitan Opera via priceless archival stills, footage, and interviews (with, among many others, the great soprano Leontyne Price). The film follows the development of the glorious institution from its beginnings at the old opera house on 39th Street to the storied reign of Rudolph Bing to the long-gestating move to Lincoln Center, the construction of which traces a fascinating byway through the era of urban renewal and Robert Moses’s transformation of New York. Most of all, though, this is a film about the love for and devotion to the preservation of an art form, and the upkeep of a home where it can live and thrive.
This screening will take place at the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center.
Dir. Susan Lacy, USA, 2017, 147m
Susan Lacy’s new film traces the private, public, and artistic development of one of cinema’s true giants, from his early love of moviemaking as a kid growing up in all-American suburbia, through his sudden rise to superstardom with Jaws, to his establishment of a film-and-TV empire with DreamWorks and beyond. All along the way, Spielberg has approached every new film as if it were his first. Featuring interviews with friends and contemporaries in the “New Hollywood” (Francis Coppola, Brian De Palma, George Lucas, Martin Scorsese); key artistic collaborators (including Tom Hanks, John Williams, longtime DP Janusz Kamiński); and, the film’s most touching presences, Spielberg’s beloved sisters and parents, Arnold and Leah. An HBO Documentary Film.
Trouble No More
Dir. Jennifer Lebeau, USA, 2017, 59m
Like every other episode in the life of Bob Dylan, the “born again” period that supposedly began with the release of Slow Train Coming (1979) and supposedly ended with Shot of Love (1981) has been endlessly scrutinized in the press. Less attention has been paid to the magnificent music he made. This very special film consists of truly electrifying video footage, much of it thought to have been lost for years and all newly restored, shot at shows in Toronto and Buffalo on the last leg of the ’79-’80 tour (with an amazing band: Muscle Shoals veteran Spooner Oldham and Terry Young on keyboards, Little Feat’s Fred Tackett on guitar, Tim Drummond on bass, the legendary Jim Keltner on drums and Clydie King, Gwen Evans, Mona Lisa Young, Regina McCrary and Mary Elizabeth Bridges on vocals) interspersed with sermons written by Luc Sante and beautifully delivered by Michael Shannon. More than just a record of some concerts, Trouble No More is a total experience.
Without a Net
Dir. Rory Kennedy, USA, 2017, 56m
Many of us assume that the world, or at least the country, is now fully connected, but throughout American classrooms there exists a digital divide. In a shockingly large number of schools, access to technology, connectivity, and teacher-training is nonexistent. Many of those underserved schools are located just a few miles from fully equipped schools with technologically adept teachers in better funded districts. This new film from Rory Kennedy, in which we see the situation through the eyes of students, educators, policy experts, and advocates across the country, clearly lays out the steps we must take a to bring our public education system into the 21st century.