Catching up on my activies of the past week, incl. NYFF reports

from opening night party at Tavern on the Green, inside the hall of mirrors:

Celebrity sightings included Angelica Huston, Jason Schwartzman (grimacing through photos with an injured foot), Willem Dafoe palling with Abel Ferrara, Armond White walking arm in arm with Sylvia Miles, David Byrne in a cowboy getup, etc etc.

Had a wonderful talk with Filmbrain at the afterparty (though he might have been too drunk to remember...)

The following morning Cindi and I had brunch with Kristin Thompson, film scholar, co-author of the ubiquitous film school tome Film Art: An Introduction, and David Bordwell's better half.  She was in town doing publicity for her new book The Frodo Franchise and had a wealth of information to share about her research on the art and business of LOTR.

Incidentally, Bordwell has a rich report on the Asian films that played at Vancouver recently, including an observant review of Jia Zhangke's Useless.  A reminder that I need to sharpen my formalist observations of motifs and color schemes and go beyond glossy impressions...

I'll get a couple more chances to work on that with my remaining New York Film Festival reviews, which I hope to finish tomorrow, my third day here in Pordenone Italy for the annual silent cinema festival.  More on that as I spend more time here (and less on the computer). In the meantime here is my ranking of the 13 films I saw that played at this year's NYFF, with links to reviews where available: 

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Christi Mingiu)

Useless (Jia Zhang-ke)

The Last Mistress (Catherine Breillat)

Flight of the Red Balloon (Hou Hsiao-Hsien)

Paranoid Park (Gus Van Sant)

Redacted (Brian De Palma)

Secret Sunshine (Lee Chang-dong)

The Romance of Astree and Celadon (Eric Rohmer)

I'm Not There (Todd Haynes)

Alexandra (Alexander Sokurov)

Silent Light (Carlos Reygadas)

The Man from London (Bela Tarr) - this has grown in appreciation with time

Go-Go Tales (Abel Ferrara) - this has lessened in appreciation with time

I've also written about:

Mambo Girl and The Wild, Wild Rose from the Cathay Studios retrospective

New films by Peter Hutton and Robert Beavers from the Views from the Avant Garde Program - The Beavers film has made more of a lasting impression.  Kudos to Nathan Lee for giving special attention to both of these films in his Village Voice writeup.