The 54th New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center features new indie films, revivals from international filmmakers, including US premieres. Documentaries include close-ups of movie stars, Cuba, the victims of East German and African dictators, and race relations in America.
The 54th New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center is September 30 to October 16. Tickets go on sale on Sept. 13.
Here is list of documentaries, in alphabetical order, so nobody can accuse us of playing favorites:
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail (Steve James) – A vivid chronicle of the legal battle between the Manhattan DA’s Office and Abacus Federal Savings of Chinatown, the only bank that was actually prosecuted in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.
The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography (Errol Morris) – A masterful portrait about the 20×24 Polaroid portrait photographer Elsa Dorfman, whose work is a heartbreaking embodiment of the passing of time.
Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (Alexis Bloom & Fisher Stevens) – About one of the best mother-and-daughter teams of all time, on the stage and off.
The Cinema Travellers (Shirley Abraham & Amit Madheshiya) – U.S. Premiere – A colorful, five-years-in-the-making documentary about two itinerant film projectionists in the Central Eastern Indian province of Maharashtra, this is a melancholy but joyful experience, about the wonder of still images coming to life at 24 frames per second.
Dawson City: Frozen Times (Bill Morrison) – About the life and times of a remote city in the Yukon
Hissen Habré, A Chadian Tragedy (Mahamat-Saleh Haroun) – This must-see documentary focuses on victims of Chad’s notorious and brutal dictator Hissen Habré, who recently became the first world leader convicted of crimes against humanity by the court outside of his own country.
I Am Not Your Negro (Raoul Peck) – An elegant film essay on the still tragic state of race in America, based on James Baldwin’s final, unfinished manuscript, Remember This House, in which the author recalled his friends Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King.
“Karl Marx City” (Petra Epperlein & Michael Tucker) – A look at the former East Germany of Epperlein’s childhood, and specifically to the possibility that her father might have been one of the many thousands of citizens recruited as informers by the Stasi.
The Settlers (Shimon Dotan) – This takes a good, hard look at the world of the Israeli settlers on the West Bank: the way they live, the worldview that many of them share, and, most crucially, the relaxed attitude of the Israeli government to their presence since the first settlements in the aftermath of the Six-Day War.
Uncle Howard (Aaron Brookner) – In a work of love and scholarship, Aaron Brookner breathes new life into recently discovered archival film and video images in which his adored uncle, Howard Brookner, captured the downtown New York, post-Beat mosaic of writers, filmmakers, performers, and artists during the 1970s and 1980s.