New York Film Festival 2020: Documentary Overview

Festival:
The 58th New York Film Festival

Dates:
September 17-October 11

About:
This beloved program of Film at Lincoln Center presents approximately 45 new features in a hybrid online and in-person format, among them 18 works of nonfiction.

Among the offerings:
Main Slate:

CITY HALL


CITY HALL
Director: Frederick Wiseman
A kaleidoscopic look at the inner workings of the city of Boston explores larger ideas about a country’s steps toward inclusivity and social reform.

GUNDA
Director: Victor Kossakovsky
An immersion into the life of a sow on a farm in Norway.

MLK/FBI
Director: Sam Pollard
A detailed account of the FBI surveillance that dogged Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s activism throughout the 1950s and ’60s.

NOTTURNO
Director: Gianfranco Rosi
Shot over the course of two years along the borders of Iraq, Kurdistan, Syria, and Lebanon, a nighttime ramble through a region rocked and shattered by catastrophe and violence.

SWIMMING OUT TILL THE SEA TURNS BLUE

SWIMMING OUT TILL THE SEA TURNS BLUE
Director: Jia Zhangke
Three prominent Chinese authors create a tapestry of testimonies about the drastic changes in Chinese life and culture that began with the social revolution of the 1950s.

TIME
Director: Garrett Bradley
Fox Rich wages a tireless 20-year campaign to secure her husband’s release after he received a 60-year prison sentence for robbery.

THE TRUFFLE HUNTERS
Director: Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw
In the forests of Northern Italy, dogs, accompanied by their elderly and often irascible human owners of modest means, seek the precious white Alba truffle.

Spotlight:

ALL IN: THE FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY

ALL IN: THE FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY
Director: Lisa Cortés, Liz Garbus
Candid interviews with the Democratic Party’s rising star Stacey Abrams anchor this invigorating and rigorous primer on the history of voter suppression in the United States.

DAVID BYRNE’S AMERICAN UTOPIA
Director: Spike Lee
A document of the former Talking Heads frontman’s brilliant, timely 2019 Broadway show, based on his recent album and tour of the same name.

HOPPER/WELLES
Director: Orson Welles
In November 1970, two movie mavericks, one already a legend and the other on his way to mythic status, met for an epochal conversation, sharing their candid thoughts and feelings about cinema, art, and life.

THE MONOPOLY OF VIOLENCE

THE MONOPOLY OF VIOLENCE
Director: David Dufresne
This exploration of police violence in contemporary France examines the ways in which a government justifies brutal acts against its own citizens, enacting totalitarian methods to keep the populace under its control.

Currents:
HER NAME WAS EUROPA
Director: Anja Dornieden, Juan David González Monroy
A poetic and deadpan work of fanciful nonfiction based on historical attempts to bring back the aurochs, a breed of wild cattle extinct since the early 17th century.

HER SOCIALIST SMILE

HER SOCIALIST SMILE
Director: John Gianvito
A meditation on Helen Keller’s outspokenness on behalf of progressive causes.

OUVERTURES
Director: The Living and the Dead Ensemble
A group of young actors translate, rehearse, and debate their Creole production of Édouard Glissant’s play MONSIEUR TOUSSAINT, creating a space in which the ghosts of Haiti’s colonial past return to address its present.

THE PLASTIC HOUSE
Director: Allison Chhorn
This hybrid project takes place inside and around a dilapidated greenhouse that belongs to the filmmaker’s Cambodian family; in this quiet environment, she oversees inspiring regrowth despite the sometimes harsh natural elements.

THERE ARE NOT THIRTY-SIX WAYS OF SHOWING A MAN GETTING ON A HORSE

THERE ARE NOT THIRTY-SIX WAYS OF SHOWING A MAN GETTING ON A HORSE
Director: Nicolás Zukerfeld
A wry, surprising work of filmmaking-as-criticism that traces a mysterious and amusing arc across the vast oeuvre of pantheon auteur Raoul Walsh, before suddenly reinventing itself as an essayistic investigation into memory, cinema, and their shared mutability.

THE WORKS AND DAYS (OF TAYOKO SHIOJIRI IN THE SHIOTANI BASIN)
Director: CW Winter, Anders Edström
Tayoko Shiojiri, a vegetable farmer who works and cares for her ailing husband in a small village north of Kyoto, Japan, is the nominal core of this monumental work, observed through precise tableaux and dense sonic collage that bend distinctions between fiction and documentary.

THE YEAR OF THE DISCOVERY
Director: Luis López Carrasco
An excavation of the forgotten histories of 1992, a pivotal year in which Spain celebrated both the Olympic Games in Barcelona and the quincentenary of Columbus’s arrival in the Americas, and ushered in a new age of neoliberalism.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Overviews, Recommendations

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