New York Film Festival 2021: Documentary Overview

Festival:
The 59th New York Film Festival

Dates:
September 24-October 10

About:
This fall cinephile mainstay returns to an all in-person event this year, presenting more than 50 new and recent features, among them just 13 works of nonfiction, as noted below.

Main Slate:

The First 54 Years: An Abbreviated Manual for Military Occupation
Director: Avi Mograbi
An account of Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories in the West Bank and Gaza Strip

FLEE
Director: Jonas Poher Rasmussen
The affecting story of a former refugee who must confront the traumas of his past to move forward with his life.

FUTURA
Director: Pietro Marcello, Francesco Munzi, Alice Rohrwacher
A collective exploration of what youth think about the future, through a series of interviews filmed during a long journey across Italy.

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND
Director: Todd Haynes
An exploration of how The Velvet Underground became a cultural touchstone representing a range of contradictions.

Spotlight:

JANE BY CHARLOTTE
Director: Charlotte Gainsbourg
The filmmaker makes a portrait of her famed mother Jane Birkin.

Marx Can Wait
Director: Marco Bellocchio
In his most achingly personal film to date, the legendary Italian filmmaker uses the occasion of a family reunion to excavate and discuss a traumatic event: the suicide of his twin brother Camillo.

Currents:

ALL ABOUT MY SISTERS
Director: Wang Qiong
An intimate, deeply felt portrait of Jin and her family filmed by her sister.

JUST A MOVEMENT
Director: Vincent Meessen
An elliptical and enigmatic film about the tragic Black protagonist of the May 1968 uprising, who became a revolutionary icon in Senegal.

NATURE
Director: Artavazd Peleshian
Rendered in stark black and white, an elegant, relentless montage of found disaster videos imparts an overwhelming experience of nature’s vast, destructive processes of regeneration.

A NIGHT OF KNOWING NOTHING
Director: Payal Kapadia
A university student in India writes letters to her estranged lover while he is away, merging reality with fiction, dreams, memories, fantasies and anxieties to provide a glimpse into the drastic changes taking place around her.

PRISM
Directior: Eléonore Yameogo, An van Dienderen, Rosine Mbakam
The lighting for movie cameras has always been calibrated for white skin; three filmmakers collectively explore the literal, theoretical, and philosophical dimensions of that reality in this discursive, playful, and profound work of nonfiction.

RETURNING TO REIMS (FRAGMENTS)
Director: Jean-Gabriel Périot
An intimate and political story of the French working class from the beginning of the 1950s to today.

A RIVER RUNS, TURNS, ERASES, REPLACES
Director: Shengze Zhu
A portrait of urban spaces along the Yangtze River in the city of Wuhan, an evolving landscape that is continuously sculpted by nature and dramatically altered by roaring machines and rising infrastructure.

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

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