by Sandy Mandelberger, North American Editor
The New York Film Festival, one of the oldest and most prestigious showcases of international cinema in the US, opens this evening with the US Premiere of the Cannes Palme d'Or winner, The Class by director Laurent Cantet. The film, a neo-realistic look at the crumbling standards of the French educational system, is one of several French films and co-productions that are highlighted at the two-week long event.
France is represented in the festival’s main slate through four French films and eight international co-productions. French entries include Arnaud Desplechin’s star-studded family drama A Christmas Tale, Agnès Jaoui’s story of aspiring filmmakers following a rising female politician Let It Rain and Olivier Assayas’s moving introspection on time and mortality, the beautifully realized Summer Hours.
Israeli director Ari Folman’s animated wartime autobiography Waltz with Bashir is one of several prominent French co-productions. In addfition, the Festival is presenting a retrospective screening of Max Ophul's steamy romantic melodrama Lola Montes in a newly struck film print.
The Festival is presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, which each March presents a provocative showcase of new French cinema in the RENDEZ-VOUS WITH FRENCH CINEMA program, co-presented by Unifrance USA. French films continue to be among the strongest box office winners in the US marketplace, with the above films all set for theatrical releases in the coming months.