Film Comment Selects 2014: Ecclectic Mix of Critics' Darlings and Rediscoveries

Featured Critic; Brooklyn, New York (@floatingartist)
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Each year, Film Comment Magazine holds a film series at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, its selection of films assembled from festivals around the world by its esteemed editors. In its 14th year, Film Comment Selects 2014 consists of 22 films (17 of them local premieres) from all corners of the cinema spectrum, including genre tropes, new films by seasoned and upcoming filmmakers, well-deserved revivals and Jane Campion's much praised TV show Top of the Lake in its entirety.

Specifically, the selection includes new films from Lukas Moodyson, Hong Sang-soo, Denis Villeneuve, Lasse Hallström, Bernardo Bertolucci, Ti West and much more.

It will also feature two earlier works (Wolfsberg and Ghosts) of the lead figure in Berliner Schule, Christian Petzold, The City of Pirates -- a seldom seen masterpiece by the master surrealist Raul Ruiz -- as well as the adaptation of Betrayal, arguably the greatest play that famed playwright Harold Pinter ever wrote, starring Jeremy Irons and Ben Kingsley.

Unsurprisingly, many of their choices have been covered here at ScreenAnarchy - The Station (read Todd's TIFF review here), Felony (Kurt's TIFF review here), Intruders (Todd's TIFF review here) and Our Sunhi (Teresa's VFF review here).

The series will open with Hong's lastest film Our Sunhi and close with Bertolucci's Me and You. Please visit Film Society of Lincoln Center website for the full list and tickets. The series runs from February 17-27.Meanwhile, here are previews of five films I was able to watch in advance:

ME AND YOU - Bernardo Bertolucci *Closing Night Selection

The reason there hasn't been a new Bertolucci film for more than ten years was because the now 72-year-old master has been having health problems. His bad back led to multiple surgeries and, ultimately left him wheelchair-bound. Me and You, his new film, directed from his wheelchair is a simple, affecting story of a 14-year old loner and his older junkie sister bonding over the course of a week, trapped in the basement of their parent's apartment building.

The film is unexpectedly sweet. Sure, there is a bit of Bertolucci's usual sexual innuendos/brashness but skin is kept to a bare minimum. Lorenzo (Jacopo Olmo Antinori), a pimply young Malcolm McDowell lookalike fakes a school ski trip to get away from the world and his overbearing mom into the stuffy basement. He gets provisions (junk food) for a week, brings his computer, music and a freshly purchased ant farm for entertainment. But his peace is suddenly interrupted by his twenty something half-sister Olivia (sultry Tea Falco). She is heading up to the countryside to her friend/lover's, but first, she needs a place to crash in Rome to clean up her drug habits. Since she hates his mom, she blackmails Lorenzo to let her stay in his escape pad. Bertolucci uses a confined space effectively: the tiny shared space forces the siblings to bond and share intimate moments. Seeing these slightly drawn characters portrayed by not-too-pretty unknowns is refreshing in the world saturated with cookie-cutter pretty young thangs on TV.

If concentrating on youth reinvigorated Bertolucci to direct again despite his conditions and the result is this good, I am all for his future endeavors. The great soundtrack starts with The Cure's Boys Don't Cry and ends with Bowie's Space Oddity.

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