Darkness Visible

In the Mood for Love The most fetishistic romance since Vertigo, Wong Kar-wai's exquisite, erotic memory piece, set in the vanished Hong Kong of the early '60s, pairs Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung as next-door neighbors who are drawn together when they discover their spouses are having an affair. Less a narrative than a poetic evocation of desire, it works its spell through Cheung's swaying hips, Leung's yearning glances, and the silken samba rhythms of Nat King Cole. October 1 and 3. (AT)

Yi Yi Edward Yang's most fully realized film in nearly a decade walks the edge of sentimental melodrama with only a few missteps as the ambitious writer-director guides a large, multigenerational cast (representing a cross-section of Taipei's striving class) through a succession of emotional and spiritual crises. The movie's funny, understated meditation on urban life is subtly reinforced by Yang's carefully chosen locations in this placeless city. October 4. (JH)

Kippur Based on director Amos Gitai's personal experience in the 1973 Israeli-Arab War, this harrowing but not particularly thoughtful combat movie focuses on a helicopter rescue team patrolling the chaotic front lines and ferrying the victims of Syrian tank attacks back to hospitals. Gitai combines a B-movie's narrow focus on a single group of men with virtuoso deployment of the machinery of war—Bell helicopters and Centurion tanks supplied by the Israeli army. October 5. (AT)

Let the creature perform: Björk and Deneuve in Dancer in the Dark
photo: D. Koskas
Let the creature perform: Björk and Deneuve in Dancer in the Dark


Dancer in the Dark
Written and directed by Lars von Trier
A Fine Line release
Opens September 23

New York Film Festival
Alice Tully Hall and Avery Fisher Hall
September 22 through October 9
NYFF Main Program

Amores Perros Given its bruising camerawork, bravura chronology, and overall brutal gusto, anyone watching Alejandro González Iñarritu's first feature might be pardoned for thinking that the title is Spanish for Reservoir Dogs. "Love's a Bitch" is undeniably high powered but fatally overlong—the first episode is a throat-grabber but it exhausts the resources of the filmmaker's style. October 5 and 8. (JH)

Before Night Falls Julian Schnabel sticks to a straightforward biopic format in adapting the memoirs of late gay Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas. The movie's politics are more simplistic than Arenas's own and there's an episodic obviousness to it, but Schnabel, for the most part, keeps the episodes pertinent, fleeting, and vivid. Javier Bardem's central performance has both gravity and verve, and the cameos from a dolled-up Johnny Depp and a barely recognizable Sean Penn are priceless. October 6 and 8. (DL)

The Taste of Others Veteran screenwriter Agnes Jaoui comes into her own as a director with this effervescent, oddball romantic comedy. The unlikely heartthrob Jean-Pierre Bacri plays a newly successful businessman who's smitten by his English tutor when he sees her on stage playing a Racine heroine. Unfortunately he already has a wife, not to mention a bodyguard or two with complicated love lives of their own. October 6 and 7. (AT)

Eureka Totally absorbing and at moments transcendent, this three-and-a-half-hour, basically black-and-white Cinemascope road movie by the young Japanese director Shinji Aoyama transports you into its near-magical world. The soulful Koji Yakusho (the romantic hero of Shall We Dance?) plays a bus driver who dedicates his life to healing two children—fellow survivors of a hijacking. Traces of Kurosawa and Ford abound, but Aoyama's utterly contemporary perspective is all his own. No distributor. October 7. (AT)

Chronically Unfeasible Sergio Bianchi's barbed, bitter, Brechtian satire of class and race relations in Brazil spares no one but takes particular pleasure in skewering the hypocrisy of the liberal intelligentsia. Focusing on the owners, employees, and patrons of a São Paulo restaurant, the film juxtaposes the fantasy image of multiculti Brazil with the reality of an oppressive, hierarchical state. No distributor. October 7. (AT)

Platform Young Chinese director Jia Zhangke follows his spare pickpocket drama, Xiao Wu, with a decade-spanning mosaic, a sprawling yet eccentrically economical document of sociocultural transition told through the lives of the members of a small-town performance troupe. As road-movie musicals go, it's a bracing antidote to the bluster and fakery of Almost Famous. No distributor. October 8. (DL)

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Add another bland period piece to Ang Lee's oeuvre. Festival audiences have been creaming for this meandering homage to Hong Kong martial-arts flicks, but despite one spectacular swordfight atop swaying trees and the beauty of the lead actors—youngsters Chang Chen and Zhang Ziyi, veterans Chow Yun-fat and Michelle Yeoh—the sketchy characters and diffuse plot leave you with no one to root for. October 9. (AT)

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