By Tristan Pollack Teshigahara
On the first day of the New York Film Festival everything seems to be in place. Inside of the Walter Reade cinema critics, writers, filmmakers and curators gather around the lobby eagerly waiting to reserve seats for what could easily rank as the most ambitious NYFF program to date. The NYFF has kept a strong track record in featuring films from all around the world, each film offering a unique perspective. Like some of the best film festivals, it has turned into a beacon of hope for filmmakers and artists who have been censored by totalitarianism. The 49th NYFF premiered Jafar Panahi’s This is Not a Film (2012), which he made while under house arrest from the Iranian government. The 51st NYFF released Jehane Noujaim’s The Square (2013), a vivid documentation of the Egyptian Revolution that originally took place in Tahrir Square in 2011. Although this year’s festival seems to move away from that direction, there is a subtle gesture of altruism that seems to give the programming a socially conscious direction. The 52nd New York Film Festival runs from September 26 – October 12.