Film Scouts Diaries

1995 New York Film Festival Diaries
New York Film Festival Celebrates the 100th Year of Cinema

by Kathleen Carroll

Sept. 23, 1995

The recent Toronto International Film Festival celebrated its 20th anniversary. The 33rd New York Film Festival will commemorate an even more important anniversary - the 100th year of cinema.

Out of the 28 programs in the festival there are a number of films that not only explore the historic impact of film as an art form but pay tribute to some of the more memorable personalities that helped this art form survive. In A CINEMA OF UNEASE, for instance, New Zealand's best known actor, Sam Neill, examines the film history of his own country. CITIZEN LANGLOIS recognizes the remarkable accomplishments of Henri Langlois who, as the founder of the Cinematheque Francaise, profoundly influenced such famous French directors as the late Francois Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard and Eric Rohmer.

Interestingly enough Jean Seberg, the American actress who so enchanted audiences in Godard's BREATHLESS, has her own tragic life and ill-fated career carefully analyzed in Mark Rappaport's unique documentary FROM THE JOURNALS OF JEAN SEBERG. Another festival selection,CELLULOID CLOSET, was inspired by the late Vito Russo's study of Hollywood's portrayal of homosexuality in the movies.

Also evoking the past are two retrospective salutes to film artists. "Discovering Max Linder" tips its top hat to the screen's first comic genius. The top-hatted Linder helped to inspire that other comic genius - Charles Chaplin. In addition the festival will acknowledge the contributions of Italian director Roberto Rossellini by presenting his three masterworks OPEN CITY, PAISAN and GERMANY YEAR ZERO.

Richard Pena, the chairman of the Festival Selection Committee, admits that it was something of an accident that so many of the films had a cinematic theme. Still it would seem that the members of this year's selection committee have chosen wisely to honor the memory of films past.

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