Between Worlds

“Trying hard to be the New York Film Festival—not the Lincoln Center or Upper West Side Film Festival.”

  • The sixty-first New York Film Festival.

Ascending from the theater in Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, up stairs of an awkward breadth best taken two at a time—impossible because of the mob encroaching on all sides—I hold my tongue. I want to tell my companion my thoughts on what we just saw, but the block is hot at these things. You never know if a needling critic is behind you, recording whispers for a Letterboxd review. When the throng mercifully spits us out onto Broadway, there is a place to pause: a sunken micro-plaza angled toward the street, its geometry of concrete and glass plunging from the venue and into the public realm. This was the vantage point from which I surveyed the New York Film Festival (NYFF) in its two-week run this October: if I was not shifting in a theater seat, I was sitting on a staircase to nowhere.

That particular Saturday, I was sort of miserable. I had already seen a short about a woman locked out of her apartment in Berlin, a feature made of vignettes about a woman in New York who enjoys BDSM, and a four-h…

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