Todd Haynes’ ‘May December’ to Open the 61st New York Film Festival

Todd Haynes’ new film, “May December,” will open the 61st New York Film Festival on September 29, Film at Lincoln Center announced Tuesday. The opening will mark the film’s North American debut. The director and cast, which includes Natalie Portman, Julianne Moore and Charles Melton, will attend the screening.

“May December” had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May, where it was warmly received and picked up by Netflix. Written by first-time screenwriter Samy Burch, the dark comedy is Haynes’ first narrative film since 2019’s “Dark Waters.” It stars Portman as Elizabeth, a TV actress who travels to Savannah to study with Gracie (Moore), a who she will play on screen and who, along with her significantly younger husband, Joe (Melton), was once a tabloid target. Elizabeth tries to immerse herself in her lives to fully understand what made them such compelling tabloid fodder. According to the press release, “As Elizabeth tries to reach out to her family, the uncomfortable facts of her scandal unfold, bringing up difficult and long-dormant emotions.”

“We are all very proud and thrilled to have been invited to open the New York Film Festival with the North American premiere of ‘May December,’” director Todd Haynes said in the statement. “It is a festival that plays a role in my work and life like no other in the world, enshrining the cultural life of this city, which is both my creative home as a filmmaker and, as always, the eternal site of artistic life. possibility.”

“May December” is Haynes’ fifth collaboration with Moore, following “Safe” in 1995, Douglas Sirk’s 2002 tribute “Far from Heaven” (for which she was nominated for an Oscar), “I’m Not Here ” in 2007 (in which she and a mix of other actors played Bob Dylan) and the 2011 drama “Wonderstruck.” The new film will be released in theaters on November 17 and on Netflix on December 1.

Reviewing “May December” for TheWrap, Tomris Laffly called it a “deliciously witty, shape-shifting psychodrama” and “an eerie ‘Russian Doll’ of a movie about identity and acting that reveals itself in mischievous doses.” He praised the three main stars, calling Portman’s performance “simply impressive”, Moore’s turn “terrific”, and Melton’s “bloated performance” which “slowly but surely steals the movie”.

The 61st New York Film Festival will take place from September 29 to October 15, 2023. The festival’s Main Slate selection committee is chaired by NYFF Artistic Director Dennis Lim and includes Florence Almozini , Justin Chang, K. Austin Collins, and Rachel Rosen. In a statement, Lim said: “’May December’ is a tour de force of writing, acting and directing: a film built on moment-to-moment surprise, as exhilarating as it is purely pleasurable. He cements Todd Haynes’s place as one of American cinema’s most brilliant mischief makers and as an all-time great actor director. Todd has been a consistent presence at the New York Film Festival for nearly his entire career, and we’re so excited to open this edition with one of his most dazzling achievements.”

Passes for this year’s NYFF are available to purchase now. Individual tickets go on sale September 19 at 12 pm ET. Press and industry accreditation opens on July 31.

'May December' review: Todd Haynes' latest is a playful psychodrama

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