The 52nd annual event, which opens Friday, is for "film
lovers of all stripes and levels of knowledge," said its
director, Kent Jones. Its 17-day itinerary includes a main slate
of 30 feature films and a retrospective of the works of Academy
Award-winning director Joseph L. Mankiewicz.
In the past, the festival has been criticized for being snobby
and appealing to cinephiles, but more recently the festival has
included more commercial, as well as art-house, films.
Jones said the selection process is about finding and presenting
the best films.
"I am not striving for any kind of mix because the selection
process is more a question of just following our instincts,"
said Jones, who also chairs the selection committee.
Among the world premieres is "Citizenfour," by documentary by
filmmaker Laura Poitras, about Edward Snowden, who leaked
classified information from the National Security Agency.
Poitras was making a film about abuses of national security when
encrypted emails from Snowden, who identified himself as
"citizen four," began to arrive in her inbox.
"One the one hand, you are watching all this stuff play out in
real time," Jones said. "And on the other hand, you are seeing
this character portrayal together in the process. On another
level, it is like watching a spy story happening in real life,
playing out in real time."
"Gone Girl," director David Fincher's adaption of Gillian
Flynn's best-selling novel about a broken marriage, will also
get its first viewing when it opens the festival.
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This is a return engagement for Fincher, who premiered his Academy
Award-nominated film "The Social Network" at the festival in 2010.
Oscar-winner Ben Affleck stars as Nick Dunne, whose wife, played by
British actress Rosamund Pike, mysteriously disappears on their
fifth wedding anniversary.
"Inherent Vice," Paul Thomas Anderson's adaptation of a Thomas
Pynchon novel, will have its debut as the festival's centerpiece
selection. It stars Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin and Reese
"It's the first film that has ever been made out of a Thomas Pynchon
novel," said Jones. "You really feel like you have been led through
some kind of subterranean series of passages and come out on the
other side and wonder where you are."
Documentaries include Martin Scorsese and David Tedeschi's "The 50
Year Argument," which celebrates the half-century of the New York
Review of Books, and "Iris," a film by Albert Maysles about fashion
and interior design master Iris Apfel.
"Merchants of Doubt," directed by Robert Kenner, follows scientific
spin doctors as they influence public perception about climate
And in "Tales of the Grim Sleeper," filmmaker Nick Broomfield delves
into the case of an elusive serial killer who terrorized Los Angeles
for two decades.
(Editing by Eric Kelsey and Lisa Von Ahn)
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