Film, Film Review, NYFF

NYFF: Weekend Dispatch

A mother, a gardener, and a conductor walk into a film festival...


I was lucky enough to stop by the 60th New York Film Festival this weekend for a few screenings, each with some incredible guests. I got to see Whoopi Goldberg, Sigourney Weaver, and Cate Blanchett in person! We were in the same space! And the films weren’t half bad either!

Till (2022) dir. Chinonye Chukwu
“A lot of people are scared of this movie” – Whoopi Goldberg at the post-screening press conference.

Well-made but obviously near-impossible to bear, Till is the true story of Mamie Till-Mobley, a Black woman whose son Emmett was murdered in a horrific lynching in the summer of 1955 after he was acussed of offending a white woman. With an incredible performance by Danielle Deadwyler at its center, Till manages to balance the horror of this murder with Mamie’s rage and fight for justice without coming off as maudlin or completely unbearable. Unfortunately, we know how this story goes: the murderers get away with it, and the woman who got Emmett killed is still alive (though hopefully not for much longer). Chukwu makes the first twenty minutes into something of a horror movie, amping up Mamie’s dread before the inevitable happens, though the violence is mercifully offscreen. Of course, one of the most important aspects of the Till story was Mamie’s decision to have an open casket funeral so the world could see what those white men did to her son, so… there is that. I believe Till does justice in telling the story of one of the worst things to ever happen and is worth it for Deadwyler’s performance alone, but I understand any reservations you may have about this level of suffering. 


Master Gardener (2022) dir. Paul Schrader

The third in Schrader’s recent unofficial “troubled men” trilogy, Master Gardener is disarmingly optimistic compared to First Reformed and The Card Counter. Here we have a tale of redemption and growth all taking place on a palatial estate run by Sigourney Weaver as Mrs. Haverhill (or as I call her, “Evil Emily Gilmore”). She is incredible. Joel Edgerton is our titular gardener known by the perplexing name “Narvel Roth.” As a Schrader man, he has a dark past and many secrets, ones he wishes to hide from Mrs. Haverhill’s grand-niece Maya (Quintessa Swindell), a troubled young woman who he takes under his wing. Through flashbacks we see how far Narvel has come and why he’s willing to put everything on the line to help Maya. Edgerton plays Narvel’s awkwardness and tenderness for laughs and sympathy, crafting a man who has given everything to his craft but still can’t forgive himself. Weaver is the standout performance, creating a delightfully vicious dowager who is needier than a child and even more insecure. Hopefully Master Gardener gets distribution soon. As for Schrader, I’m interested to see the “Puerto Rican trauma nurse” movie he mentioned onstage at the festival… 


TÁR dir. Todd Field

Our own Oscar Goff will have a full review of TÁR soon, but I wanted to share my initial thoughts. Namely, that TÁR is the best film of the year so far. TÁR is mother. TÁR is power. TÁR is music. TÁR is rhythm. TÁR is sound. TÁR is a conductor. TÁR is unbelievable. TÁR is an old apartment in Berlin. TÁR is a tale of corruption and abuse. TÁR is shockingly hilarious. Above all else, TÁR is Cate Blanchett. Cate Blanchett is everything, and she does deserve her third Oscar for this titanic performance. TÁR must be seen to be believed, and thank goodness that TÁR is coming so soon. It’s TÁR! What else do you need!

Part of the 60th New York Film Festival – click here to follow the Hassle’s continuing coverage!

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