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Friday, 28 September, 2001, 10:11 GMT 11:11 UK
Lynch movie tops New York festival
Mulholland Drive l
Mulholland Drive is expected to get a warm reception
Director David Lynch's new movie Mulholland Drive will be the showpiece event of New York's annual film festival, which opens for business on Friday.

Now in its 39th year, the festival comes to New York aiming to keep spirits high despite the devastating effects of the terror attacks of 11 September.

About 30 new features will be screened until 14 October by an array of international masters and rising stars, including acclaimed French director Jean-Luc Godard and rising US director Todd Solondz.

David Lynch
Lynch is known as a versatile talent

Festival chairman Richard Peņa said: "This year's programme is a chance to celebrate the great achievements of some of world cinema's most senior and influential and outstanding emerging talents."

Lynch, known for his versatility in creating movies as contrasting as Blue Velvet and The Straight Story, makes his first appearance at the festival.

Mulholland Drive stars newcomer Naomi Watts in a thriller set in Los Angeles.

Watts plays a would-be actress embarking on what turns out to be cautionary experience of life in Hollywood.

The Royal  Tenenbaums
The Royal Tenenbaums features a star-studded cast

Lynch's movie will be shown on the same middle weekend of the festival as director Wes Anderson's much-anticipated The Royal Tenenbaums.

Anderson, whose previous movies include Rushmore, brings the festival a family drama combining romance, tragedy and social observation.

Gene Hackman stars as the erratic and unscrupulous Royal Tenenbaum long estranged from his orderly wife, played by Anjelica Huston.

The film follows his attempts to settle bad feelings with his distanced children, played by Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow and Luke Wilson.

Bittersweet

In all, more than 20 countries are represented in this year's festival and all are US premičres.

And many of the highlights are expected to be the movies from France, which also open and close the festival.

Opening night movie is Va Savoir from Jacques Rivette. Set in Paris and starring Jeanne Balibar, it tells the story of actress Camille who returns to the city after three years in Italy.

Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese will be honoured

Yet the return is bittersweet, as Camille has never resolved her feelings for Pierre, the French academic she abandoned.

Wrapping up the festival will be Jean-Luc Godard's film in two parts, In Praise of Love.

The New Wave-style feature follows an artist undertaking a work about the four ages of love.

The first part is shot in black and white and goes back in time to focus on a couple of Resistance fighters during the war who reflect on the past while wondering about the future.

The film's second part is shot in colour video and returns the viewer to present days and present styles to reflect on the arc of history.

Scorcese

Among the strong rising talents at the festival will be Todd Solondz, presenting Storytelling.

Solondz , who has already won acclaim for Welcome to the Dollhouse and Happiness, delights in making his audience as uncomfortable as possible.

Storytelling follows that pattern. It is another film set in two parts. The first is called Fiction and sees Selma Blair play a college student who agrees to have sex with her African-American writing teacher out of a sense of political correctness.

The second part, Non-Fiction, is an attack on American independent film-making. Paul Giamatti plays a talentless documentary director who seizes on a clueless New Jersey teen as the subject of his contemptuous new film.

This year's festival programme also presents several special events, including a special award honouring director Martin Scorsese.

See also:

03 Aug 01 | Film
The Kidman and Sykes show
26 Sep 01 | Showbiz
Cameras roll again in New York
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