Hard to believe fall is approaching with this blisteringly hot weather we are having this week. Happily reminding us this fact is today’s announcement of the full main slate lineup of this year’s 56th New York Film Festival which runs from September 28 to October 14 at Lincoln Center. Tickets go on sale Sunday, September 9 at noon, with presales starting August 27

Speaking about this year’s lineup, Kent Jones, the NYFF director and Selection Committee Chair had this to say

Francis Ford Coppola said that the cinema would become a real art form only when the tools of moviemaking became as inexpensive as paints, brushes, and canvases. That has come to pass, but at the same time it’s become increasingly tough to do serious work that is beholden to nothing but the filmmaker’s need to express these emotions in this form in moving images and sound. So if I were pressed to choose one word to describe the films in this year’s Main Slate, it would be: bravery.

Encompassing 30 films that span the globe, this year’s slate, while not as “sexy and flashy” as some of the other previously announced fall festivals, is filled with strong titles from both familiar and exciting new filmmakers -- many making their US or North American premieres with the majority eschewing the major studios and shining a light on smaller independent ones. Netflix and Amazon are also showing their increasing muscle with five films this year.

Previously announced was the opening night’s film, from one of a kind out there director Yorgos Lanthimos, the 18th Century period epic The Favourite, which should be unlike any drama from that period that you have ever seen before. This year's Centerpiece selection is Roma, the much talked about new work from the great Alfonso Cuaron, shot in black and white and based on events from his own life in Mexico City in the early ‘70’s. Closing out the fest this year is director Julian Schnabel’s At Eternity’s Gate, which is a look at the last days of Vincent Van Gogh starring Willem Dafoe as the titular artist with what should be, if at all resembling Schnabel’s previous films, a deeply passionate, poetic and unique piece of cinema.

A few brief other highlights would be new films from past fest familiars:  China’s wonderful Jia Zhangke (Ash is the Purest White); Korea’s Hong San Soo who is back with two films (Grass and Hotel By the River); and Poland’s Pawel Pawlikowski following up the quiet and striking Ida with new film Cold War. The Coen Brothers return with what should be a most interesting, fun and wild western-themed short film anthology that only they could do (The Ballad of Buster Scruggs), while the legendary Jean-Luc Godard, at 87years old, is back  with possibly his last film, The Image Book.

More: Japan’s Hirokazu Kore-ada’s Shoplifters, the story of strength and love while dealing with the effects of poverty which won this years Palme d’Or at Cannes; and the hotly anticipated new work from Moonlight’s Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk, which takes on on author James Baldwin’s beautifully written tale of love and family in the face of racism in 1970’s Harlem.

Exciting newcomers abound as well, such as the accomplished actor Paul Dano who makes his directorial debut with Wildlife, and Tamara Jenkins with Private Life, her first film since 2007’s darkly funny The Savages.

These are just but a few, along with yet to be announced, documentaries, restorations and specialties that make this one of the most important and unique film festivals in all the world. Check out a gallery of film stills from some of the this year's lineup and the full NYFF main slate list is here.

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