November 9, 2022
WRITTEN BY: JACOB AND PAIGE
The New York Film Festival is one of the most extraordinary and sought-after film festivals in the world – attracting legions of filmmakers, press, and, especially, movie fans. People flock to the event hoping to catch a glimpse of films prior to their wide release and engage with their favorite filmmakers at panels, conferences, and Q&A sessions. Sometimes, a film’s wide release comes right on the heels of its NYFF debut; other times, it is well after. Furthermore, although most films have already debuted at other festivals or held early screenings for select press members, they can generate buzz simply by their inclusion in the New York slate. This year, Bitesize Breakdown sent two writers, Jacob and Paige, to New York City to cover the prestigious film festival for the very first time. This journey, much as with the three Bitesizers who attended Toronto International Film Festival, acts as a launchpad into a new era for our small collective.
Once in NYC, we embarked on many an adventure. New York’s unique attractions and atmosphere provided serenity and elation for both of us as we visited popular bars, new dining locales, and – in Jacob’s case – the world premiere of Dwayne Johnson’s passion project, Black Adam. While immortalizing the experiences that would christen our strengthening bond, we covered all manner of events and befriended some equally extraordinary film critics along the way. Appropriately, we made no exceptions for sleep, as vibrant conversation lifted spirits and minds soared. If you’ve never attended a film festival, press lines are where friends are made, be it through Cinephile gameplay or the simple discussion of shared experiences. Our small duo often found itself amongst like-minded souls, including noted cinematographers, podcasters, journalists, and other equally excited attendees. Discussing film with like-minded fellows became a pastime as thorough and sure as baseball. It was, in many senses, a delightful presentation of opportunities for all involved.
As we were granted access to some of the year’s most anticipated films, we were able to see many great offerings. As with most things, some were exceptional, others were admirable (if not beloved), and, of course, some did not meet expectations (though we won’t focus on those here). Paige’s main highlights included Charlotte Wells’ debut feature Aftersun, the biting satire of Ruben Östlund’s Triangle of Sadness, and Luca Guadagnino’s raw cannibal love story Bones and All. Noah Baumbach’s Netflix adaptation of White Noise was also a favorite of hers. As for Jacob, top marks went to Park Chan-wook’s masterfully edited Decision to Leave, Todd Field’s remarkably directed and performed Tár, and Sarah Polley’s novel adaptation of Women Talking. Of course, many other films of quality were also seen, such as Till, The Eternal Daughter, She Said, Corsage, All the Beauty and The Bloodshed, All That Breathes, Descendant, and Sr., whereas most other films ranged from disappointing to largely enjoyable (though not especially mind-consuming).
All told, New York was good to us. It welcomed us openly, gave us everything we needed, and saw us off with enough love and goodwill in our hearts to eagerly anticipate a repeat journey, which, hopefully, will not be too far away. Until that time, however, we will continue to write and root for Bitesize Breakdown as this exciting new era begins. Most importantly, to the good folks of NYFF60 – the staff, concessionists, programmers, showrunners, press conference attendees, and all who helped to put together one of the most extraordinary experiences any critic can hope to have in his, her, or their lifetime – we thank you for your all-encompassing hospitality. See you soon.
Photo Credits: Photo 1, 4 - Jacob Jones; Photo 2, 3 - NYFF