New York Film Festival returns to Lincoln Center with high-profile movies led by big stars

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NEW YORK — Movie magic is back in the Big Apple with the New York Film Festival’s return to the Lincoln Center.

Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand, Penelope Cruz and Benedict Cumberbatch are among the big-name stars who have movies playing at the 59th edition of the event, which begins Friday and runs through Oct. 10.

This year’s festival returns to an in-person format for fully vaccinated attendees after it transitioned to a largely virtual setup in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2021 lineup features a diverse lineup of 32 films, which includes award-season hopefuls, high-profile titles and celebrated international movies.

Here are some of the most anticipated films playing at the festival, with tickets now available on the event’s website.

“The Tragedy of Macbeth”

The black-and-white drama makes its world premiere Friday at the festival.

Directed by Joel Coen, the film stars Washington as Lord Macbeth, McDormand as Lady Macbeth and Corey Hawkins as Macduff.

It serves as a retelling of William Shakespeare’s early-1600s tragedy about Lord Macbeth, who is driven to overtake the Scottish throne to fulfill a prophecy.

“The Tragedy of Macbeth” is considered a heavy Oscar contender, and serves as the NYFF opening -night selection.

“The Power of the Dog”

Another Academy Awards frontrunner, “The Power of the Dog” stars Cumberbatch as a volatile rancher whose behavior grows erratic after his brother marries a widow, played by Kirsten Dunst.

Jesse Plemons and Kodi Smit-McPhee also star in the Netflix drama, which is the first feature film directed by Oscar winner Jane Campion to be released in 12 years.

The movie is based on a 1967 novel by Thomas Savage, and earned acclaim at its premiere at the Venice Film Festival this month.

“The Power of the Dog” makes its New York debut on Oct. 1 as the NYFF centerpiece selection.

“Parallel Mothers”

The festival ends with another awards-season favorite, with Cruz’s “Parallel Mothers” playing there Oct. 8 as the closing-night selection.

The Spanish film centers on two mothers whose lives become linked when they’re assigned to the same hospital room in a maternity ward. Drama ensues when their lives follow different paths after giving birth.

Cruz is a top candidate in the Oscars’ Best Actress race, while Pedro Almodóvar is in the mix for Best Director.

The twist-filled drama earned a huge ovation at the Venice Film Festival and currently boasts a 100% approval rating on the Rotten Tomatoes review aggregation website.

“Dune”

As one of the fall’s most highly anticipated blockbusters, “Dune” is among the buzziest titles set to play at NYFF.

Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Dave Bautista, Jason Momoa and Josh Brolin are only some of the stars in the cast of the sci-fi epic, which is adapted from the influential 1965 novel by Frank Herbert.

Directed by Denis Villeneuve, “Dune” also earned rave reviews in Venice. It makes its NYFF debut on Oct. 8, before getting a wide release on Oct. 22 in theaters and on HBO Max.

“The French Dispatch”

The ever-clever Wes Anderson’s latest projects tells three stories through a film paying homage to journalism.

Centering on an American newspaper’s French borough, “The French Dispatch” features a loaded cast that includes Bill Murray, Elisabeth Moss, Owen Wilson, Chamalet, Léa Seydoux, Tilda Swinton, McDormand, Jeffrey Wright and more.

Fresh off its July debut at the Cannes Film Festival, the comedy-drama plays Oct. 3 at NYFF before opening in U.S. theaters on Oct. 22.

“C’mon C’mon”

Starring in his first feature film since winning an Oscar for “Joker,” Joaquin Phoenix leads this drama about a man’s journey across the country with his nephew.

Phoenix again finds himself in the Best Actor conversation after “C’mon C’mon” earned a strong reaction at the Telluride Film Festival.

It plays at NYFF on Oct. 4.

“Titane”

The gory, surprise-filled horror film makes its U.S. debut on Sept. 29 at NYFF after captivating audiences at previous festivals.

Praised for posing new ideas about gender and relationships, the film has earned positive reviews from 93% of the critics included on Rotten Tomatoes.

Most notably, “Titane” — which was written and directed by French filmmaker Julia Ducournau — won the top prize, the Palme d’Or, at the Cannes Film Festival this summer.

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