By Chris Feil
Though New York Film Festival has already announced its splashiest titles for opening (Ava DuVernay's documentary The 13th), centerpiece (Mike Mills's 20th Century Women), and closing (James Gray's The Lost City of Z) galas, they still have another big world premiere up their sleeves. The fest has announced they will also host the first premiere of Ang Lee's high-tech satire Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk.
NYFF was a successful launching pad to Lee's Life of Pi a few years back, so the hope for repeated success is evident. Curiously, the film is premiering outside of the fest's three big slots but this could be a last minute addition. The initial whispers were that the film wouldn't be ready to play the festivals at all thanks to the post-production constraints of Lee's 120-frames-per-second lensing.
The premiere will also be the launching pad for the high frame rate speed, which is even faster than Peter Jackson's attempts with The Hobbit that went over quite poorly with the public. Lee's concept here is to use the medium to heighten the harsh realities of war and contrast that against life back home. This more emotional approach to technical innovation has us hoping that Lee gives us more Pi than Hulk, and the trailer sets the stage for potential weepy, hyper-real highs.
We'll find out if the risk pays off better than it did for Jackson at NYFF's world premiere on October 14 and when the film opens on November 11 - but how many theatres will be able to even show the film in Lee's intended format?