Live by Night
The key question behind Live by Night isn’t so much “Why did they bother?” as “What went wrong?”
For my generation, few names loom larger over film criticism than Kent Jones. He's done it all: made films with Martin Scorsese, worked as an archivist, crafted screenplays for esoteric auteurs, written definitive pieces of criticism on major works of art and crafted polarizing state-of-the-art essays that have sent everyone with a cellphone scrambling to add their two cents on twitter. For our purposes, the most important of his recent achievements is becoming the director of The New York Film Festival. It's the last of the major festivals of the year before awards season takes over the consciousness and schedule of cinephiles everywhere, a gathering of a year's worth of singular arthouse achievements and crowd-pleasing genre fare alike. The festival has an eclectic slate and an identity that's hard to quite put into words. I've come to the festival as a spectator many times but I've never had to consider what its place is in the cultural landscape before right now, and I figured there was no better brain to pick than that of Kent Jones. A tall, confident figure, Jones speaks in the most calming register, his consonants like syrup glueing his vowels together. I could listen to him talk about film for hours (which you should do if you have the time) but today you'll have to make do with ten minutes about his vision for and history with the New York Film Festival. Stay tuned for more interviews and coverage from myself and Godfrey Cheshire.
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