Watch Basquiat as a Teenager and 4 Other Art-Inspired Flicks at This Year’s New York Film Festival

Five films sure to pique the interest of art lovers.

Jean-Michel Basquiat. Via YouTube.
Jean-Michel Basquiat. Via YouTube.

The New York Film Festival is back. For the next two weeks, New Yorkers will be treated to a jam-packed program of world premieres, revivals, and filmmaker Q&As. And the 55th edition of the festival hasn’t forgotten the art world. From a documentary about Basquiat’s teenage years to a feature tracing the unlikely friendship between artist JR and director Agnes Varda, the program will showcase five feature films sure to pique the interests of art lovers. Below, get a glimpse of the festival’s artiest movies.

Faces Places

What happens when an 88-year-old director and a 33-year-old artist unite and set out to photograph the people of rural France? A sweet friendship emerges and the two embark on a moving public art project. Artist JR photographs townspeople and Varda films their adventures together, as the duo plaster the countryside with the faces of its inhabitants. The film won this year’s L’Oeil d’or documentary film award at Cannes, and it’s not hard to see why.

Showing on Sunday, October 1 at 12:30 p.m. at Alice Tully Hall, and Monday, October 2 at 8:30 p.m. at Francesca Beale Theater.

Let the Sun Shine In

Loosely inspired by Roland Barthes’s A Lover’s Discourse, Claire Denis’s Let the Sun Shine In centers around Isabelle (Juliette Binoche), a middle-aged Parisian artist, who is looking for her one true love. The film follows Isabelle as she navigates through various relationships, often with flawed suitors: a married man, an actor, a hairdresser, a commitment-phobe, and a fortune teller. Who finally wins the artist’s heart? You’ll have to watch to find out.

Showing on Saturday, October 7 at 3:30 p.m. and Sunday, October 8 at 3:30 p.m. at Alice Tully Hall. A Q&A with Denis will follow both screenings.

The Square

Director Ruben Östlund won the prestigious Palme d’Or at Cannes for this biting satire, which follows Christian (Claes Bang), a contemporary art curator working at a museum in Stockholm. The curator’s latest exhibition is a four-by-four-meter zone outlined with lights as a “sanctuary of trust and caring,” and intended to invite others into acts of selflessness. The social commentary kicks into high gear when a PR campaign for the exhibition—including a performance artist impersonating an ape and a museum janitor vacuuming up one of the installations—leads Christian and the museum into an existential crisis.

Showing on Friday, September 29 at 8:30 p.m. and Sunday, October 1 at 9:00 p.m. at Alice Tully Hall.

BOOM FOR REAL: The Late Teenage Years of Jean Michel Basquiat

Deriving its name from one of the artist’s mantras, BOOM FOR REAL: The Late Teenage Years of Jean Michel Basquiat, focuses on a young, not-yet-famous Basquiat, as his personal life intertwines with his artistic aspirations. Sara Driver’s documentary captures the Downtown New York art world in the late 1970s and early 80s and illuminates the young artist through interviews with those who knew him best.

Showing on Sunday, October 8 at 1:00 p.m. at Alice Tully Hall and Wednesday, October 11 at 9:00 p.m. at the Francesca Beale Theater. A Q&A with the director follows both screenings.

Barbara Hammer Program

Barbara Hammer, who will be honored at the fall benefit for Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, was a pioneer in her field, deconstructing notions of gender and sexuality through her films. This program includes extended clips of some of her most experimental work, including Psychosynthesis, Women I Love, Audience, No No Nooky T.V., and Still Point.

Showing on Monday, October 9 at 3:00 p.m. at the Francesca Beale Theater. A discussion about the filmmaker will follow the screening.


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