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Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” Will Open The 2019 New York Film Festival

Once again, I kind of spoke something into existence! After mentioning over the weekend how The Irishman was not among the initial film festival revelations but something could be brewing shortly…lo and behold, something was indeed brewing. Martin Scorsese’s movie has moments ago been announced as the Opening Night Selection of the 2019 New York Film Festival. It will be the movie’s World Premiere, starting a potential Academy Award run for Scorsese in New York City. For as ubiquitous a filmmaker as Scorsese is with the Big Apple, debuting his flick there makes perfect sense. Consider this an obvious choice by Netflix, but a completely appropriate one.

Here is the press release announcing the movie’s premiere:

New York, NY (July 29, 2019) – Film at Lincoln Center announces Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman as Opening Night of the 57th New York Film Festival (September 27 – October 13), making its World Premiere at Alice Tully Hall on Friday, September 27, 2019. The Irishman will be released in select theaters and on Netflix later this year.

The Irishman is a richly textured epic of American crime, a dense, complex story told with astonishing fluidity. Based on Charles Brandt’s nonfiction book I Heard You Paint Houses, it is a film about friendship and loyalty between men who commit unspeakable acts and turn on a dime against each other, and the possibility of redemption in a world where it seems as distant as the moon. The roster of talent behind and in front of the camera is astonishing, and at the core of The Irishman are four great artists collectively hitting a new peak: Joe Pesci as Pennsylvania mob boss Russell Bufalino, Al Pacino as Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa, and Robert De Niro as their right-hand man, Frank Sheeran, each working in the closest harmony imaginable with the film’s incomparable creator, Martin Scorsese.

“The Irishman is so many things: rich, funny, troubling, entertaining and, like all great movies, absolutely singular,” said New York Film Festival Director and Selection Committee Chair Kent Jones. “It’s the work of masters, made with a command of the art of cinema that I’ve seen very rarely in my lifetime, and it plays out at a level of subtlety and human intimacy that truly stunned me. All I can say is that the minute it was over my immediate reaction was that I wanted to watch it all over again.”

“It’s an incredible honor that The Irishman has been selected as the Opening Night of the New York Film Festival. I greatly admire the bold and visionary selections that the festival presents to audiences year after year,” said Martin Scorsese. “The festival is critical to bringing awareness to cinema from around the world. I am grateful to have the opportunity to premiere my new picture in New York alongside my wonderful cast and crew.”

In terms of the Opening Night, this spot has recently become a bit of a launching pad for Oscar contenders, with over a half dozen Best Picture nominees in the lot over the prior 18 years. As proof, here is what the Opener of NYFF has looked like in the past:

2018 – The Favourite
2017 – Last Flag Flying
2016 – 13th
2015 – The Walk
2014 – Captain Phillips
2013 – Gone Girl
2012 – Life of Pi
2011 – Carnage
2010 – The Social Network
2009 – Wild Grass
2008 – The Class
2007 – The Darjeeling Limited
2006 – The Queen
2005 – Good Night, and Good Luck
2004 – Look at Me
2003 – Mystic River
2002 – About Schmidt
2001 – Va Savoir
2000 – Dancer in the Dark

This is just the first NYFF domino to fall. We still have two more high profile slots to be announced in the coming weeks. Then, it’ll just be a matter of waiting for the rest of the lineup to reveal itself. Still, the fest has kicked off things with a bang, putting in one of their biggest spots one of the year’s biggest titles. It’s no exaggeration to say that 2019 will, in part, be cinematically defined by Scorsese’s The Irishman. Sit tight for more on the festival and the movie itself, when we have it. In the meantime, this is something to be really excited about…

Stay tuned for much more on The Irishman and the rest of the slate for NYFF as it becomes known to us!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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