Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

`New Directors/New Films' at Lincoln Center

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

`New Directors/New Films' at Lincoln Center

Article excerpt

FOR more than two decades, the annual "New Directors/New Films" festival has been introducing art-film hits like "My Life as a Dog" and major filmmakers like Spike Lee to their first American audiences. For the 1993 edition, "ND/NF" presents a movie made not with a camera but with a toy - a Pixel, made by Fisher-Price (although they're no longer on the market).

"Another Girl, Another Planet" is written and directed by Michael Almereyda, who cites "giddy desperation" as his main reason for using Fisher-Price technology. It's the comic story of a young man who courts women with an old cartoon in his walk-up apartment. It shares a bill with "A Night in Versailles" by French filmmaker Bruno Podalydes.

"Another Girl, Another Planet" may be unusual in its technology, but in another respect it's quite characteristic of this year's ND/NF lineup. Like many films on the program, it is an independent American production made by an emerging artist outside the network of big-studio money and influence.

"Many of our strongest films are American independents," says Laurence Kardish, one of the festival's programmers. This continues a trend that was clearly in evidence last year, when such talked-about American "indies" as "Laws of Gravity" and "Swoon" dominated the ND/NF slate.

Another trend is the ability of clever independent filmmakers to circumvent problems caused by limited resources. "In many cases the films appear rough-hewn," Mr. Kardish says, "but this is one of their virtues. Economy becomes part of their aesthetic."

American entries on the ND/NF program include "The Music of Chance," the first fiction film by Philip Haas, starring Mandy Patinkin and James Spader as a drifter and a gambler who get involved with millionaires; and "Vermont Is for Lovers," directed by John O'Brien and focusing on two New Yorkers who decide to get married on a not-so-peaceful Vermont farm.

"The Genius," directed by avant-gardists Joe Gibbons and Emily Breer, features performance artist Karen Finley in a satire of the art world. …

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