September 5, 2008 / 10:19 PM / 10 years ago

French film to open 46th New York Film Festival

NEW YORK, Sept 5 (Reuters Life!) - A French film about a teacher working in a tough school in Paris will open the 46th New York Film Festival, which will feature 28 films from about 17 countries, organizers said on Friday.

French director Laurent Cantet smiles after he received the Palme d'Or award for the film "Entre les Murs (The Class)" during the award ceremony at the 61st Cannes Film Festival May 25, 2008. REUTERS/John Schults

“The Class” by director Laurent Cantet, which is based on an autobiographical book, won the prestigious Palme d’Or at the Cannes International Film Festival.

Unlike other film festivals, the NYFF, which runs from September 26 to October 12, is not a competition. No awards are given. A committee of five critics and journalists picked the films it felt represented the best of world cinema this year.

“This is very different from other mega-festivals with world premieres looking to sell movies with movie stars in attendance,” said Jeanne Berney, the director of public relations for the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

“Every film that is in is a winner in our book. This is a festival of festivals.”

Clint Eastwood’s “Changeling” is the festival’s “Centerpiece” film this year. It is a drama starring Angelina Jolie as a single mother in 1928 Los Angeles and John Malkovich as a community activist.

Other films include “The Wrestler,” by New York director Darren Aronofsky, which stars tough guy actor Mickey Rourke as an over-the-hill professional grappler.

The committee began reviewing possible selections in May and screened an estimated 1,800 films to pick the 28 featured in this year’s festival, Berney said.

“It is a state of cinema — these are the best movies, in our opinion,” she added.

France has four films and eight multinational productions in the festival. U.S. films account for only five of the selections, down from eight last year, after the Hollywood writer’s strike delayed the release of numerous productions.

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