10 Must-See Movies at This Year’s New York Film Festival

Our mini-reviews of 'Her Smell,' 'The Other Side of the Wind,' 'Wildlife,' and more of this year's NYFF slate.

The 56th annual New York Film Festival kicks off tomorrow night at Lincoln Center with a big, splashy opening night screening of The Favourite, the new laugh riot from Yorgos Lanthimos. Over the two-plus weeks that follow, festival-goers will sample a selection of some of the most invigorating foreign, independent, and documentary titles of the year — everything from to-the-minute docs to the 40-years-in-the-making final film by the legendary Orson Welles. In fact, let’s start our preview there…

The Other Side of the Wind

The fabled, long-incomplete final feature film by Orson Welles spends far too much of its opening explaining itself, with a scrolling text of its history followed by a redundant and shabbily assembled opening sequence, with a new in-character voice-over by Peter Bogdanovich pasting together images from the movie — basically, an illustration of the worst fears of what this posthumous paste job could be. Thankfully, that’s all over quickly; the film itself is fascinating snapshot of the filmmaker in his twilight, full of arresting images and sharp subtext (particularly vis-a-vis his complicated relationship with Bogdanovich, a pupil who quickly surpassed his teacher in power and influence). It helps to know the movie’s wild background and the filmmaker’s late style, since it is often a messy and uneven piece of work. But then again, pretty much everything he made after Touch of Evil was, those Scotch-tape jobs rendered vital by their flashes of brilliance. And there are plenty of those in The Other Side of the Wind.