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Adam Woodward

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Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman to open the 57th New York Film Festival

The legendary director’s long-gestating mob epic will finally be unveiled 27 September.

After months of speculation, the New York Film Festival today announced that its forthcoming 57th edition will kick off with the world premiere of Martin Scorsese’s star-packed crime epic The Irishman.

This continues a long-running tradition of the revered American auteur unveiling new work at his home film festival, presumably after declining invitations from other more prestigious autumn festivals, such as Venice and Toronto. It’s certainly a big coup for the NYFF – anticipation for the film couldn’t be higher, with both the writer/director and Netflix remaining tight-lipped over the plot.

What we do know is that The Irishman reunites sometime Scorsese regulars Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel, the former playing notorious labour union official and mob hitman Frank Sheeran, who is widely believed to have been the man responsible for the murder of union boss Jimmy Hoffa (played by Al Pacino).

It’s one of the grisliest and most intriguing unsolved true crime cases in American history, and the prospect of a filmmaker of Scorsese’s stature taking it on is tantalising to say the least. Added to that, the screenplay has been adapted from the acclaimed nonfiction book ‘I Heard You Paint Houses’ by Charles Brandt, who also wrote Donnie Brasco.

On selecting the film for the festival’s coveted opening night slot, New York Film Festival Director and Selection Committee Chair Kent Jones had this to say: “The Irishman is so many things: rich, funny, troubling, entertaining and, like all great movies, absolutely singular. 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.”

The Irishman is set for release later this year via Netflix.

The 57th New York Film Festival runs 27 September to 13 October. For more info visit filmlinc.org

Published 29 Jul 2019

Tags: Al Pacino Harvey Keitel Joe Pesci Martin Scorsese Netflix NYFF Robert De Niro

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