The fall festival slate continues to take shape will another addition to the 58th New York Film Festival. Following the world premieres of three Steve McQueen films, as well as Nomadland, the final gala slot of the fest has been announced: Azazel Jacobs’s French Exit, starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Lucas Hedges, will world premiere as the Closing Night selection. The Patrick deWitt adaptation marks Jacobs’ follow-up to The Lovers and finds him reuniting with Tracy Letts, who is in a voice-only role here. Check out a new synopsis from Film at Lincoln Center:
In the film, Michelle Pfeiffer is entirely bewitching as Frances Price, an imperious, widowed New York socialite whose once-extreme wealth has dwindled down to a nub. Facing insolvency, she makes the decision to escape the city by cruise ship and relocate to her friend’s empty Paris apartment with her dyspeptic son, Malcolm (Lucas Hedges), and their mercurial cat, Small Frank (voiced by Tracy Letts). There, Frances and Malcolm reckon with their pasts and plan for an impossible future, all while their social circle expands in unexpected and increasingly absurdist ways. This adaptation of the best-selling novel by Patrick deWitt is a rare American film of genuine eccentricity, elegantly directed by Azazel Jacobs (The Lovers), and featuring a brilliant performance of stylish severity by Pfeiffer, whose every intonation is a wonder to behold. A Sony Pictures Classics release.
“We’ve been watching New York filmmaker Azazel Jacobs for more than a decade, since his film Momma’s Man screened in our New Directors/New Films festival in 2008,” said New York Film Festival Director Eugene Hernandez. “Now, we’re honored that he’ll make his NYFF debut with Closing Night selection French Exit, a tour-de-force collaboration with Michelle Pfeiffer that we can’t wait to share with audiences in NYC and beyond.”
“Jacobs is one of the most distinctive voices in American cinema, and it’s a thrill to see him working with new registers and tones in his most ambitious film yet,” said Dennis Lim, New York Film Festival Director of Programming. “It’s rare to encounter a film so wholly surprising. Moment to moment, French Exit is a destabilizing delight, as strange and dark as it is playful, thanks in no small part to Michelle Pfeiffer’s career-best performance.”
“NYFF is the film festival I grew up attending,” said Jacobs. “I remember seeing Night On Earth for the first time, and waiting afterwards to hand Jim Jarmusch a fan letter. I remember that same year seeing Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho and having my aim to become a filmmaker only more solidified. I’m grateful to the NYFF for allowing French Exit to premiere in the city I was raised in, and love, and to all who are undoubtedly working tirelessly to make this event happen.”
The 58th New York Film Festival will kick off this September with outdoor screenings at the Queens Drive-In at Flushing Meadows Corona Park and the Brooklyn Drive-In at The Brooklyn Army Terminal as well as virtual screenings.
Sony Pictures Classics plans to release French Exit later this year.