Almodovar and Egoyan frame Gotham film fest

Larger than usual crowds expected due to protesters

NEW YORK — The 37th annual New York Film Festival kicks off Sept. 24 with Pedro Almodovar’s autobiographical “All About My Mother” and concludes Oct. 10 with Canadian helmer Atom Egoyan’s adaptation of William Trevor’s novel “Felicia’s Journey.”

Gotham cineasts should prepare for what will likely be larger than usual crowds at Alice Tully hall this year, with groups like the Catholic League on hand to protest the inclusion of such hot-button pressers as Kevin Smith’s religious satire “Dogma,” Harmony Korine’s “Julien Donkey-Boy” and Leos Carax’s “Pola X,” which raised hackles when it preemed this year at Cannes.

Among the high-profile pics at the fest are Mike Leigh’s period piece “Topsy Turvy,” which will be the fest’s centerpiece film; musicvideo savant Spike Jonze’s marionette-filled comedy “Being John Malkovich”; Jane Campion’s “Holy Smoke”; and the Dardenne brothers’ Palme d’Or-winner, “Rosetta.”

As in the past, this year’s NYFF will be a platform for new French films, with the present crop including Claire Denis’ “La Beau Travail,” Manuel de Olivera’s “La Lettre” (The Letter), Raul Ruiz’s “Time Regained” and Jean-Luis Straub and Danielle Huillet’s “Sicilia!”

The NYFF’s retrospective pic is a restored version of Brit helmer Michael Powell’s 1937 “The Edge of the World.” Other special events include screenings of Japan’s box office monster “Princess Mononoke,” Emir Kusturica’s six-hour 1995 television film “Underground” and Paul Leni’s 1928 silent “The Man Who Laughs,” accompanied by live organ music.

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