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‘Mystic River’ to open N.Y. Film Fest

Host of stars turn up in psychological drama

Clint Eastwood’s “Mystic River,” starring Sean Penn, Tim Robbins and Kevin Bacon, has been chosen as the opening-night film of the 41st New York Film Festival. It will unspool Oct. 3, ahead of the drama’s Oct. 10 release through Warner Bros.

Premiered in competition at Cannes last month to positive critical reaction, the complex psychological drama centers on the fallout in a Boston working-class Irish neighborhood from the murder of a young woman and from a traumatic childhood incident with lasting repercussions.

Produced by Robert Lorenz, Judie G. Hoyt and Eastwood, pic was adapted by Brian Helgeland from Dennis Lehane’s bestselling novel. Laurence Fishburne, Marcia Gay Harden and Laura Linney also star in the Malpaso production, which will kick off the NYFF in its North American premiere at Avery Fisher Hall.

The selection marks Eastwood’s return to the NYFF, where he screened jazz biopic “Bird” in 1988. The actor-director was honored in 1996 with a career achievement award gala at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, which organizes the fest.

“I have a longstanding relationship with the Film Society of Lincoln Center, which makes such an important contribution to film both at their wonderful festival and in their year-round programs,” Eastwood said. “It is a special kick for me to have ‘Mystic River’ debut in New York’s premier showcase for American independent and international films.”

“Clint Eastwood is one of cinema’s true masters, and ‘Mystic River’ will surely be seen as one of his greatest works,” said Richard Pena, chairman of the NYFF selection committee and program director for the Film Society. “It’s always an honor and a pleasure to welcome him back to the festival.”

Sponsored for the eighth consecutive year by Grand Marnier, the NYFF runs Oct. 3-19. The complete slate of films for the event will be announced in late August.

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