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New York Film Festival Adds ‘Real’ to 2013 Main Slate

Kiyoshi Kurasawa's film bring the NYFF tally to 36; is the main slate getting bigger?

Is the new topper of the New York Film Festival loosening up the famously tight constraints of the fest’s main slate?

That’s the question spurred by the addition of one more film, Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s “Real,” to the lineup, bringing the slate up to a total of 36 films.

It’s a big number for the fest, which over its 50-year history has earned a reputation for its rigorously curated, often challenging lineup of international fare and prestige studio pics. In the past, the main slate has traditionally come in at around 28 or 30 films.

The 2013 edition of NYFF is the first under the leadership of Kent Jones, who took the reins as director of programming and selection committee chair this year following the exit of longtime topper Richard Pena. Observers are keeping a close eye on Jones’ programming choices in this first year, in order to glean hints as to how his taste and aesthetic will steer the fest into its next 50 years.

In addition to including a larger than usual number of films, the 2013 main slate also stands out for its a notably robust list of comedies. Those comic titles — such as Ben Stiller’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” Spike Jonze’s “Her” and Declan Lowney’s “Alan Partridge” — made the slate alongside the more traditional roster of faves drawn from the international fest circuit (such as Abdellatif Kechiche’s “Blue is the Warmest Color”) and awards-targeted studio pics (like Paul Greengrass’ “Captain Phillips”).

Real,” about a manga artist (Haruka Ayase) in a coma and her husband’s (Takeru Sato) attempt to wake her by entering her subconscious via an experimental medical procedure, has already been released in Japan and also screened at Locarno. Next month it’ll have a slot in the Toronto Intl. Film Festival.

The 51st annual New York Film Festival runs Sept. 27-Oct. 13.

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