The film is expected to be a major Oscar contender given that Lee has scored two previous Academy Awards for “Brokeback Mountain” and “Life of Pi,” and the film grapples with such weighty topics as war and the home front. But it’s also drawing attention because of its technological innovations. “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” is the first full-length narrative film shot in 4K and native 3D at an accelerated rate of 120 frames-per-second. The idea is that the image will be crisper and more life-like. In an interview with Variety last April, Lee said he was eager to push the limits of cinema.
“Our head is still in the film world,” he said. “Not to put down film in the past, because it’s brilliant, I love it. But if we do digital, we ought to do something different, it shouldn’t be imitating something else.”
TriStar Pictures and Studio 8 backed the film in association with LStar Capital, Film4, Bona Film Group, and Fosun Media. The film is adapted from Ben Fountain’s novel of the same name. It follows an Iraq war hero (newcomer Joe Alwyn) who embarks on a victory tour with his squad that includes a halftime show at a Thanksgiving Day football game. The cast includes Kristen Stewart, Chris Tucker, Garrett Hedlund, Vin Diesel, and Steve Martin.
“Ang Lee has always gone deep into the nuances of the emotions between his characters, and that’s exactly what drove him to push cinema technology to new levels,” said New York Film Festival Director Kent Jones in a statement. “It’s all about the faces, the smallest emotional shifts. In every way, ‘Billy Lynn’ is the work of a master.”
Lee has been a staple of the festival, showing the likes of “Life of Pi,” “The Ice Storm,” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” at previous gatherings. Other films that will screen this year include Mike Mills’ “20th Century Women” and James Gray’s “The Lost City of Z.”