Woody Allen’s ‘Wonder Wheel’ Makes World Premiere at the 55th New York Film Festival

The Film Society of Lincoln Center just announced that Woody Allen’s “Wonder Wheel” will make its world premiere at Alice Tully Hall as the Closing Night selection of the 55th New York Film Festival (September 28 – October 15) on Saturday, October 14. Amazon Studios will release “Wonder Wheel” on December 1, 2017, the first film the studio will distribute independently.


Allen’s new film is a period piece set in 1950’s Coney Island. According to the FSLC press release, Justin Timberlake plays a lifeguard (Justin Timberlake) who tells us the story of the film filtered through his vivid imagination. The other cast of characters includes a middle-aged carousel operator (James Belushi) and his beleaguered wife (Kate Winslet), who eke out a living on the boardwalk, and who are visited by his estranged daughter (Juno Temple), which brings another layer of complications into their lives.


New York Film Festival Director and Selection Committee Chair Kent Jones said, “I’m not quite sure what I expected when I sat down to watch Wonder Wheel, but when the lights came up I was speechless. There are elements in the film that will certainly be familiar to anyone who knows Woody Allen’s work, but here he holds them up to a completely new light. I mean that literally and figuratively, because Allen and Vittorio Storaro use light and color in a way that is stunning in and of itself but also integral to the mounting emotional power of the film. And at the center of it all is Kate Winslet’s absolutely remarkable performance—precious few actors are that talented, or fearless.”


The New York Film Festival has showcased Allen’s work on two other occasions: Bullets Over Broadway was Centerpiece of NYFF32 in 1994 and Celebrity was Opening Night of NYFF36 in 1998.


The 18-day New York Film Festival highlights the best in world cinema, featuring works from celebrated filmmakers as well as fresh new talent. The selection committee, chaired by Jones, also includes Dennis Lim, FSLC Director of Programming; Florence Almozini, FSLC Associate Director of Programming; and Amy Taubin, Contributing Editor, Film Comment and Sight & Sound.
Earlier this summer, NYFF announced Richard Linklater’s Last Flag Flying as Opening Night and Todd Haynes’s Wonderstruck as the Centerpiece selection. The retrospective section honors Robert Mitchum’s centenary.


Tickets for the 55th New York Film Festival will go on sale September 10. VIP passes and packages are on sale now and offer one of the earliest opportunities to purchase tickets and secure seats at some of the festival’s biggest events, including the just-announced Closing Night. Learn more at filmlinc.org/packages.


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