New York Film Festival Highlights

So much of the media coverage of the New York Film Festival, which has reached its midpoint, involves the high-profile releases: “Captain Phillips,” “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” “12 Years A Slave.” But I have to confess that I’ve been concentrating much more on seeing the less commercial fare. It’s been a mixed bag. “About Time,” Richard Curtis’s latest Brit-com in the wake of “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and “Notting Hill,” isn’t exactly small in budget but it’s certainly small in effect: a time-travel story that results in one of the more sappier rom-coms in recent years. “The Last of the Unjust” is the latest bloated Holocaust epic from Claude “Shoah” Lanzmann. This one centers on Benjamin Murmelstein, the last Jewish elder of Theresienstadt. Then there’s “Stranger by the Lake,” Alain Guiraudie’s sinister study of a gay cruising ground; the film’s extensive nudity is ostentatiously matter-of-fact. But the picture has something. So does “Gloria,” an off-beat, amusing, sad movie from Chile about a middle-aged woman who finds an odd romance with an older partner. Paulina Garcia gives a memorable performance as the title character.

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