From a formal command of cinematic language to an unflinching look at all of humanity, there aren’t many directors like Steve McQueen working today (have you seen Widows? Ya gotta watch Widows). The award-winning director gets another feather in his cap thanks to the 2020 New York Film Festival. McQueen’s Lovers Rock will open the entire festival, and two other McQueen films from the Small Axe anthology series of which Lovers Rock originates will debut later in the festival.
McQueen will now join other luminous directors like Martin Scorsese, Ava DuVernay, and Quentin Tarantino who’ve seen their works open the NYFF. McQueen said this about the honor:
It’s an incredible honor and also very humbling to show three of my films at the New York Film Festival. It’s especially meaningful for me at this particular time to share these stories as a Black man of West Indian heritage. I’m grateful to the NYFF for their generosity and wish everyone a safe and healthy festival.
Lovers Rock stars Micheal Ward and Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn as young people who fall in love at a 1980s blues party. It’s just one feature-length film from the five-film Small Axe anthology set, all directed by McQueen, all set to stream on Amazon Prime sometime in the future. Two other Small Axe films will play the festival, including Mangrove, starring Letitia Wright and Shaun Parkes in the true story of Black activists in 1970s London; and Red, White and Blue, starring John Boyega and Steve Toussaint in the true story of a young man whose father was assaulted by police, so he decides to join and reform from within.
The 2020 New York Film Festival will be produced in accordance with health guidelines of the state, given that, y’know, we’re in a dang pandemic. There will be outdoor and virtual screenings, with indoor screenings only allowed if state and country health guidelines permit them. The rest of the festival lineup will be released “in the coming weeks,” says Eugene Hernandez, Director of the New York Film Festival. But for all Widows stans (seriously, watch Widows), be thankful we have new McQueen coming soon.
The 2020 New York Film Festival begins September 25 with McQueen’s Lovers Rock. For more on McQueen, check out what would’ve been the 2020 Cannes lineup.