from the NY Daily News

Get a head start on indie film picks

Friday, March 28th 2008, 4:00 AM


The surest sign of spring among movie lovers is the annual arrival of the New Directors/New Films series. An ideal event for trend-spotters, this collaboration between the Museum of Modern Art and Lincoln Center has offered New Yorkers their first opportunity to see such indies as “Once,” Half Nelson” and “Junebug” – and that’s only in recent years. In the past, audiences have uncovered early works by Kevin SmithSpike Lee and even Steven Spielberg.

We’re not promising that you’ll stumble across the next Pedro Almodóvar (another ND/NF find), but several of this year’s 26 features are destined for discovery. Some will become art-house faves, and at least one movie a year is usually honored by Oscar.

Many have already proven themselves at other festivals. “Trouble the Water” won a Grand Jury Prize at Sundance this year, for its moving portrayal of New Orleans residents trying to recover after Hurricane Katrina. The South is also the setting for “Ballast,” the visually striking story of an estranged family stung by tragedy (and another Sundance prizewinner).

As always, foreign filmmakers have a strong presence on the program. “Jellyfish,” about several disparate women in Tel Aviv, was nominated for 10 Israeli Academy Awards. The Korean horror movie “Epitaph,” which is set in a haunted hospital, has been a solid success at home. And French audiences have embraced “La France,” a World War I drama layered with surprising musical moments.

For local flavor, consider “Momma’s Man,” about a married slacker who avoids responsibility by holing up in his parents’ Manhattan loft. And in the compelling documentary “Moving Midway,” New York film critic Godfrey Cheshire heads back home to explore the complex history of his family’s North Carolina plantation.

There are other movies worth watching out for, too, including the Mexican thrillers “La Zona” and “Sleep Dealer.” And if you want to be among the first to see the French coming-of-age tale “Water Lilies,” you’ll have to move fast; it opens in theaters next week.

Screenings will be held at MoMA and Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater. Schedules, tickets and directions can be found at .

What else do you want to see on the big screen? Let us know 

[ click to read article at the NY Daily News  ]