French Exit, which stars Michelle Pfieffer and Lucas Hedges and has Tracy Letts voicing a cat named Small Frank, will have its world premiere as the closing night entry in this fall’s New York Film Festival.
Film at Lincoln Center hasn’t set final details for the 58th annual edition of the festival, which runs September 25 to October 11. The organization has announced Steve McQueen’s Lovers Rock and Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland as opening night and centerpiece selections, respectively. Festival officials say the event will “focus on outdoor and virtual screenings, as directed by state and health officials.”
Azazel Jacobs, known for films like The Lovers and Momma’s Man, directed French Exit.
Pfeiffer plays a widowed New York socialite, Frances Price, whose vast fortune has shrunk to nearly nothing. Facing insolvency, she boards a cruise ship and relocates to her friend’s empty Paris apartment with her son, Malcolm (played by Hedges) and their cat, Small Frank.
The Sony Classics release is adaptated from the novel by Patrick deWitt.
“We’ve been watching New York filmmaker Azazel Jacobs for more than a decade, since his film Momma’s Man screened in our New Directors/New Films festival in 2008,” NYFF Director Eugene Hernandez said. “Now, we’re honored that he’ll make his NYFF debut with Closing Night selection French Exit, a tour-de-force collaboration with Michelle Pfeiffer that we can’t wait to share with audiences in NYC and beyond.”
Dennis Lim, the festival’s programming director, called Jacobs “one of the most distinctive voices in American cinema, and it’s a thrill to see him working with new registers and tones in his most ambitious film yet.” He added, “It’s rare to encounter a film so wholly surprising. Moment to moment, French Exit is a destabilizing delight, as strange and dark as it is playful, thanks in no small part to Michelle Pfeiffer’s career-best performance.”
Jacobs said he “grew up” attending NYFF. “I remember seeing Night On Earth for the first time, and waiting afterwards to hand Jim Jarmusch a fan letter,” he said. “I remember that same year seeing Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho and having my aim to become a filmmaker only more solidified. I’m grateful to the NYFF for allowing French Exit to premiere in the city I was raised in, and love, and to all who are undoubtedly working tirelessly to make this event happen.”
The NYFF Main Slate selection committee, chaired by Lim, also includes Hernandez, Florence Almozini, K. Austin Collins, and Rachel Rosen.