Noah Baumbach’s ‘White Noise’ to Open New York Film Festival

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Noah Baumbach’s black comedy “White Noise” will make its North American debut as the opening night film of the 60th New York Film Festival.

Adapted from Don DeLillo’s 1985 novel, “White Noise” centers on Adam Driver’s character Jack Gladney, an ostentatious professor of Hitler studies and a father of four. His comfortable suburban college-town life and marriage to Babette (Greta Gerwig) is upended after a horrifying accident nearby creates an airborne toxic event of frightening and unknowable proportions.

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In a press release, New York Film Festival leaders described the film as “gratifyingly ambitious” and noted the story was long perceived as unfilmable. “In a tightrope walk of comedy and horror, Baumbach captures the essence of DeLillo’s cacophonous pop-philosophical nightmare on unbounded consumerism, ecological catastrophe and the American obsession with death. Impeccably matching DeLillo’s and Baumbach’s similarly percussive form of stylized dialogue, ‘White Noise’ is wonderfully abrasive and awe-inspiring, a precisely mounted period piece entirely befitting our modern, through-the-looking-glass pandemic reality,” the announcement says.

“White Noise” will premiere at Alice Tully Hall on Sept. 30. Prior to landing on North American soil, the movie will world premiere in competition at Venice Film Festival a month earlier on Aug. 31. Netflix is releasing the film later in 2022.

“In 1985 my father and I drove from Brooklyn to see Kurosawa’s ‘Ran’ open the 23rd NYFF, the same year that he brought home the hardback of Don DeLillo’s ‘White Noise,’” said Baumbach. “Opening the 60th NYFF with ‘White Noise’ is truly special for me. This festival was part of my film education and has been a home for me and many of my movies over the years. I couldn’t be more excited and honored to return.”

Eugene Hernandez, executive director of the New York Film Festival, praised “White Noise” as “ambitious, funny, and resonant.”

“Opening the 60th edition of the New York Film Festival with Noah Baumbach’s ambitious, funny, and resonant ‘White Noise’ underscores this festival’s history of introducing new filmmakers to New York audiences. A regular attendee of the festival as a kid, Noah Baumbach saw his indie filmmaking career take off after debuting ‘Kicking and Screaming’ at NYFF in 1995,” said Hernandez. “‘White Noise’ will usher in a 60th NYFF selection of films by established directors and vibrant new voices; we’re looking forward to sharing the communal experience of cinema with audiences at Lincoln Center and in other parts of the city this fall! Stay tuned!”

Dennis Lim, artistic director of New York Film Festival, called the film “morbidly funny.”

“Noah Baumbach’s adaptation of ‘White Noise’ is an unequivocal triumph: a wildly entertaining and morbidly funny meditation on the way we live now that is also the director’s most ambitious and expansive film,” said Lim. “Aided by a brilliant cast led by Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig, Baumbach has not only captured the essence of Don DeLillo’s beloved, era-defining book — he has turned it into a movie that speaks profoundly to our moment.”

Baumbach has long maintained a presence at New York Film Festival, where he has premiered “Kicking and Screaming,” “The Squid and the Whale,” “Margot at the Wedding,” “Frances Ha,” “The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)” and “Marriage Story.” At the 52nd NYFF, there was a secret screening of “While We’re Young,” and at the 53rd, there was a special event tied to “De Palma,” which Baumbach co-directed with Jake Paltrow.

Recent NYFF opening night films have included Joel Coen’s “The Tragedy of Macbeth,” Steve McQueen’s “Lovers Rock,” Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” and Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Favourite.”

The 60th New York Film Festival will take place Sept. 30 – Oct. 16 and is presented by Film at Lincoln Center. Masks will be required for all staff, audiences and filmmakers at all times in public spaces. Proof of full vaccination is not required for NYFF60 audiences, but festival organizers say full vaccination is strongly recommended.

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