Jane Campion’s ‘The Power of the Dog’ Tapped as New York Film Festival Centerpiece Selection

Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog” has been tapped as the centerpiece selection for the 59th New York Film Festival.

The film stars Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, and Benedict Cumberbatch and will be released by Netflix. The streamer has awards ambitions for the Western, a historical drama that unfolds on a Montana cattle ranch in the 1920s. It was recently selected to screen at this year’s Venice Film Festival.

“The Power of the Dog” will have its New York premiere at Alice Tully Hall on Oct. 1. Last week, Film at Lincoln Center, the group behind the annual celebration of moviemaking, announced that this year’s festival will take place in-person. The 2020 edition was a digital affair due to COVID-19. Film at Lincoln Center also announced that Joel Coen’s “The Tragedy of Macbeth,” a black-and-white adaptation of William Shakespeare’s play, has been selected as the festival’s opening night film.

“The Power of the Dog” is adapted from a 1967 cult novel by Thomas Savage and follows a melancholy young widow (Dunst) who has moved to a remote section of Montana to live with her sensitive new husband, George (Plemons). Their lives are increasingly complicated by the erratic behavior of George’s brother, Phil (Cumberbatch), whose mistrust of both Rose and her misfit son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) leads to tragic consequences.

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“I am very honored that ‘The Power of the Dog’ has been selected as the centerpiece gala at this year’s New York Film Festival,” said Campion. “Public screenings we long took for granted feel exceptional now, so it is going to be a very emotional and joyous experience for me and my team to be there and present the film to such a film-celebrating audience.”

Four of Campion’s previous films, a group that includes “Sweetie” (1989), “An Angel at My Table” (1990), “The Piano” (1993), and “Holy Smoke” (1999) have been official selections of the New York Film Festival.

“We couldn’t be happier to welcome Jane Campion back to the festival with one of her very best films,” said Dennis Lim, the festival’s director of programming. “Everything about ‘The Power of the Dog’ is alive with surprise: its narrative turns, its rich characterizations, its complex ideas about masculinity and repression. It will introduce many to the work of the under-appreciated novelist Thomas Savage, but it also reminds us of what cinema can do as a medium for accessing and expressing inner life.”

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