Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams star in literary adaptation

Todd Haynes is returning to the New York Film Festival for the fourth time in 20 years.

The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced Thursday the American auteur’s latest film, Wonderstruck, will screen as the Centerpiece selection at the festival’s upcoming 55th edition following an enthusiastic response from critics at Cannes pegged the film as an early Oscar contender in May.

Starring Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams, Millicent Simmonds, and Oakes Fegley, Wonderstruck — an adaptation of Selznick’s illustrated novel of the same name — follows two children, Rose (Simmonds) and Ben (Fegley) in two separate time periods as they run away from home in search of a performative idol (Moore) and a missing father, respectively.

“Todd Haynes and Brian Selznick have pulled off something truly remarkable here — a powerful evocation of childhood, with all of its mysteries and terrors and flights of imagination and longings; richly textured re-creations of Manhattan in the ’20s and the ’70s; and a magical and intricately plotted quest story that builds to a beautiful climax,” festival director and selection committee chair Kent Jones said of the film. “Wonderstruck is fun, emotionally potent, and . . . it’s a great New York movie.”

In a statement, Haynes added: “We’re so pleased and proud that Wonderstruck has been selected for the Centerpiece slot at this year’s New York Film Festival. There’s no more meaningful place or audience with which to share our film that is a tribute both to the history of New York City and to cinema.”

Haynes previous works to screen at the New York Film Festival include Velvet Goldmine (1998), I’m Not There (2007), and Carol (2015).

The New York Film Festival occupies an influential spot on the awards season trail, often hosting high profile screenings of films bound for Academy Award nominations in subsequent months. Last year’s Centerpiece selection, Mike Mills’ 20th Century Women, went on to garner a Best Original Screenplay nod, while 2015’s slot-holder, Steve Jobs, scored acting nominations for stars Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet.

In June, Richard Linklater’s latest film, Last Flag Flying, was revealed as the annual event’s opening night film.

The 2017 New York Film Festival runs from Sept. 28-Oct. 15.

Credit: Richard Serra; New York Film Festival
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