The Highs and Lows of Moviegoing in NYC

New York City is possibly the greatest place on Earth if you want to have access to all kinds of movies, whether they’re big-budget or independent, American or world cinema. As a member of the Museum of the Moving Image, I get to go to their numerous wonderful screenings for free, and a ticket to a movie at the Museum of Modern Art is free with my City University ID.

The downside, however, is trying to go to Lincoln Center’s annual New York Film Festival.

Tickets for NYFF go on sale to members weeks before they go on sale to the public, which is today, September 8, at noon. It took me 58 minutes of waiting in a “virtual waiting room” for my chance to get a ticket. Most of the really “big” movies (About Time, All Is Lost, Blue Is the Warmest Color, Her, The Immigrant, Inside Llewyn Davis, Only Lovers Left Alive, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, 12 Years a Slave) were already completely sold out, even if they have multiple screenings. Luckily I was able to snag a ticket for the Catherine Breillat film Abuse of Weakness, starring Isabelle Huppert, based on Breillat’s own experience as a stroke victim in 2004.

My main reason for trying to get a ticket is because my film class’s professor says it’s mandatory for his students to see something new at NYFF and then write a review. It’s just unfortunate that it’s so difficult to do so. The annoying online process was my best option, unless I want to show up to some already sold-out movie on the day of the event and wait in a stand-by line for the chance that I might get a seat. No thank you.

I’m glad I’ve got a ticket. Let’s hope it’s a good movie. Cross your fingers and wish me luck that Orchestra Row H21 won’t place me directly behind someone who’s tall. That won’t work for someone who’s 4′ 11″, especially at a film with subtitles. I don’t want a repeat of what happened at the Film Forum with Amour, where I could hardly see any subtitles and only the left half of the screen was visible. Yikes.

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