At Eternity's Gate Gets Another Major Festival Berth Closing NYFF 2018

The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced the closing film for the 2018 New York Film Festival and it’s none other than Julian Schnabel’s “At Eternity’s Gate.”  Listed as a North American premiere, the screening at NYFF will be the second for the Vincent Van Gogh drama after its world premiere at the 2018 Venice Film Festival a month earlier.

READ MORE: What TIFF’s 2018 slate tells us about the upcoming Oscar season

“Eternity’s Gate” stars Willem Dafoe as the fabled Dutch artist and the festival hypes Schnabel, co-writer’s Jean-Claude Carrière and Louise Kugelberg (also the film’s editor) and cinematographer Benoît Delhomme‘s collaboration as stripping “everything down to essentials, fusing the sensual, the emotional, and the spiritual.” It also refers to Dafoe’s performance as “shattering” which will no doubt get many excited about his potential awards prospects this Oscar season. Dafoe was just nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role in “The Florida Project.”

In a statement released by FSLC, Schnabel remarked, “I would like to say thank you to Kent Jones and the NYFF selection committee on behalf of Willem Dafoe, who is Vincent van Gogh in the film, and the cast and crew, who I have been so privileged to work with, for choosing ‘At Eternity’s Gate’ for Closing Night. It is a profound honor to be included with the other films and to be part of the history of Closing Night films that came before us. Looking forward to sitting in the audience with everybody.”

New York Film Festival Director and Selection Committee Chair Kent Jones added in the release, “‘At Eternity’s Gate’ is such a surprising film, for all kinds of reasons. Julian Schnabel makes use of the most up-to-date information about Vincent van Gogh, altering our accepted ideas of how he lived and died; he grounds the film in the very action of painting, the intense contact between an artist and the world of forms and textures colored by light; and he gives us Willem Dafoe’s performance as Vincent—acting this pure is endlessly surprising.”

Set for release in the U.S. by CBS Films in November, “Eternity’s Gate” also features Oscar Isaac playing celebrated painter Paul Gauguin, Rupert Friend as Theo, Mathieu Amalric as Dr. Gachet, and Mads Mikkelsen as The Priest.

A celebrated painter himself, the film is Schnabel’s first narrative work since “Miral” in 2010. He’s best known cinematically for 2007’s “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” 2000’s “Before Night Falls” and, his first feature, 1996’s “Basquiat.” He earned an Academy Award and DGA nomination for Best Director for “Diving Bell.” He also won the Best Director prize at both Cannes and at the Golden Globes.

There was some thought that CBS Films might bring “At Eternity’s Gate” to Telluride and/or TIFF after Venice, but it appears they have opted for the prestige of an NYFF gala instead.

Notably, this is the third major gala for NYFF that is not a world premiere. Yorgos Lanthimos’s “The Favourite” will open the film after debuting at Venice. The centerpiece gala, Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma,” will also debut on the Lido.  Last year Richard Linklater’s “Last Flag Flying” opened the festival while Woody Allen’s “Wonder Wheel” closed.  In 2016, Ava DuVernay’s “13th” opened, Mike Mills’ “20th Century Women” was the centerpiece and James Gray’s “Lost City of Z” closed the fest.  It’s been some time since the festival didn’t feature one notable premiere, but there’s still time as FSLC unveil’s the full slate in the weeks to come.

“At Eternity’s Gate” will close the 2018 New York Film Festival on Friday, Oct. 12. The NYFF runs from Sept. 28-Oct. 14.