“‘The Irishman’ is so many things: rich, funny, troubling, entertaining and, like all great movies, absolutely singular,” said NYFF festival director Kent Jones, who previously worked for Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation, in a statement. “It’s the work of masters, made with a command of the art of cinema that I’ve seen very rarely in my lifetime, and it plays out at a level of subtlety and human intimacy that truly stunned me. All I can say is that the minute it was over my immediate reaction was that I wanted to watch it all over again.”
Scorsese said of the announcement, “It’s an incredible honor that ‘The Irishman’ has been selected as the Opening Night of the New York Film Festival. I greatly admire the bold and visionary selections that the festival presents to audiences year after year. The festival is critical to bringing awareness to cinema from around the world. I am grateful to have the opportunity to premiere my new picture in New York alongside my wonderful cast and crew.”
The mob drama stars Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, and is due to be released on Netflix and in select theaters later this year. Based on the nonfiction book I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt, with an adapted screenplay penned by Steven Zaillian (Schindler’s List, Gangs of New York, Moneyball), the film uses state-of-the-art anti-aging digital effects to depict De Niro, Pacino and Pesci’s characters as up to 30 years younger.
The last time a Scorsese film was screened at the New York Film Festival was in 2011, when a work-in-progress version of Hugo premiered as a special surprise for guests.
Festival, VIP and special event passes for this year’s NYFF, including the screening of The Irishman, are on sale now; other individual screening tickets go on sale to the general public on September 8th. The festival runs September 27th through October 13th.