In announcing opening and closing night films for AFI FEST 2012, festival directors chose to celebrate Hollywood and its award-winning, master filmmakers, Alfred Hitchcock and Steven Spielberg.
The Opening Night Gala on November 1 is the world premiere of “Hitchcock.” Directed by Sacha Gervasi (writer, “The Terminal”) and starring Anthony Hopkins as Hitchcock, Helen Mirren as wife Alma Reville, Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh, Jessica Biel as Vera Miles and James D’Arcy as Anthony Perkins, “Hitchcock” is based on the book “Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of ‘Psycho,'” by Stephen Rebello.
“Hitchcock” is the perfect film to open AFI FEST 2012 presented by Audi. After all, one of the most beloved and influential filmmakers of cinema, Hitchcock is known for his excellent suspense thrillers, gallows humor, as well as breathtaking shot compositions. Hitchcock created detailed storyboards for all of his films.
Then there is his popularity. Not only did Hitchcock receive the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1979, four of his films rank among AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Movies list of the greatest films. Those movies are: “North By Northwest” (#55), “Rear Window” (#48), “Psycho” (#14) and “Vertigo” (#9).
Beyond the film world, Hitchcock still trends in other media as well. Just announced is an upcoming television series for A&E based on Hitchcock’s best-known work, “Psycho.” The series is “Bates Motel” and depicts the lives of Norman Bates, his infamous mother, and the mysterious events that occur at the Bates Motel.
Switching gears to closing night is the World Premiere of “Lincoln,” which closes AFI FEST 2012 on November 8. Directed by another Hollywood icon and 1995 AFI Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, Steven Spielberg, the film stars Daniel Day Lewis as President Abraham Lincoln, along with Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, David Strathairn, Jackie Earle Haley, John Hawkes, Hal Holbrook, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, and Jared Harris. Also collaborating with Spielberg for the 26th time is the director’s go-to composer, John Williams. Acclaimed playwright Tony Kushner wrote the script which is partially based on the book, “Team of Rivals: The Political genius of Abraham Lincoln,” by Doris Kearns Goodwin.
Not only is Spielberg a perfect match for AFI FEST 2012, being America’s premier director, but also his “Lincoln” is sure to attract attention during awards season, especially coinciding with this being a presidential election year. Like Hitchcock, Spielberg has five films on AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Movies list. Those films are: “Saving Private Ryan” (#71), “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (#66), “Jaws” (#56), “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” (#24), and “Schindler’s List” (#8).
So kudos to AFI FEST 2012 presented by Audi for their two World Premiere choices of “Hitchcock” and “Lincoln” as opening and closing night films. Both films will have their galas at the historic Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.
For more information on AFI FEST 2012, including upcoming films selected for the festival, event venues, and ticket information, visit AFI FEST 2012’s website.
For other film reviews by Lori Huck, check out:
‘How to Survive a Plague’ Review: A Strong Portrait of AIDS Activists ACT UP
‘Lawless’ Film Review: A Strong Cast Propels This Gangster-Western