Steven Spielberg‘s ‘The Fabelmans to Open MoMA’s The Contenders Series (EXCLUSIVE)

“The Fabelmans,” Steven Spielberg’s semi-autobiographical look at his movie-loving childhood, will kick off the 15th edition of “The Contenders” at The Museum of Modern Art.

The annual program, which features a wide range of many of the awards season’s most critically acclaimed films, along with some well-reviewed blockbusters, will run from Nov. 10, 2022, through Jan. 19, 2023. The lineup includes indie fare like Martin McDonagh’s “The Banshees of Inisherin” and Sarah Polley’s “Women Talking”; international features such as Santiago Mitre’s “Argentina, 1985” and Jerzy Skolimowski’s “EO”; and more populist works like Rian Johnson’s “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” and Jordan Peele’s “Nope.” MoMA will also screen the year’s highest-grossing release, Joseph Kosinski’s “Top Gun: Maverick.” “The Fabelmans” gets things started on Nov. 10 and will be followed by a conversation with cast members Michelle Williams, Judd Hirsch, Seth Rogen and Gabriel LaBelle.

“It’s such a great opportunity for us to give New Yorkers an early look at a very personal film from one of cinema’s greatest directors,” says Rajendra Roy, MoMA’s Celeste Bartos Chief Curator of Film. “Spielberg delivered something that isn’t just about the making-of a great filmmaker. It really hits home in depicting a passion for art and art-making and the catharsis it can bring.”

MoMA’s series will return in-person after offering a hybrid edition in 2021 and a virtual presentation in 2020, during the worst of the pandemic. The series screens up to 60 films, including 10 screenings in Los Angeles, along with dozens of New York events.

“When we doing screenings, we’ve been seeing an exuberant embrace of the collective movie-going experience,” Roy told Variety. “And that has been remarkable because we’re all aware of how at risk film culture is.”

Indeed, MoMA is hosting its event at a time when the indie box office has yet to recover from the COVID-19 slowdown and as streaming has upended the way that movies are made and distributed. That’s made film festivals and screening series a critical way for theatrical releases to build buzz and awareness.

Highlights of the 2022 lineup also include “All That Breathes” (Shaunak Sen), “EO” (Jerzy Skolimowski), “Sr.” (Chris Smith), “Happening” (Audrey Diwan), “Dead for a Dollar” (Walter Hill), “Close” (Lukas Dhont), “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert), “White Noise” (Noah Baumbach), “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” (Guillermo del Toro), “Decision to Leave” (Park Chan-wook), “Aftersun” (Charlotte Wells), “No Bears” (Jafar Panahi), “Saint Omer” (Alice Diop), “Corsage” (Marie Kreutzer), “The Whale” (Darren Aronofsky), “Montana Story” (Scott McGhee and David Siegel), “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” (Dean Fleischer-Camp), “Retour à Séoul (Return to Seoul)” (Davy Chou), “Triangle of Sadness” (Ruben Östlund), “The African Desperate” (Martine Syms), “The Eternal Daughter” (Joanna Hogg), “Un beau matin (One Fine Morning)” (Mia Hansen-Løve), “Jackass Forever” (Jeff Tremaine), “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed” (Laura Poitras), “Fire of Love” (Sara Dosa), “The Inspection” (Elegance Bratton), “RRR” (S.S. Rajamouli), “Wendell and Wild” (Henry Selick), “Nanny” (Nikyatu Jusu), “Bones and All” (Luca Guadagnino), “Tár” (Todd Field) and more titles to be announced.

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