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Azazel Jacobs’ Surreal Comedy ‘French Exit’ to Close New York Film Festival

Michelle Pfeiffer will star as a bankrupt socialite in Jacobs’ offbeat comedy.


Film at Lincoln Center has announced that Azazel Jacobs’ “French Exit” will make its world premiere as Closing Night selection of the 58th New York Film Festival. 

Adapted from Patrick deWitt’s best-selling novel, “French Exit” follows a recently widowed New York socialite and her short-tempered son who are forced to move into a small Paris apartment. The absurdist comedy stars Michelle Pfeiffer and Lucas Hedges and promises a “brilliant performance of stylish severity” from Pfeiffer. “French Exit” will mark Azazel Jacobs’ NYFF debut.

“Jacobs is one of the most distinctive voices in American cinema, and it’s a thrill to see him working with new registers and tones in his most ambitious film yet,” said New York Film Festival Director of Programming Dennis Lim. “It’s rare to encounter a film so wholly surprising. Moment to moment, French Exit is a destabilizing delight, as strange and dark as it is playful, thanks in no small part to Michelle Pfeiffer’s career-best performance.”

Azazel Jacobs’ other credits include dramedy “Momma’s Man,” John C. Reilly’s “Terri,” and 2017’s “The Lovers.” The New York native is excited to premiere “French Exit” in the city that played a significant part in his appreciation for filmmaking.

“NYFF is the film festival I grew up attending,” said Jacobs. “I remember seeing Night On Earth for the first time, and waiting afterwards to hand Jim Jarmusch a fan letter. I remember that same year seeing Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho and having my aim to become a filmmaker only more solidified.  I’m grateful to the NYFF for allowing French Exit to premiere in the city I was raised in, and love, and to all who are undoubtedly working tirelessly to make this event happen.”

Film at Lincoln Center previously announced that Steve McQueen’s “Lovers Rock” will serve as the festival’s Opening Night feature. “Lovers Rock” joins a lineup that includes Chloe Zhao’s “Nomadland” and two films from McQueen’s “Small Axe” anthology: “Mangrove” and “Red, White, and Blue.”

NYFF will take place September 25 – October 11, 2020.

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