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New York Film Festival

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Italy has Cannes. Utah has Sundance. And New York has - what else - the New York Film Festival.

For nearly half a century, the cinema celebration has brought cutting-edge films from some of the biggest names in the business to Lincoln Center. And this year is no exception.

Opening night on Sept. 24 sees the world premiere of "The Social Network," a movie about the rise of Facebook. Sounds a bit silly and premature, but the film, with a script by Aaron Sorkin (he behind the political dramas "A Few Good Men" and "The West Wing"), promises to be scintillating, with a mesmerizing performance by Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg.

Other festival draws will surely be the premiere of "The Tempest," the latest from director Julie Taymor starring the extraordinary Helen Mirren in a film adaptation of Shakespeare's classic romance, and " Hereafter," the current vehicle starring Matt Damon that explores the possibility of making connections with the dead in what will surely be an emotional piece by Clint Eastwood.

For the more topical, there's "Inside Job," a documentary by Charles Ferguson. The director of "No End In Sight' turns his attention to the economic crisis for a comprehensive look at what went wrong that, like his last, is not to be missed.

From the nearly 30 films to choose from, our money's on "LENNONYC," a documentary on the former Beatle (pictured) that focuses on the final years of his life in New York, filled with rare footage, audio recordings and interviews that even Yoko Ono didn't even know about. The film plays on PBS this November, so don't miss your chance to see this larger-than-life figure on the big screen.

That, of course, is just a small sampling of what's offered - there's even more, from director talks to views from the avant garde - so check out the film festival's entire schedule here, and don't miss a thing during the city's biggest cinema event of the year (sorry, Tribeca).
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Why? New York offers some of the best in cinema - this festival is one of the reasons why
When: Sept. 24-Oct. 10
Where: Lincoln Center
Cost: All screenings $20 (a limited number of $10 rush tickets go on sale one hour before showtime)
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by Cristina Dimen on 03/10/2012
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