The Knockturnal was on the scene for the NYFF premiere of Director/Producer/Writer Rebecca Hall’s “Passing” at Alice Tully Hall.
Cast Tessa Thompson, Ruth Negga and Andre Holland were in attendance. They were joined by producers Nina Yang Bongiovi, Forest Whitaker and Margot Hand.
Lesli Klainberg (FLC Executive Director), Eugene Hernandez (Director of NYFF) and Dennis Lim (FLC & NYFF Director of Programming) were also in attendance.
The Netflix release and awards season contender is based on Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel Passing. Writer/Director Rebecca Hall makes an impressive debut with this beautifully shot black and white picture. Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga play as middle-class reacquainted childhood friends Irene and Clare whose lives have taken divergent paths. Clare has decided to “pass” as white to maintain her social standing, even hiding her identity from her racist white husband, John (Alexander Skarsgård); Irene, on the other hand, is married to a prominent Black doctor, Brian (André Holland), who is initially horrified at Clare’s choices.
Thompson told reporters on the red carpet, “I feel so privileged to be in this film, to be screening it at New York Film Festival and I’m so excited and nervous for people to see it. To be honest – I’ve missed cinema, I’ve missed gathering and to watch stories collectively. So I’m also so excited to get to do that, never mind that it’s a film that I’m proud of.” She spoke on the film’s themes. “Yes completely there are themes of race and gender. But, I also think it’s a film that is about ways in which we all pass, which is to say that sometimes we don’t allow ourselves to be the fullest expression of who we are – we pretend to be things that we are not and that is a kind of prison in a way … you could read the source material Nella’s Larson beautiful slim 93 pages of a novela and then soon Clare’s character is passing. In fact Irene (the character I play) I think is passing for so many things. I think it’s like a cautionary tale … you are privileged enough to live in a time where you can really show up and be who you are. It’s probably the best thing to try and do for everyone’s sanity.”
A fantastic party followed at the Empire Hotel Roof where guests celebrated the NYFF premiere and Tessa Thompson’s birthday. DJ MOS was on the turntables.