Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Irishman’ to open the New York Film Festival

Ray Romano, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, 'The Irishman'
Ray Romano, left, Al Pacino and Robert De Niro in Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman.”
(Niko Tavernise / Netflix)

Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” will have its world premiere as the opening night selection of the New York Film Festival on Sept. 27. The highly anticipated movie will be released in select theaters and on Netflix later this year.

Following the Japan-set historical religious tale of Scorsese’s previous fictional feature “Silence” in 2016 and his documentary on Bob Dylan earlier this year, the filmmaker returns to the territory of the American criminal underworld with “The Irishman.” Written by Steve Zaillian (“Schindler’s List”), the film is based on Charles Brandt’s nonfiction book “I Heard You Paint Houses” and stars Al Pacino as Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa, Joe Pesci as Pennsylvania mob boss Russell Bufalino and Robert De Niro as their right-hand man, Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran. The cast also includes Ray Romano, Bobby Cannavale, Anna Paquin and Harvey Keitel.

“‘The Irishman’ is so many things: rich, funny, troubling, entertaining and, like all great movies, absolutely singular,” said New York Film Festival director and selection committee chair Kent Jones in a statement. “It’s the work of masters, made with a command of the art of cinema that I’ve seen very rarely in my lifetime, and it plays out at a level of subtlety and human intimacy that truly stunned me. All I can say is that the minute it was over my immediate reaction was that I wanted to watch it all over again.”

Scorsese has a long history with the New York Film Festival. His short film “The Big Shave” played there in 1967, his breakthrough feature “Mean Streets” in 1973 and his documentary “Italianamerican” in 1974. The documentary “George Harrison: Living in the Material World” and 3-D feature “Hugo” both played the festival in 2011. “The Irishman” will be his first film to open the festival.

Joe Pesci, Robert De Niro, 'The Irishman'
Joe Pesci, left, and Robert De Niro in Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman.”
(Niko Tavernise / Netflix)

“It’s an incredible honor that ‘The Irishman’ has been selected as the opening night of the New York Film Festival. I greatly admire the bold and visionary selections that the festival presents to audiences year after year,” said Scorsese in a statement. “The festival is critical to bringing awareness to cinema from around the world. I am grateful to have the opportunity to premiere my new picture in New York alongside my wonderful cast and crew.”

Last year the festival opened with Yorgos Lanthimos’s “The Favourite.” Other recent opening night films have been Richard Linklater’s “Last Flag Flying,” Ava DuVernay’s “The 13th,” Robert Zemeckis’ “The Walk,” David Fincher’s “Gone Girl,” Paul Greengrass’ “Captain Phillips,” Ang Lee’s “Life of Pi,” Roman Polanski’s “Carnage” and Fincher’s “The Social Network.”

The 57th New York Film Festival is presented by the nonprofit Film at Lincoln Center and runs from Sept. 27 to Oct. 13.