Willem Dafoe’s Van Gogh Biopic ‘At Eternity’s Gate’ to Close New York Film Festival

The Julian Schnabel film will screen on October 12 at the conclusion of the 17-day festival

At Eternity's Gate
Lily Gavin / Film Society of Lincoln Center

Julian Schnabel’s “At Eternity’s Gate,” which stars Willem Dafoe as artist Vincent van Gogh, will serve as the closing-night attraction at the 2018 New York Film Festival, the Film Society of Lincoln Center announced on Wednesday.

The film also stars Oscar Isaac, Rupert Friend, Mathieu Amalric and Mads Mikkelsen. It will make its North American premiere at Alice Tully Hall at the festival on Friday, October 12. CBS Films acquired the film earlier this year and plans an awards-qualifying fall release.

Schnabel is a painter and director whose previous films include “Basquiat,” Before Night Falls” and “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.” He has not made a feature since 2010’s “Miral.”

In the press release announcing the selection, NYFF director and selection committee chair Kent Jones said, “‘At Eternity’s Gate’ is such a surprising film, for all kinds of reasons. Julian Schnabel makes use of the most up-to-date information about Vincent van Gogh, altering our accepted ideas of how he lived and died; he grounds the film in the very action of painting, the intense contact between an artist and the world of forms and textures colored by light; and he gives us Willem Dafoe’s performance as Vincent — acting this pure is endlessly surprising.”

The festival previously announced that its opening-night film will be Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Favourite” and its centerpiece gala will be Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma,” making this a rare year in which none of the three main NYFF galas will have their world premieres at the festival.

“The Favourite,” “Roma” and “At Eternity’s Gate” are all premiering in competition at the Venice Film Festival, and “Roma” is also scheduled for the Toronto Film Festival and is expected to play Telluride as well.

The 56th New York Film Festival will kick off on September 28 and run through October 14.