Last night, the 60th Annual New York Film Festival kicked off with a Campari-sponsored opening-night reception at Tavern on the Green. The party was in honor of festival opener White Noise, Noah Baumbach’s adaptation of the 1985 novel, starring his favorite muses, Greta Gerwig and Adam Driver.
The restaurant, whose regular aesthetic is kind of like a decadent Marshalls, was lit up like the gates of hell with red strobe lights and decorated with Campari bottles. In attendance were a smattering of actors, a few Netflix executives, a famous DJ, and a large contingent of Lincoln Center patrons.
The highlight of the night was a brief encounter with German actor Lars Eidinger, who plays a kind of failed mad scientist in the film. Mistaking me for a White Noise extra, he touched on his love of spicy foods and explained that the (disturbingly) tiny satin shorts he wore throughout the film were all his idea. While we talked, at least three people invited him to an after-party at Polo Bar, to which he asked me, in a quiet, confidential voice, “What is the Polo Bar?” As we parted, he shared his email address, urging me to come see him play Hamlet, in Hamlet, at BAM next month.
I cannot review White Noise because I did not understand it, but I’ve evaluated every other aspect of the evening on a scale of one to ten negronis.
Eidinger, who is well over six feet tall, looked like the world’s biggest and chicest office worker in the same oversize Balenciaga suit Justin Bieber wore to the Grammys. But Jodie Turner-Smith carried the evening, swapping out the bedazzled black evening gown she wore on the red carpet for a Canadian tuxedo at the party.
One brave soul wore a mesh dress with nothing but a thong underneath, and there was a gaggle of dapper older men — arty types — wearing newsboy caps, pearl accessories, and fun ties. Otherwise, it was the first really chilly evening of fall, so there were a lot of sensible coats. Four negronis.
Someone saw Noah Baumbach being “spirited out the back by a gaggle of female publicists,” and while Turner-Smith and Gerwig showed up late, Driver was notably absent. (In fact, Driver, who has famously said that watching himself onscreen makes him want to puke, did not sit through the film screening, and could be seen slipping into the opera box with his fellow actors as the credits rolled.)
Elsewhere, Vicky Krieps expounded in rapid German, while Blythe Danner swanned about, camouflaged in the mostly over-70 crowd. It was also a strong night for talented nepo babies: Grace Gummer showed up, as did Cooper Hoffman, while Emily Mortimer chaperoned her teens, Sam and May Nivola, who were the best part of White Noise. Five negronis.
“It’s like the kind you hear in the bathroom of a semi-nice restaurant.” Three negronis.
Food & Drink
Cones of French fries and sliders were passed about, and there were multiple buffet stations for those who wanted a hot dinner. This meant the whole space was caught up in a miasma of food smells that recalled a Delta Lounge. And though my negroni was good — garnished with a giant ice cube stamped with NYFF — I’m going to dock points because the Campari-pilled bartender refused to give me a glass of water, insisting that his hands were tied when it came to anything except “Campari-based cocktails.” Did I mention that the event was sponsored by Campari? Four negronis.
Mostly consisted of whether or not White Noise was good. Apparently, it was true to the novel, perhaps too true, making for a somewhat stilted script. Personally? I don’t know. Gerwig wore an amazing wig, and the child actors? Sublime.
As I made my way out, someone said: “Must all be thrilling for Noah.” Four negronis.
This article has been updated.