Interviews: Antonioni, Woody, and More

Let’s open today’s round of interviews with one from the archives, a conversation with Michelangelo Antonioni that originally ran in Corriere della Sera in 1982 but evidently took place during the final stages of shooting Blow-Up (1966). It’s been translated by Allison Cooper, and Andrew Stille’s posted it in his Diary of a Screenwriter. Antonioni: “The greatest difficulty I encountered was in reproducing the violence of reality.” For more from Antonioni on Blow-Up, see Cinephilia & Beyond.

At IndieWire, Graham Winfrey has embedded the seventy-minute Facebook Live conversation that took place on Wednesday between Robert Weide, who made a two-part film for PBS in 2011 called Woody Allen: A Documentary, and his subject. Winfrey’s also transcribed a few passages, including Allen’s remarks on Annie Hall (1977): “For some reason, that film is very likable. I’ve made better films than that. Match Point is a better film. The Purple Rose of Cairo is a better film. Midnight in Paris is a better film. Vicky Cristina Barcelona is as good. For some reason [Annie Hall] has some charismatic inexplicable hold on people.”

“When I talked to Lav Diaz during his London visit, it immediately became clear that, even after his recent burst of activity, he’s hardly been slacking,” writes Jonathan Romney for Sight & Sound. “He has recently been working on a novel, provisionally entitled The Black Tower, involving a mysterious room that reveals a stash of writings by an anonymous poet . . . He plans to end the year by shooting a film in Japan, inspired by the experiences of his aunt, who survived a Japanese massacre of her village in World War II. But before that, Diaz is completing his new feature—a musical set in 1976 but which, he says, is essentially about the current president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, notorious for his aggressive pursuit of an anti-drugs policy that has resulted in thousands of killings.”

“I don’t think much of the world runs moralistically,” Michael Mann tells Simon Abrams at Vulture. The occasion for the interview is the recent release of Heat (1995) on Blu-ray. And talking to Bilge Ebiri in the Village Voice, Mann says, “I’ve got a theory, which probably holds no water whatsoever, about why there’s so much genre content in media — meaning police stories, crime stories, so much of that. It’s because of the nature of the medium. Detectives detecting do what writers and directors do in the inverse.” And of course, he elaborates.

Ebiri’s also spoken with James Ivory about the new restoration of Maurice (1987): “Actors are deeper than directors: I think actors are narrower than directors, whereas directors are rather shallow. We have to think about everything, and we have to know a little bit about everything. But actors, they go way down. What they do is so much coming out of their unknown souls and unknown lives, which a director cannot even begin to fathom.” Jose Solís talks with Ivory, too. For the Film Experience: “Class is part of popular romance, the rich man falls in love with a poor girl . . . [I]t’s part of Hollywood.”

For the New Yorker,Rebecca Mead recently went to the Morgan Library & Museum to take in the exhibition I’m Nobody! Who are you? The Life and Poetry of Emily Dickinson, on view through May 28. And she went with Terence Davies, whose A Quiet Passion, of course, stars Cynthia Nixon as the poet. “‘She was a watcher, and I am not a participant,’ he said, over a bowl of black-bean soup. ‘I am an observer. You can see things sometimes with greater clarity than people who are not, but it can be lonely.’”

Davies evidently then went to Chicago and spoke with . . .

  • Ray Pride (Newcity Film): “I’m writing, at the moment, a film about Siegfried Sassoon, one of the three Great War poets of the First World War . . . So he’s completely the opposite of Emily! He went everywhere, he knew everybody, he was hardly ever at home. It’s a complete contrast!”
  • Ben Sachs (Chicago Reader): “I'd love to do [Stephen Sondheim's] Follies, because I love the score . . . Unfortunately the person who holds the copyright wouldn't release it. And anyway, who would give me $60 million to make a musical? Nobody would! Or they'd tell me who I've got to cast . . . No, I'm not Hollywood material, unfortunately. But I love Follies.
  • And Michael Smith (Time Out): “I don’t understand all this technological junk . . . And what I do hate is the way the language is being systematically destroyed—because I love English. I think it’s one of the great languages, one of the most expressive, and it’s being destroyed.”

“The director who gave us the outcasts, freaks, weirdos, and geniuses of Ghost World,Crumb, and Bad Santa has a flat, Midwestern accent, peppering his speech with little chuckles like he’s about to let you in on some great joke.” Jordan Hoffman introduces his interview with Terry Zwigoff for Vanity Fair. The occasion is this weekend’s retrospective at the Metrograph in New York. “The second reason was to celebrate Zwigoff’s first project to make it into the wild in years, an Amazon series based on T. C. Boyle’s cult novel Budding Prospects, starring Adam Rose, Will Sasso, and Natalie Morales.” And Julia Yepes chats with Zwigoff via email for Interview.

Also in Interview,Ethan Hawke: “A few days ago I found myself in a taxi headed to LaGuardia airport with my good friend Alessandro Nivola. . . . He just wrapped Sebastian Lelio’s three-hander Disobedience opposite Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams, and last month he won the Best Actor award at the Tribeca Film Festival for his role in Liz Garcia’s indie One Percent More Humid. In July he'll head to South Africa to star opposite Chris Evans in Gideon Raff's Red Sea Diving Resort. He also appears in Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here with Joaquin Phoenix . . . and he stars alongside his wife Emily Mortimer in a live action virtual reality short film Broken Night, which is also set for Cannes. It's one of the first times actors are doing a narrative story line with VR. It’s the future.”

For Screen Slate, Cosmo Bjorkenheim talks with Luc Sante about heist movies: “This putative subgenre treats crime as work and the accomplished criminal as an artisan, and watching difficult work done well and smoothly is a great pleasure that has otherwise been insufficiently exploited by cinema. I should also say that Kurosawa’s crime pictures have this quality in spades. I sense that Johnnie To would also be adept at depicting work, but he kills his characters before you get a chance to find out.”

IndieWire’s Kate Erbland meets Robert De Niro and Barry Levinson to talk about The Wizard of Lies, their HBO film about Bernie Madoff. De Niro focuses on the similarities between the fraudster and our current president, while Levinson scans the state of the business and remarks, “Theatrical doesn’t really make movies about people . . . I think we’re gonna stop asking the question of why [television]. It’s pretty clear. Take a look at what’s coming out, where would we fit?”

For photogénie, Maximilien Luc Proctor talks with Sergei Loznitsa: “It’s very easy to manipulate people who don’t remember their own history.”

Charles McGrath profiles Oren Moverman (The Messenger,The Dinner) for the New York Times: “He doesn’t rehearse, and he doesn’t shoot scenes in fragments. ‘Every shot is the entire scene,’ he said. ‘Every first take is the first time they do it, and I don’t do too many takes. That’s part of the danger and the fear, but also the pleasure of it. I’d rather get it raw and untested and unrehearsed and unsoiled.’”

“The fifth episode of Justin Simien’s Netflix series, Dear White People, is its most unsettling,” writes Matt Zoller Seitz, who gets director Barry Jenkins (Moonlight) to break it down for him at Vulture.

At Uproxx, Keith Phipps talks with Roger Corman: “I don’t think independent films will ever come back to where they were in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s.” And with John Waters: “I asked Don Knotts for a date once, and I think it made him nervous.”

Don’t see a byline for this one, but thought you’d want to know about it: “Cristi Puiu talks to four by three magazine about cinema as entertainment and art, the responsibility of an artist, reality and fiction, truth and being, [and] his fascination with death and Albert Camus.”

Baby Driver won’t open until June 28, but that’s not keeping Time Out’s Joshua Rothkopf from talking with director Edgar Wright and star Ansel Elgort right now.

For Film Comment,Nick Pinkerton talks with Tizza Covi, who’s co-directed Mister Universo with Rainer Frimmel, and Cassie da Costa interviews Arthur Jafa, “known primarily as a cinematographer, especially for his work on Julie Dash’s brilliant Daughters of the Dust (1991) . . . But Jafa has been a director all along, and has made several short films, including the 2013 documentary Dreams Are Colder Than Death, in which various black artists and thinkers take stock of the reality of black life in America 50 years after Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. He’s also served as a camera operator (and sometimes even a gaffer when needed) on works ranging from Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut to Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’ to Ava DuVernay’s Selma.

In the Notebook, Jake Brandman talks with Ben Wheatley “about his creative process, how Free Fire is closer to Evil Dead II than any actual 70s movie, and why he designed the set in Minecraft.

The focus of John Duncan Talbird’s conversation with Steven Shainberg for Film International is on the director’s latest work, Rupture, a “dark, claustrophobic sci-fi film” starring Noomi Rapace.

Let’s wrap with a couple of oral histories. For GQ,Zach Baron talks with Barry Jenkins, Sofia Coppola, James Franco, Robert Pattinson, and more to put together the story of independent distributor A24.

And for Vice, Matt Gilligan revisits River’s Edge (1987) with director Tim Hunter, screenwriter Neal Jimenez, producer Midge Sanford, casting director Carrie Frazier, and actors Daniel Roebuck and Ione Skye.

For news and items of interest throughout the day, every day, follow @CriterionDaily.

You have no items in your shopping cart