Sacha Guitry was one of the most versatile multihyphenates in French cinema. After honing his idiosyncratic voice in the theater, he went on to direct, write, and star in dozens of films, each suffused with his sharp wit and adventurous approach to film style. Made in the last decade of his life, Guitry’s 1951 La poison marked a major transition in his work, turning the focus away from his own acting and toward that of another brilliant performer, the legendary Michel Simon. Taking aim at the pitfalls of matrimony and the arbitrariness of the French legal system, the film stars Simon and Germaine Reuver as a couple who, after thirty years of marriage, are contemplating how best to murder one another. One of Guitry’s most ardent fans, director Olivier Assayas, talks about this dark comedic masterpiece in an interview featured on our newly released edition of the film. In the clip above, Assayas discusses the great filmmaker’s transformative collaboration with Simon and how it allowed him to explore new territory through a persona completely different from his own.
A Subtler Side of the Hepburn-Grant Magic
Filmmaker and distributor Michael Schlesinger and critic Michael Sragow dive into the pleasures of Holiday, a romantic-comedy classic that has long stood in the shadow of The Philadelphia Story but has a poignancy all its own.
Wim Wenders Looks Back on the Digital Future He Predicted
From search engines to all-engrossing handheld devices, the technologies that the German director conjured for his 1991 opus Until the End of the World are now common features of contemporary life.
John Bailey Breaks Down a Tour de Force of Gothic Lighting
The veteran cinematographer takes a close look at the highly stylized and atmospheric lighting in one of the most pivotal scenes in pre-Code classic The Story of Temple Drake.
All About Mankiewicz
One of the most celebrated Hollywood writer-directors of his time, Joseph L. Mankiewicz offers a window into the way he sees his characters in this illuminating clip from an archival interview.