Interviews: Rees, Park, and More

On Film / The Daily — Oct 23, 2017

“Meet the new hotshots of American filmmaking,” offers the Observer, stacking four profiles on one page. Tim Lewis gets Dee Rees talking about Mudbound (“The mud wasn’t free!”) and going with Netflix: “I think Netflix are disrupters and maybe they will shake up the system and get the studios back to making original interesting things. . . . This could have repercussions; it will show that sometimes art wins and that would be great if that happens.”

Further down the page, Kathryn Bromwich talks with Eliza Hittman about Beach Rats: “There’s an expectation, she says, that women only write about their own lives, ‘that the work should be “confessional” or “diaristic,” and God forbid a woman tackles something about a man, God forbid a woman should tackle something political or dealing with violence. There’s a minefield of narratives that the world thinks I can’t make, and I won’t be beholden to those expectations.’”

Simran Hans recommends the work of Josh and Benny Safdie (Good Time) and Guy Lodge notes that, of all the “glowing reviews” of The Rider, Chloé Zhao probably most appreciates Werner Herzog’s most: “Just when you think cinema is entering a phase of stagnation, along comes a film like that. It’s very encouraging.”

J. E. Smyth introduces an interview for Sight & Sound: “She worked with everyone from Francis X. Bushman to Gregory Peck, played debutantes and detectives, and starred in Hollywood’s first Holocaust film. Seventy-five years ago, she was Hollywood Canteen President Bette Davis’s go-to hostess for Saturday night dancing and entertaining the troops. And though we remember the Hollywood blacklist as predominantly a drama about white male screenwriters, she is the last living member of the Committee for the First Amendment. Marsha Hunt [turned] 100 on October 17. She’s more than a living legend of old Hollywood. She’s a reminder of a time when women fought for their careers and political beliefs—and faced harsh consequences.”

“Godard was a sadist really, and he liked to see how far he could go with somebody and that didn’t show immediately.” For the Mumbai Mirror, Sumesh Sharma talks with Lila Lakshmanan, who was an assistant editor on Breathless (1960) and edited A Woman Is a Woman (1961), Vivre sa vie (1962), Les Carabiniers (1963), and Contempt (1963) as well as Truffaut’s Jules and Jim (1962).

For the Notebook, Samuel B. Prime’s interviewed Monte Hellman (Two-Lane Blacktop), who’s “much more enthusiastic about talking about other people’s films than his own, so that’s exactly what we did. We both watch a lot of movies in our spare time. It was only natural.”

The current 2017 Greats issue of T Magazine has seven covers for seven profiles. Along with Roxane Gay on Nicki Minaj, Randy Kennedy on Claes Oldenburg, Lin-Manuel Miranda on Stephen Sondheim, Dave Eggers on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Hanya Yanagihara on Dries Van Noten, there’s Manohla Dargis on Amy Adams and Alexander Chee on Park Chan-wook.

“It’s important to talk about inequality,” Adams tells Dargis. “But for me, where I feel most empowered is in educating myself and being, hopefully, a mentor for younger women. That’s more important. I offer any young actress I work with my phone number. I’ll tell them on set, ‘You don’t have to do that. You can say no.’”

Park is “an autodidact, a self-taught auteur,” notes Chee. Park: “When you say you go to a film school in America or France, you would probably go to a lecture where they teach you about German Expressionism and show you what these German Expressionist films are. But in Korea there was no systematic education I could be exposed to. It was sporadic, haphazard. And maybe that’s why my films have ended up in this strange form, where it feels like it’s a mishmash of everything.” Oh, and by the way: “Visconti’s The Leopard is my favorite film.”

For the New York Times, Dan Kois profiles Taika Waititi, “just the latest in a long string of upstart directors—like Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World), James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Gareth Edwards (Godzilla)—handed the keys to some of the most expensive entertainment machines in the world. Studios hire these indie auteurs to deliver (at a reasonable price, and in a way they feel they can control) a little shot of cool to a staid or stagnant property. Sometimes, as with Patty Jenkins on Wonder Woman, the spark delivered by a new director can reinvigorate an entire cinematic universe and stave off franchise fatigue; other times, as with Josh Trank’s disastrous Fantastic Four, the move puts a small-movie director in a position to fail more hugely than anyone ever imagined possible.” At the moment, Thor: Ragnarok has a Metacritic score of 74/100.

Also in the NYT, Cara Buckley meets Colin Farrell: “The one thing that fame asks you to do, I have learned, is to police yourself. You get away with murder, you get away with mistreating people, you won’t be called out on things you really should be called out with, you really do.”

In the Guardian, Jonas Mekas tells Deborah Linton about John Lennon and Yoko Ono: “He was open, relaxed, very spontaneous. It felt like anything could happen, at any moment. Yoko was more controlled, but she was very warm and we remain good friends.”

“When I experience the character of Laura [Palmer], it’s as one long story,” Sheryl Lee tells EW’s Darren Franich. “It’s as one life. It’s not broken into first season, second season, Fire Walk With Me, like it is for the viewers.”

“I believe in the work of my collaborators and the actors and, immodestly, myself, as being of value to an audience that will never see these things,” Alex Ross Perry tells Kazik Radwanski in the TIFF Review. “I wish there was a way for them to discover it, but the culture has definitively turned its back on that as something to hope for.”

“On a recent Thursday, in a suite of dressing rooms at The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Bill Murray, the cellist Jan Vogler, the violinist Mira Wang, and the pianist Vanessa Perez were getting ready to perform songs from an album they’ve just released, called New Worlds.” And Sarah Larson talks with Murray and Vogler for the New Yorker.

As part of a special package on the current state of horror movies in the Los Angeles Times, Mark Olsen talks with Guillermo del Toro about “how the medium impacts the message, the ways in which how you tell a story can impact the story itself.”

At the Film Stage, Zhuo-Ning Su talks with François Ozon about L’amant double, “the state of queer cinema, and his experiences at film festivals from Cannes to Berlin.”

For Little White Lies, Beth Webb talks to Rungano Nyoni about making I Am Not a Witch: “I’ve learned to go after what I want without being girly about it. My mother warned me not to be girly, don’t be apologetic or be polite. I realized that sometimes you just have to say, ‘This is what I need, how can I do this?’ rather than feeling guilty, or bad, or afraid, or thinking that you look like a bitch. That was hard, it took me a long time, and I had to build that into my vocabulary. It was a big, big thing.”

For Cineuropa, Mina Stanikic interviews Anniken Hoel, whose Cause of Death: Unknown won the Best Foreign Documentary award at Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival this summer. Produced by Andrew Grant, the film is an investigation into how and why the pharmaceutical industry pushes its anti-psychotic drugs. Says Hoel: “When we started getting threats, we knew that we were looking in the right areas.”

“This is the part of my career where I wanna start stringing together great roles,” Miles Teller says to David Marchese at Vulture. “People outside of the business will think of me however they want, but I want people inside the business to see everything I can do. I gotta get moving.”

Several Daily entries have been updated in the past day or two, four of them with fresh interviews: Ai Weiwei (Human Flow), Sean Baker (The Florida Project), Robin Campillo (BPM (Beats Per Minute)), Todd Haynes (Wonderstruck), and Armando Iannucci and Steve Buscemi (The Death of Stalin).

Listening

Willem Dafoe is Marc Maron’s guest on the WTF Podcast (82’07”).

On the new episode of Filmwax Radio (75’24”), Adam Schartoff talks with Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing about their new documentary, One of Us, “a deep and moving look at the lives of three individuals who have chosen to leave the hugely insular world of Hasidic Judaism,” and with Todd Haynes.

Viewing

At the recent New Yorker Festival, Jelani Cobb spoke with Ava Duvernay (Selma) “about growing up in South Central L.A., and how she got into an industry that was not made for her.” (8’47”).

In a new video interview in the Notebook, Jordan Cronk talks with Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor about Caniba (20’32”).

Last November, Orlando Bagwell spoke with Madeline Anderson, “assistant director and editor on Shirley Clarke’s The Cool World before becoming the first black employee at the television station NET (later WNET). She worked with William Greaves on the renowned NET series Black Journal, where she produced and directed A Tribute to Malcolm X. Anderson left the program to make what has become her best-known film, I Am Somebody, a documentary about the 1969 hospital workers’ strike in Charleston, South Carolina.” Film Quarterly has video of two separate Q&As (37’53”) and (40’39”).

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