Alexander Payne’s Closet Picks

Inside Criterion / Closet Picks — Dec 6, 2017

Since his highly acclaimed debut feature, Citizen Ruth (1996), Payne has solidified his standing as one of the most savagely funny and poignantly perceptive chroniclers of contemporary American life working today, taking home Oscars for cowriting the screenplays of both Sideways (2004) and The Descendants (2011). The director’s latest film, the sci-fi-tinged Downsizing, which hits theaters on the 22nd, finds him further expanding his satirical range, imagining an overpopulated future in which people can elect to shrink themselves to a fraction of their original size. Earlier this fall, Payne dropped by our office while we were working on the new director-approved edition of his 1999 high-school-set political comedy Election, which comes out next week. Watch him take a trip to our film closet, where he sings the praises of Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni in Ettore Scola’s A Special Day, cops to never having seen Robert Altman’s 3 Women, and talks about his own role in the rehabilitation of Michael Curtiz’s The Breaking Point and Luis García Berlanga’s The Executioner.