Trailblazer Elaine May altered the landscape of comedy and screenwriting, and in the three films she directed in the 1970s—A New Leaf (1971) , The Heartbreak Kid (1972), and Mikey and Nicky (1976)—she brought a fresh, often uncomfortable perspective to the portrayal of relationships, with a particular focus on the flawed men within them. One of just a few female directors in Hollywood at the time, she homed in on the theme of betrayal and exposed male vanity at its core. With Mikey and Nicky, she took on some of her darkest material, exposing the toxic masculinity destroying the friendship between two low-level gangsters. It’s taken some time for audiences and critics to catch up with it, but the film’s meticulously crafted script, brilliant performances, and agile camera reveal a singular cinematic vision—one that would emerge again only once, eleven years later, with Ishtar, another film ripe for rediscovery. Here are a few things I learned while producing our recently released edition, which showcases the film in a glorious new restoration.
Director Elaine May was only the third woman to be admitted to the Directors Guild of America. Three decades earlier, in the 1930s, Dorothy Arzner was inducted as the DGA’s first female director; Ida Lupino followed, but not until the fifties.
10 Things I Learned: Raging Bull
While working on our edition of Martin Scorsese’s 1980 masterpiece, producer Abbey Lustgarten found out how the director achieved some of the movie’s most evocative visual and sonic effects.
The Evolution of a “Superpig”: Designing Okja, from Start to Finish
Both intimidatingly massive and deeply sympathetic, the creature at the heart of Bong Joon Ho’s meat-industry fable is the product of a close collaboration between the director and artist Jang Hee Chul.
10 Things I Learned: Rouge
The producer of our edition of the masterful 1987 melodrama tells the stories of some of director Stanley Kwan’s legendary collaborators, including superstars Anita Mui and Leslie Cheung.
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