Already one of the twenty-first century’s most electric and versatile screen performers, Paul Dano took his first major step behind the camera last year. His directorial debut—the broken-family drama Wildlife, an adaptation of a Richard Ford novel that he cowrote with his partner, Zoe Kazan—earned raves for its subtlety and for its exceptional performances by Carey Mulligan, Jake Gyllenhaal, and newcomer Ed Oxenbould. It was fresh off the movie’s premiere that Dano paid a visit to our film closet, where he stocked up for future home viewing: the first things he plucked off our shelves were Marlon Brando’s One-Eyed Jacks (which he’d never seen) and our Essential Jacques Demy box (to share with his daughter). He also took the opportunity to recognize some of the filmmakers most important to him, including Yasujiro Ozu—whose transcendently elliptical style makes him “one of the great artists of the twentieth century”—and Edward Yang (whose A Brighter Summer Day Dano included in his Adventures in Moviegoing series for the Channel). For all these highlights from Dano’s visit and more, just click play above.
Leslie Harris’s Closet Picks
With her groundbreaking debut film, Just Another Girl on the I.R.T., now on the Criterion Channel, the director stopped by to talk about the movies that loom large in her personal canon.