The Film Comment Podcast

By Film Comment Magazine

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Description

Published since 1962, Film Comment magazine features in-depth reviews, critical analysis, and feature coverage of mainstream, art-house, and avant-garde filmmaking from around the world. Our podcast is a weekly space for critical conversation about film, with a look at topical issues, new releases, and the big picture.

Episode Date
The Film Comment Podcast: Paul Schrader
00:50:07
“Although religious symbols and themes have often found their way into Schrader’s film work, First Reformedmarks the first time he has applied elements of transcendental style—as extolled in his seminal book Transcendental Style in Film—to his own filmmaking. Early in his career, Schrader was occupied with exploring the pathological lure of sex and violence in narrative cinema,” Aliza Ma wrote in her review of Paul Schrader’s First Reformed for our May/June issue. As part of our Film Comment Free Talks series, Schrader joined Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold for a conversation about the twists and turns and leaps in the writer-director’s career—from starting out as a critic and UCLA film student in the ’60s, to writing screenplays for Taxi Driver and Last Temptation of Christ, to directing films from Blue Collar through First Reformed. This week’s podcast captures the discussion. (Please note: the audio is at times slightly imperfect due to an unforeseeable technical snafu.) Looking ahead, our Film Comment Free Talks continue on July 17 with filmmaker Boots Riley, director of the much-anticipated satire Sorry to Bother You, starring Lakeith Stanfield and Tessa Thompson.
Jun 21, 2018
The Film Comment Podcast: Ari Aster
00:54:43
This summer we kicked off our Film Comment Free Talks, a new series of conversations with filmmakers held at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. For the release of horror sensation Hereditary, we invited the film’s director, Ari Aster, to come for a wide-ranging chat. The talk was moderated by FSLC Editorial Director Michael Koresky, who wrote of Hereditary in our May/June issue: “We are compelled by our family stories, but they are often constructed narratives, given to biases, subjectivities, fictions. If at times Hereditary feels more like an askew domestic melodrama than a horror movie, that’s not accidental.” Aster talks about his love of Ingmar Bergman, his fear of The Wiz, his next project, and the arduous road to staging a scene just so. Our next Film Comment Free Talk will take place on July 17 with director Boots Riley where he'll discuss his funny, scathing, weird, and audacious satire Sorry to Bother You.
Jun 14, 2018
Le Cinéma du Glut
00:44:52
In the May/June issue of Film Comment, Nick Pinkerton wrote: “Like few feature films before it, Spielberg’s [Ready Player One] exemplifies an aesthetic of pop-culture decoupage that has developed, in recognizably kindred forms, across a wide range of media, one that has been increasingly prevalent through the early years of the 21st century. It is that of the junk-pile jumble of accumulated mass-manufactured character properties at the end of pop history—the aesthetic of glut.” Pinkerton, regular FC contributor, is joined by FC Digital Producer Violet Lucca and Light Industry co-founder and 4Columns contributor Ed Halter to discuss our new pop culture reality, where everything—good or bad—is here to stay.
Jun 07, 2018
Queer Criticism
01:16:19
In his essay “Responsibilities of a Gay Film Critic”—first published in the January/February 1978 issue of Film Comment—Robin Wood wrote: “Critics are not, of course, supposed to talk personally. It is regarded as an embarrassment, as bad taste, and besides it is an affront to the famous ideal of ‘objectivity.’ . . . Yet I believe there will always be a close connection between critical theory, critical practice, and personal life; and it seems important that the critic should be aware of the personal bias that must inevitably affect his choice of theoretical position, and prepared to foreground it in his work.” Michael Koresky, Director of Editorial and Creative Strategy at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, invoked this landmark essay during a talk at the RiverRun International Film Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where he was joined by K. Austin Collins, critic at Vanity Fair, and filmmaker and critic Farihah Zaman. Addressing representation in recent films like Love, Simon and Call Me by Your Name, the process of identification, and the absence of sexuality in the Marvel universe, their conversation is an earnest and thoughtful consideration of movie-viewing while queer.
May 29, 2018
Cannes Day 11
00:40:42
In this unbelievable season finale, promises are broken, insults fly, and lives are forever changed…well, not really. New York Times co-chief film critic Manohla Dargis joins FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold in this final Cannes 2018 episode to discuss Lee Chang-dong’s Burning, snipers, Alice Rohrwacher’s Happy as Lazzaro, why auteur love should stick around a bit longer, Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s The Wild Pear Tree, interviewing Lars von Trier, Gaspar Noe’s Climax, and what it means to attend the festival.
May 21, 2018
Cannes Day 10
00:44:59
It’s been a full 10 days of Cannes! FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold is joined by Eugene Hernandez, Deputy Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and co-publisher of Film Comment, to discuss four films that show how unforgiving life can be: Nadine Labaki’s Capernaüm, Sergei Dvortsevoy’s Ayka, Matteo Garrone’s Dogman, and Vittorio De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves. The duo consider the effectiveness and strategies each filmmaker uses to depict such harsh realities.
May 18, 2018
Cannes Day Nine
00:40:03
It’s Cannes, day nine! FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold is joined by Justin Chang, film critic for the Los Angeles Times; Mara Gourd-Mercado, general director of Montreal doc-fest RIDM; and Eric Hynes, FC contributor and film programmer at the Museum of the Moving Image. The writers and programmers discuss David Robert Mitchell’s California pop-culture noir pastiche Under the Silver Lake; Lee Chang-dong’s Haruki Murakami adaptation Burning; Alice Rohrwacher’s magical realist family farm drama Lazzaro felice; Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt’s ironic psychosexual melodrama Diamantino; and Laetitia Carton’s documentary Le Grand Bal.
May 17, 2018
Cannes Day Eight
00:49:34
In this episode, FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold is joined by Amy Taubin, Jonathan Romney, and Eric Hynes to discuss Lars von Trier’s “provocative” The House That Jack Built and Spike Lee’s provocative BlackKklansman. The writers also discuss Bi Gan’s Long Day’s Journey into Night, Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Asako I & II, and the latest Stéphane Brizé & Vincent Lindon collaboration, At War.
May 16, 2018
Cannes Day Seven
00:37:58
In today’s dispatch, FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold is joined by Eric Hynes, curator of film at Museum of Moving Image, and Orwa Nyrabia, artistic director of the International Documentary Festival of Amsterdam (IDFA), to talk about all things documentary at Cannes. They discuss Wang Bing’s bold and boundary-pushing eight-hour Dead Souls, the place (or lack thereof) for nonfiction cinema at the Croisette, and the influence of fake news frenzy on documentary filmmaking today.
May 15, 2018
Cannes Day Six
00:36:25
Following the high-profile “82 women” red carpet protest, FC and Artforum contributing editor Amy Taubin joins FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold to discuss the festival’s failure to find (good) films by female directors. Plus: Jafar Panahi’s Three Faces; Eva Husson’s Girls of the Sun; Vanessa Filho’s Angel Face; Alejandro Fadel’s Die, Monster, Die; Lukas Dhont’s Girl; and more thoughts about Godard’s The Image Book.
May 14, 2018
Cannes Day Five
00:33:40
Amidst the jubilance of a French wedding, FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold is joined by Eric Hynes, curator of film at the Museum of the Moving Image and FC columnist, and Christina Newland, writer for Sight & Sound and Little White Lies, on the top of the Palais to discuss a few films from up-and-coming directors they’ve enjoyed at the festival: Ognjen Glavonic’s The Load, Luis Ortega’s Angel, and Camille Vidal-Naquet’s Sauvage.
May 13, 2018
Cannes Day Four
00:35:10
It’s Cannes day four! FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold is joined by Film Society of Lincoln Center Director of Programming Dennis Lim and FC columnist Jonathan Romney to discuss a few of the most anticipated films of the festival: Jean-Luc Godard’s The Image Book, Jia Zhangke’s Ash Is Purest White, Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War, and Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt’s Diamantino.
May 12, 2018
Cannes Day Three
00:33:05
FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold and Otros Cines critic Manu Yáñez Murillo sit down in the Palais to discuss the day’s films: Jaime Rosales’s Petra; Ciro Guerra and Cristina Gallego’s multigenerational, Godfather-esque cartel drama Birds of Passage; Ali Abbasi’s sweet, oddball Border; and Paul Dano’s emotionally charged Wildlife.
May 11, 2018
Cannes Day Two
00:37:47
FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold is joined by Eric Hynes, Curator of Film at the Museum of Moving Image and FC Columnist, as they reflect on day two of Cannes from the roof of the Palais. As a newcomer to the festival, Hynes recounts his first impression—from the grandeur of the red carpet to the banality of waiting in line—and the two discuss both the second feature of this year’s competition, Kirill Serebrennikov’s Leto, as well as the opening night film of Un Certain Regard, Sergei Loznitsa’s Donbass.
May 10, 2018
Cannes Day One
00:39:17
It’s Cannes, day one! FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold is joined by Amy Taubin, FC contributing editor and Cannes veteran, to discuss the films they’re excited to see at this year’s edition (Jean-Luc Godard’s The Image Book, Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s The Wild Pear Tree, Alice Rohrwacher’s Lazzaro felice) and a few they’re anticipating with some trepidation. The two also discuss the opening night film, Ashgar Farhadi’s Everybody Knows. Plus: an incredible anecdote about Lucrecia Martel and Marvel.
May 09, 2018
Geraldine Chaplin
00:49:23
Acting dynasties—like any kind of dynasty—rarely produce talents as great as Geraldine Chaplin, Charlie’s daughter, who ended up a sui generis figure in cinema history herself. Writer Andréa R. Vaucher and David Bloom joined Chaplin at the Panama Film Festival to discuss her incredible career; working with David Lean, Carlos Saura, Robert Altman, Alan Rudolph, and J. A. Bayona; her teenage years as a ballerina; and, of course, her father. A few of Paul Newman’s best pranks also crop up. A Words & Deeds production; produced, engineered, and directed by David Bloom.
May 08, 2018
Claire Denis and Let the Sunshine In
00:46:00
The incomparable French director Claire Denis returns with Let the Sunshine In, a romantic comedy of sorts that stars Juliette Binoche. Denis’s fluid vision and singular sense of timing mixed with Binoche’s endearing performance make for a thoughtful glimpse into a woman’s quest for love on her own terms and, as Andrew Chan explains in his cover story about the film, “shows us not how we feel about love but how we look at it and talk about it—how it appears to us when experienced by others.” In this episode, FC Digital Producer Violet Lucca is joined by Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold to discuss Denis and Binoche’s film; then stay tuned for a live Q&A with Denis that followed a sneak preview of the film presented by Film Comment and IFC Films.
May 01, 2018
Musical Performers on Film
00:55:32
While great pipes and a cute face don’t always allow pop stars to instantly become leading men or ladies (witness 2003’s From Justin to Kelly), many musical artists do succeed in bringing a heady mix of charisma and raw talent to the screen. Be it in a bit part or carrying the whole show, these magnificent multi-hyphenates also offer a different type of star text to enrich and complicate their roles. In this episode, FC Digital Producer Violet Lucca discusses the bright lights in the musician-actor galaxy with Eric Hynes, curator of film at the Museum of the Moving Image, and Shonni Enelow, the author of Method Acting and Its Discontents: On American Psycho-drama and assistant professor of English at Fordham University.
Apr 24, 2018
True/False 2018
01:06:52
In the college town of Columbia, Missouri, the True/False Film Fest has grown to become one of the world’s premiere showcases of cutting-edge nonfiction filmmaking. Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold returned to moderate “Toasted,” the festival’s late-night wrap-up event in front of a live, very lively audience, abridged for clarity here as a Film Comment podcast. Rapold was joined by a superlative crew of critics, programmers, and filmmaking talent including Mara Gourd Mercado, general director of Montreal docfest RIDM; Tayler Montague, freelance critic and programmer; Chris Boeckmann and Abby Sun, programmers at True/False; Rok Bicek, director of The Family; and Ashley Clark, senior film programmer at BAMcinématek. The freewheeling discussion kicks off with Bicek discussing The Family before it moves on to Zhang Mengqi’s Self-Portrait: Birth in 47 KM, Reece Auguiste’s Twilight City and the Black Audio Film Collective retrospective, Khalik Allah’s Black Mother, Leilah Weinraub’s SHAKEDOWN, and many more documentaries.
Apr 17, 2018
Lucrecia Martel’s Zama
00:45:02
In honor of the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s retrospective of Lucrecia Martel’s work and theatrical run of Zama, we re-present this episode analyzing the film. Premiered in Venice and screened in last year’s New York Film Festival, Zama marks not only the long-awaited return of Lucrecia Martel, but also her first literary adaptation. Martel expanded on the first-person fever dream of the original 1956 novel by Antonio di Benedetto, whose fans included Roberto Bolaño and Julio Cortázar. This week’s episode of The Film Comment Podcast ruminates on Zama’s novelistic origins with the help of literary translator and CUNY professor Esther Allen, who produced the first English translation of Zama in 2016, for which she won the 2017 National Translation Award in Prose. Allen is joined by Dennis Lim, Director of Programming at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, and Violet Lucca, FC Digital Producer and podcast host, to discuss the subconscious presences Martel might imply beyond the edges of her frames.
Apr 10, 2018
New Directors / New Films 2018
00:51:30
With the ostensible arrival of spring comes the Film Society of Lincoln Center and MoMA’s New Directors/New Films. In this year’s crop the traditions of various genres and national cinemas plays out in often spectacular fashion, as well as up-close-and-personal narratives. FC Digital Producer Violet Lucca is joined by Nicolas Rapold, FC Editor-in-Chief, and Devika Girish, contributor to the magazine, to reflect on those films that caught their eyes, including Our House, Closeness, Good Manners, The Great Buddha +, and more.
Apr 03, 2018
Easter Hams
00:57:14
Just in time for Easter (and a new series celebrating Al Pacino at The Quad), this episode honors an often-misunderstood subcategory of star: hams. Ranging from the amusing to glorious to cringeworthy, these actors call attention to themselves in ways that can overtake and redefine the films they’re performing in. FC Digital Producer Violet Lucca is joined by Ashley Clark, senior programmer of cinema at BAM, and Michael Koresky, editorial director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center, to chew over these over-the-top performers who produce a certain joy that a subtler actor can’t. From cops pontificating about posteriors in Heat to Maine put-down artists in Dolores Claiborne, this gammon-fueled chat is one for the ages.
Mar 27, 2018
Satire’s Funny Like That
00:33:33
In the March/April issue of Film Comment, Lauren Kaminsky wrote about Armando Iannucci’s The Death of Stalin: “a delirious historical mash-up that compiles sometimes independently factual details in utterly counterfactual ways. It can therefore convey nothing about causation and is largely apolitical, but it is a spot-on satire of socialist realism and the authoritarian political culture of high Stalinism.” In our digital age, the prominence of news satire and satirical news has helped make politics more immediate—Iannucci being a prime mover through work like In the Loop and Veep—but the intermingling of humor and facts brings its own complications. FC Digital Producer Violet Lucca spoke with Kaminsky about the Russian humor this film exerts within the context of Anglo-American satire of today’s political events.
Mar 20, 2018
Tell Me
00:47:11
All too often, women’s opinions are considered valuable only in certain situations: when there’s a problem affecting women, when there’s an opportunity to market to women, when there’s a president that is a deeply reactionary sexual predator. Nellie Killian’s series “Tell Me: Women Filmmakers, Women’s Stories” attempts to show the multitude of experiences and issues that come to light when a director takes the simple but radical step of having a woman tell her story to the camera. Spanning several decades as well as a variety of lengths, the 34 films in the series open up a free space for discussion of how issues of class, race, immigration, violence, crime, sex, or “just” being a housewife affect women. Interspersing clips from the films, FC Digital Producer Violet Lucca speaks with Killian, who is also a contributing editor to FC; Farihah Zaman, filmmaker (Remote Area Medical), critic, and Field of Vision Production Manager; and Sierra Pettengill, filmmaker (The Reagan Show) and occasional contributor to Frieze magazine. Films discussed: Soft Fiction, Janie’s Janie, The Women’s Film, Mimi, Suzanne Suzanne, Audience
Mar 13, 2018
Personal Problems (The Movie)
00:50:25
Featuring the talents of Bill Gunn (Ganja & Hess), Vertamae Grosvenor (Daughters of the Dust), Ishmael Reed, and many others, Personal Problems was originally intended as “an experimental soap opera” for WNET, the public broadcast station in New York. It never aired and was thought lost for many years, but the film has been newly restored by Kino Lorber and will be traveling theatrically soon, beginning with a run at Metrograph. Written by Ishmael Reed and shot in 1979, Personal Problems stars Vertamae Grosvenor as Johnnie Mae, a nurse’s aide at Harlem Hospital who’s having an affair behind the back of her uptight transit worker husband Charles (Walter Cotton). In the March/April 2018 issue, Howard Hampton writes about this incredible work, a “motion picture [that] is inventing its language as it goes along—a series of building blocks of different shapes, tones, and materials creating a homemade Cubist mosaic. Personal Problems balances hands-on and hands-off approaches.” Tobi Haslett, contributor to N+1, 4Columns, and The New Yorker, speaks with FC Digital Producer Violet Lucca about this distinctive work.
Mar 06, 2018
The Cinema of Experience II
00:55:59
From the way in which the experiences of African Americans are portrayed on screen, to the way skin color is captured on film, the history of movies and photography is inextricable from race. How do nonwhite, nonmale filmmakers create a language that equalizes a subject? What sort of language and historical practices are required to reflect these perspectives? In this live discussion at Film Comment Selects titled “Race and Representation,” Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold discusses these questions with Antonio Méndez Esparza, director of Life and Nothing More (the opening night film of the series), RaMell Ross, director of Hale County This Morning, This Evening (winner of a prize at Sundance), and Professor Racquel Gates, author of Double Negative: The Black Image and Popular Culture.
Feb 27, 2018
The Rise of Valeska Grisebach
00:36:41
Valeska Grisebach’s extremely precise yet highly naturalistic films take years to make: so far, we have been graced with only three features. In the January/February issue of Film Comment, Haden Guest discusses Grisebach’s process of “radical observation,” as well as her relationship to existing genre forms and aesthetics. Western, Grisebach’s latest film, follows a group of German workers building a hydroelectric plant in the backlands of Bulgaria. Separated by linguistic and cultural differences, one of the German workers—Meinhard—slowly begins to bridge the gap between the two camps. FC Digital Producer Violet Lucca is joined by Film Society of Lincoln Center programmers Dennis Lim and Dan Sullivan and Brooklyn Rail film section co-editor Leo Goldsmith to discuss the film, Grisebach’s filmography, and her relationship to new forms of realism.
Feb 20, 2018
China Goes To The Movies
00:54:23
After being notorious as a “hotbed” of piracy for many years, the Chinese market is now more rightly regarded as the second-largest in the world. In the January/February issue of Film Comment, Nick Pinkerton and Andrew Chan respectively report on Hollywood’s deals with mainland multiplexes and aspiring mogul Jia Zhangke. As the middle class has grown, new venues and festivals seek to satiate their desire for more entertainment options—big, small, or somewhere in-between. In this episode of the podcast, FC Digital Producer Violet Lucca is joined by Andrew Chan, web editor at the Criterion Collection, and Aliza Ma, head programmer at Metrograph, to discuss Chinese film culture, sprawling multiplexes, censorship, and the types of films that do and don’t get made anymore on the Mainland and off. Read Andrew’s feature online: https://www.filmcomment.com/article/jia-zhangke-pingyao-film-festival/
Feb 13, 2018
I Loved It When I Was a Kid
00:56:31
Recent episodes of The Film Comment Podcast have contemplated formative filmmaker obsessions, but what about the movies that struck us much earlier in life? Maybe your parents took you to see it, maybe you flipped by it on cable and couldn’t change the channel, or maybe you had a traumatic brush with the body horror of The Blob too early in life…whatever it is, we revisit our childhood fascinations on this week’s episode, giving us an occasion to reflect on how our tastes and critical faculties might begin to form at a young age, as well as what happens when beloved films may not withstand the test of time. FC Digital Producer Violet Lucca is joined by K. Austin Collins, staff writer for The Ringer; Nicholas Elliott, U.S. correspondent for Cahiers du Cinéma; and Mark Harris, regular contributor to Vulture and the author of FC’s 2017 column “Cinema ‘67 Revisited.”
Feb 06, 2018
Apichatpong Weerasethakul on SLEEPCINEMAHOTEL
00:14:45
One of the most curious entries at this year’s International Film Festival Rotterdam (which runs January 24 to February 4) isn’t a film at all, but a new one-off project by Apichatpong Weerasethakul: SLEEPCINEMAHOTEL. True to the title, this is a fully operational hotel, conceived and designed by Apichatpong in tandem with IFFR curator Edwin Carels and a team of collaborators. Over the festival’s first five nights, guests could reserve (for a 75-euro fee) one of six beds, which are tiered within a tall metal scaffold and flanked by a wall-sized circular screen projecting assorted found footage courtesy of the nearby EYE Filmmuseum and The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision. Complete with bedside tables, lamps, and other accoutrements of a typical hotel—not to mention a fully stocked bar, breakfast options, and a balcony for public viewing—SLEEPCINEMAHOTEL fosters the sleep states so frequently conjured and portrayed in Apichatpong’s films. Film Comment was joined by Apichatpong at the exhibition on its final day to discuss how this unique project came to be, the influences behind the look and feel of the hotel, and how dreams function as a very particular and personal form of cinema.
Feb 01, 2018
Let’s Eat
00:53:00
Food is versatile on film. Consider the ways it’s used in Tampopo, Daisies, Babette’s Feast, and The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover. This week’s episode of The Film Comment Podcast contends with how its significance varies with each story—both in the film and for the viewer. Each FC contributor—Michael Koresky, Editorial Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center; Aliza Ma, Head Programmer at Metrograph; and Mayukh Sen, Staff Writer at Vice’s Munchies—talks about one film that reminds them of cooking while growing up, and another that simply makes them hungry. A meal could evoke the power dynamics of desire, the familial elements of grief, or even a Marxist critique of capitalism… all while looking deee-licious.
Jan 30, 2018
Sundance 2018: Day Seven
00:51:23
It’s Sundance, day seven! FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold is joined by Amy Taubin, FC contributing editor and Sundance veteran, to discuss the evolution of the festival over the years and, of course, what they’ve seen. Taubin touches on the problematic nature of Jennifer Fox’s The Tale, argues for the intelligence of Craig Michael Macneill’s Lizzie, and praises Crystal Moselle’s skater-girl-driven Skate Kitchen. Other films covered include Robert Greene’s hybrid reenactment drama Bisbee ’17, Reed Morano’s postapocalyptic I Think We’re Alone Now, Claire McCarthy’s Shakespeare-expansion Ophelia, Betsy West and Julie Cohen’s RBG (about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg), Nathaniel Kahn’s art world doc The Price of Everything. The Film Comment Podcast from Sundance is sponsored by Autograph Collection Hotels.
Jan 24, 2018
Steve James
00:23:22
Steve James returns to Sundance this week to present the first half of his ten-part miniseries America to Me, set to premiere in full this fall. James tells the story of Oak Park and River Forest High School, a well-funded, diverse public school in suburban Chicago, through the experiences of several of its students. By immersing viewers in the lives of his subjects, who encompass a range of personality types and grade levels, James vies for a comprehensive portrait of the school’s ecosystem, with particular attention given to its disparities across racial and academic backgrounds. In this episode of The Film Comment Podcast, James sits down with Eric Hynes, FC contributor and Curator of Film at the Museum of the Moving Image, to talk about the production process and his own experiences living in the community in which it’s set.
Jan 23, 2018
Sundance 2018: Day Six
00:36:35
We’re still going strong as we continue into our second week! FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold and Eric Hynes, FC contributor and Curator of Film at Museum of the Moving Image are joined by special guest April Wolfe for a rousing discussion of Sam Green’s A Thousand Thoughts, documentarian-turned-narrative-filmmaker Jennifer Fox’s candid The Tale, Desiree Akhavan’s adaptation of The Miseducation of Cameron Post, and Panos Cosmatos’s Mandy. The Film Comment Podcast from Sundance is sponsored by Autograph Collection Hotels.
Jan 23, 2018
Sebastián Silva
00:21:31
In this Film Comment Podcast transmission from Park City, Sundance regular Sebastián Silva discusses his latest film, Tyrel, which had its world premiere on Saturday. Shot in anamorphic handheld by the DP of Post Tenebras Lux and The Florida Project, Alexis Zabe, the film follows Tyler (Jason Mitchell) as he accompanies his friend Johnny (Charlie Abbott) to a weekend birthday retreat in upstate New York. There, Tyler finds himself the only black person among a pack of heavily drinking white bros, with Caleb Landry Jones and Michael Cera among them. Silva chats with FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold about leaving the story open enough to allow for ambiguity, liberal white guilt, and certain nuances that might jump out at American audiences. The Film Comment Podcast from Sundance is sponsored by Autograph Collection Hotels.
Jan 22, 2018
Sundance 2018: Day Five
00:32:20
As the first weekend of Sundance comes to an end, FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold and Eric Hynes, FC contributor and Curator of Film at Museum of the Moving Image, discuss the white privilege and bacchanalia of Sebastián Silva’s disorienting Tyrel, Ethan Hawke’s biopic of heavy-drinking country singer/songwriter Blaze Foley, Gustav Möller’s gimmicky debut thriller The Guilty, and the joyousness and charm of Sandi Tan’s first-person Singapore-set documentary Shirkers. The Film Comment Podcast from Sundance is sponsored by Autograph Collection Hotels.
Jan 22, 2018
Sundance 2018: Day Four
00:29:06
It’s day four and we’re still going strong! In this episode, Nicolas Rapold, FC Editor-in-Chief and Eric Hynes, FC contributor and Curator of Film at Museum of the Moving Image, discuss the social media hell of Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade, Craig William Macneill’s ascetic biopic of Lizzie Borden, the vampirism of Sundance, and the economic unhappiness of Paul Dano’s Wildlife. The Film Comment Podcast from Sundance is sponsored by Autograph Collection Hotels.
Jan 21, 2018
Sundance 2018: Day Three
00:36:42
It’s Sundance, day three! On this (snowier) edition of our daily Sundance 2017 podcast, FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold and Eric Hynes, FC contributor and Curator of Film at Museum of the Moving Image, discuss three more films—Gus Van Sant’s Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot, RaMell Ross’s Hale County This Morning, This Evening, and Stephen Laing’s Crime + Punishment—with a word or two for Reinaldo Marcus Green’s New York triptych Monsters and Men. The Film Comment Podcast from Sundance is sponsored by Autograph Collection Hotels.
Jan 20, 2018
Sundance 2018: Day Two
00:30:10
It’s Sundance, day two! On this edition of our daily Sundance 2017 podcast, FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold and Eric Hynes, FC contributor and Curator of Film at Museum of the Moving Image, discuss three new films—Tamara Jenkins’s Private Life, Maxim Pozdorovkin’s Our New President, and Elan and Jonathan Bogarin’s 306 Hollywood—as well as the weather and the experience of moviegoing at this unique festival. The Film Comment Podcast from Sundance is sponsored by Autograph Collection Hotels.
Jan 19, 2018
Sundance 2018: Day One
00:29:44
Before the madness begins, Film Comment kicks things off with a glimpse of what to expect from the hectic experience that is the Sundance Film Festival—how it sets the tone for the coming year and what it means to cinema lovers. Join Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold and Eric Hynes, FC contributor and Curator of Film at Museum of the Moving Image, every day during the festival at noon. They will discuss what they’ve seen, what they hope to see, and everything in between. The Film Comment Podcast from Sundance is sponsored by Autograph Collection Hotels
Jan 18, 2018
Good Soundtrack, Bad Movie
01:08:54
“Can a meretricious, inane movie with nothing else to recommend it produce a radiant, rousing film score?” asks Gary Giddins in “Rolling Thunder,” the January/February 2018 edition of Film Comment‘s “Playing Along” column. “Very rarely,” he answers. Although Giddins isolates Franz Waxman’s score for Taras Bulba as a specific example, the guests on this week’s episode of the Film Comment Podcast each provide a couple more, which led to reminiscences about genre sampler OSTs, unlikely pop music cues, and whether or not Steven Spielberg’s idea of humor is just…shouting. For this conversation, FC Digital Producer Violet Lucca is joined by Tom Scharpling, host of The Best Show, and frequent FC contributors Margaret Barton-Fumo and Nick Pinkerton.
Jan 16, 2018
Phantom Thread
00:34:01
“In Paul Thomas Anderson’s work, love can be—quite literally—a miracle,” writes Sheila O’Malley in her January/February 2018 Film Comment cover story, “Love, After a Fashion.” “People are scarred by life, their emotional resilience decimated by disappointments and neglect. But sometimes love is offered and, as Blanche DuBois says, famously, in A Streetcar Named Desire: ‘Sometimes—there’s God—so quickly!’ That’s the redemptive romantic journey of Phantom Thread, where Reynolds says to Alma at one point that she may very well keep his ‘sour heart from choking.’” Of course, Phantom Thread is no familiar story of redemption through romance. O’Malley joins FC Digital Producer Violet Lucca on this week’s Film Comment Podcast to discuss its beguiling, and even radical, twist on a love story.
Jan 09, 2018
Reckoning With Misogyny
01:05:27
Stories about Harvey Weinstein’s misconduct and cover-ups have opened the floodgates of revelations about other figures in the entertainment industry and beyond. Victims have finally been able to come forward and be heard, while the #metoo movement has fueled conversation and action, amidst an Internet outrage machine that can cheapen dialogue. In this episode of The Film Comment Podcast, Digital Producer Violet Lucca was joined by Molly Haskell, author of the landmark 1974 text From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in the Movies and regular critic to Film Comment; Monica Castillo, the film writer for The New York Times’s Watching; and Aliza Ma, head programmer at the Metrograph Theater, for an in-depth conversation about the implications of this historic moment. Purchase our feminist film anthology in our app: https://reader.filmcomment.com/contents_page/table-of-contents-feminist-film/pugpig_index.html
Jan 02, 2018
Steve Bannon (Most Popular of 2017)
00:52:12
As filmmaker and critic Jeff Reichert put it in his January/February 2017 Film Comment feature on Steve Bannon’s documentary work, “We could dismiss Bannon as the Rainer Werner Fassbinder of shoddily made straight-to-video white supremacist documentary. But his tactics have helped put Trump in the White House, so what can we learn about Bannon or America from watching them?” This episode of the Film Comment podcast tackles that very question. Reichert, along with Chapo Trap House podcast co-host Will Menaker and FC Digital Producer Violet Lucca, looks back on Bannon’s nine films released under the “Citizens United” banner. It goes without saying that there’s a lot to talk about regarding their unlikely aesthetic sensibility (sales presentation meets Leni Riefenstahl meets Michael Bay meets Vic Berger ECUs) and their characterizations of history and reality. The panel also digs into the past 15 years of political documentary on the right and the left (hello, Adam Curtis!), including the ways in which filmmakers package narratives, fact-check their material, and consider their audiences.
Dec 26, 2017
Sleepover, or, The Comfort of Movies
01:11:29
Sleepovers offer kids a special opportunity to hang out with their friends largely unsupervised, free to chat and dream way after bedtime. The types of films that can be discovered—and obsessively re-watched—during the wee small hours of the morning can frighten, enlighten, or amuse, which is why it’s a natural subject for this podcast. Film Comment Digital Producer Violet Lucca was joined by Nellie Killian, film programmer and FC Contributing Editor; Michael Koresky, Editorial Director at the Film Society of Lincoln Center; and Andrew Chan, Web Editor for the Criterion Collection. Pull up a pillow and listen!
Dec 20, 2017
Best Films of 2017
01:01:02
As another year of moviegoing comes to a close, relax by your fire or space heater with the results of the annual Film Comment critics’ poll! The top ten theatrical releases of the year, in the humble opinion of FC contributors and editors, are unveiled on this week’s podcast by Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold, Film Society Editorial Director Michael Koresky, and Digital Producer Violet Lucca. In addition to discussing what stood out (or might have been flawed) about the top-voted films, each critic also shares a film they wish had made the cut—lists have their limits, so think of ours as a way of starting a conversation about the year in film. Visit filmcomment.com/best-of-2017 to see the full results.
Dec 12, 2017
Formative Filmmakers (Part Two)
00:54:18
Picking up where we left off last week, this week’s episode travels further down cinephilic memory lane…or should we say, further forward. We check back in with the panel from Formative Filmmakers Part One—Nick Davis, professor of film, literature, and gender studies at Northwestern; Girish Shambu, author of The New Cinephilia and the September/October FC feature on immigration cinema “A Double Life”; Michael Koresky, Director of Editorial and Creative Strategy at the Film Society of Lincoln Center; and Violet Lucca, Film Comment Digital Producer and podcast host—to dive deep into their memories of another early favorite filmmaker. This time, the critics move away from their earliest fascinations toward the directors they found later in life, especially ones who might have redefined their preconceived notions about the medium. Héctor Babenco, Brian De Palma, Oliver Stone, and Abbas Kiarostami all crop up in this half.
Dec 05, 2017
Formative Directors (Part One)
00:47:42
There’s nothing like first love, especially when it’s projected on the silver screen. This week’s episode of the podcast revisits formative cinematic fascinations—one director who kickstarted cinephilia at a young age, and another who reinvigorated and maybe even recontextualized the passion a bit later down the road. This week’s participants—Nick Davis, professor of film, literature, and gender studies at Northwestern; Girish Shambu, author of The New Cinephilia and the September/October FC feature on immigration cinema “A Double Life”; Michael Koresky, Director of Editorial and Creative Strategy at the Film Society of Lincoln Center; and Violet Lucca, Film Comment Digital Producer and podcast host—took a breather between TIFF screenings to discuss their favorites, as well as how their emotions have evolved with (or been challenged by) the passage of time. Jane Campion, Manmohan Desai, Ingmar Bergman, and Quentin Tarantino make this half!
Nov 28, 2017
Film Comment Podcast Tales From The Campus Film Society
00:46:09
Nick Pinkerton’s feature in the new issue, “The Golden Age of Campus Film Societies,” serves as a point of departure for a discussion on the role of campus film culture in shaping cinephilia. In this podcast, Dave Kehr, author and curator of film at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, and film critic J. Hoberman talk to Pinkerton about their experiences in campus film culture. Campus film societies not only made international arthouse films available around the country, they also served as battlegrounds for competing ideas about film before the advent of academic cinema studies. In this way, campus film societies were formative for generations of cinephiles and film critics. Kehr, Hoberman, and Pinkerton join FC Digital Producer Violet Lucca to discuss the significance of campus film societies and the future of their impact.
Nov 21, 2017
David Bordwell’s Reinventing Hollywood
00:58:32
This week, The Film Comment Podcast welcomes back seminal critic David Bordwell to discuss his new book Reinventing Hollywood: How 1940s Filmmakers Changed Movie Storytelling. Instead of approaching the decade through the lens of one genre or auteur, Bordwell thinks about the stylistic hallmarks that distinguished the decade—for example, screenwriting conventions like flashbacks—and how they paved the way for the classical Hollywood form we might take for granted today. Bordwell joins Imogen Sara Smith, frequent FC and Criterion contributor, and Violet Lucca, FC Digital Producer and podcast moderator, for a journey into (and even Out of) the cinematic past.
Nov 14, 2017
101 Episodes + Ruben Östlund
00:48:52
Have we passed 100 episodes already? Apparently so! This week, we invite listeners to look back at some of the most memorable moments of The Film Comment Podcast, including choice blurts from Kent Jones, Amy Taubin, Maitland McDonagh, Molly Haskell, Nick Pinkerton, and other special guests. We also look forward with FC Digital Producer Violet Lucca’s interview with Ruben Östlund about The Square, what it means to be Swedish, and the power of YouTube.
Nov 07, 2017
Tobe Hooper
01:15:41
This Halloween, The Film Comment Podcast salutes a filmmaker whose work, according to the British Board of Film Classification, exemplified the “pornography of terror.” The panel—Ina Archer, media conservation and digitization assistant at the Smithsonian National African-American Museum of History and Culture; Margaret Barton-Fumo, longtime FC contributor and editor of Paul Verhoeven: Interviews; and Michael Koresky, Director of Editorial and Creative Strategy at the Film Society of Lincoln Center—convenes to remember the eclectic body of work of Tobe Hooper, who passed away earlier this year. Pick your poison, whether it’s television static, or carnivorous crocodiles, or Stephen King miniseries, or meat hooks… and don’t get us started on Lifeforce. As always, FC Digital Producer Violet Lucca moderates the conversation.
Oct 31, 2017
Lucrecia Martel’s Zama
00:45:17
Premiered in Venice and recently screened in the New York Film Festival, Zama marks not only the long-awaited return of Lucrecia Martel, but also her first literary adaptation. Martel expanded on the first-person fever dream of the original 1956 novel by Antonio Di Benedetto, whose fans included Roberto Bolaño and Julio Cortázar. This week’s episode of The Film Comment Podcast ruminates on Zama’s novelistic origins with the help of literary translator and CUNY professor Esther Allen, who produced the first English translation of Zama in 2016, for which she won the 2017 National Translation Award in Prose. Allen is joined by Dennis Lim, Director of Programming at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, and Violet Lucca, FC Digital Producer and podcast host, to discuss the subconscious presences Martel might imply beyond the edges of her frames.
Oct 24, 2017
Armando Iannucci
00:20:28
Armando Iannucci has long had a genius for the absurdity of global politics, from his work on the satirical news program On the Hour in the 1990s, to the British ministry antics of The Thick of It, to his HBO series Veep. But his new film, The Death of Stalin, set amidst the immediate and ridiculous aftermath of the Soviet leader’s death in 1953, comes at a time when the political situation in America and abroad has become all too absurd. Iannucci discusses the current presidential administration, as well as the way in which humor can naturally arise from terror, in this bonus episode of The Film Comment Podcast. The Death of Stalin opens today in the U.K. and will be released in the U.S. early next year by IFC Films.
Oct 20, 2017
NYFF 2017 Live Roundtable
00:48:50
At the conclusion of the 55th New York Film Festival, Film Comment gathered together a panel of contributors and critics for one final live roundtable. For this “Festival Wrap” talk, the critics discussed festival favorites and curiosities, including films by Lucrecia Martel, Claire Denis, Ruben Östlund, Valeska Grisebach, and more. The critics weighing in this time around are Nellie Killian, programmer and Film Comment contributing editor; Michael Koresky, Director of Editorial and Creative Strategy at the Film Society of Lincoln Center; Aliza Ma, head of programming at Metrograph; and Wesley Morris, critic-at-large for the New York Times. As always, FC Digital Producer Violet Lucca moderates and shares her thoughts.
Oct 17, 2017
The Cinema of Experience
00:50:09
In this special live episode of the podcast, moderated by Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold, panelists Teo Bugbee (The New York Times contributor), writer-programmer Ashley Clark (BAMcinématek), and writer-filmmaker Farihah Zaman (Field of Vision) discuss how cinematic technique is used to reflect nonwhite perspectives and stories of immigration, and what is different about the latest generation of storytelling.
Oct 10, 2017
Steven Spielberg
00:55:21
Looking ahead to the New York Film Festival premiere of Susan Lacy’s documentary Spielberg, this week’s Film Comment podcast considers the household-name auteur: the architect of the modern blockbuster, and a surviving (and thriving) master of the Classical Hollywood vernacular. Molly Haskell is on hand to impart wisdom from her most recent book Steven Spielberg: A Life in Films, which came out in the spring, as well as firsthand recollections of writing about Spielberg in the age of second-wave feminism. She joins Film Society of Lincoln Center Editorial Director Michael Koresky, who edited the Reverse Shot book Steven Spielberg: Nostalgia and the Light, published with Museum of the Moving Image this summer, and FC Digital Producer Violet Lucca for a discussion spanning Spielberg’s big marquee titles and his less appreciated works.
Oct 03, 2017
Bonus: Darren Aronofsky
00:31:46
This week, The Film Comment Podcast hosts a very special guest, himself a choreographer of uninvited guests on their worst behavior. A longtime practitioners of his own strain of emotional extremity, Darren Aronofsky sat for an interview to discuss his new film mother! with FC Editor Nicolas Rapold. Instead of allegorical exegesis, the conversation covers the film’s technical craft and its intense subjectivity, as well as what Aronofsky learned from his college professor…Miklós Jancsó. You can listen below, as long as you don’t overstay your welcome and dislodge an unbraced sink.
Oct 02, 2017
Robert Mitchum
00:55:15
The centerpiece retrospective of this year’s New York Film Festival celebrates the centenary of Robert Mitchum, paragon of fatalist cool. In her September/October ’17 Film Comment feature “Running Deep,” Imogen Sara Smith observes that Mitchum’s acting “goes on under the surface: amusement, sadness, anger, or banked-down warmth seep through his face the way coals glow through a layer of ash when you blow on them. To think of him ‘accessing emotion’ or ‘creating a character’ feels wrong.” This week, each critic—Smith, NYFF Director and Mitchum retrospective co-programmer Kent Jones, and FC Editorial Assistant and frequent TCM Diarist Steven Mears—brings in a Mitchum performance to delve into. Even if Mitchum self-deprecatingly claimed that he favored the Smirnoff method over Stanislavski, every example deepens our sense of the creative skill set that he kept close to the vest throughout his career. As always, FC Digital Producer Violet Lucca hosts and moderates.
Sep 26, 2017
Twin Peaks: The Return
00:40:25
This week’s Film Comment podcast requires very little introduction beyond the topic—Twin Peaks: The Return, a work that is both a heartfelt refraction of David Lynch’s 50 years of creative output and a medium-reshaping beast unto itself. But rather than presume that 45 minutes is enough time to hone in on any single airtight interpretation (or that it would be any fun to do so), the goal is to strike an analytical balance, seeking useful context while allowing the dream to remain a dream. From some subconscious alcove above a convenience store, FC Digital Producer Violet Lucca speaks with Dennis Lim, Director of Programming at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and author of David Lynch: The Man from Another Place, about Lynch and the recent 18-episode run.
Sep 20, 2017
Live From TIFF ’17
01:13:37
With every festival comes a new round of roundtables, so if you couldn’t make it to this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, you can still listen to this week’s episode of the podcast and start planning ahead for when the lineup comes to a theater or streaming service near you. And luckily, the talking points of this year’s TIFF are varied: the highly anticipated return of Lucrecia Martel; adventurous new films from familiar faces like Alexander Payne and Darren Aronofsky; and mesmerizing documentary work from Wang Bing, Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor. Film Comment Digital Producer Violet Lucca discusses and debates the selection with a panel of FC contributors, including Eric Hynes, associate curator of film at the Museum of the Moving Image; Aliza Ma, head of programming at Metrograph; Adam Nayman, Cinema Scope contributor; Nick Pinkerton, member of the New York Film Critics Circle; and Michael Koresky, Director of Editorial and Creative Strategy at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
Sep 13, 2017
Mudbound
00:48:41
Screening in the New York Film Festival a little over a month after the white supremacist horror in Charlottesville, Dee Rees’s Mudbound has a shocking urgency. Charting the relationship between a black sharecropping family and a white landowning family in Mississippi during and immediately after World War II, the film is truly epic in scale and theme. In the new issue, Ashley Clark, senior programmer of cinema at BAM and frequent Film Comment contributor, writes “Mudbound is thrillingly ambitious and complex, and features daring experimental flourishes, including a multicharacter narration that, while initially a touch overbearing, ultimately lends the film an apposite epistolary quality—repressed characters who are physically or emotionally adrift from their families are given voice, to powerful dramatic effect.” In this episode, FC Digital Producer Violet Lucca is joined by Clark and Eric Hynes, associate film curator at Museum of the Moving Image in New York, to discuss the film.
Sep 05, 2017
Revenge Of Movie Gifts
01:16:05
In May, we premiered our very first gift-giving episode. In it, each critic chose two films for another participant to experience for the first time. The first was a film that they’d be interested in hearing that person talk about; the second was a film that they thought the other might genuinely like. It didn’t always work out that way, though. To continue the tradition, we offer a very special gift-giving episode in reverse order, and our resulting conversation runs the gamut from Andrew Dice Clay to Stephen Chow to Barbra Streisand. As you’ll hear, sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish which film was intended to amuse and which aimed to abuse, but each gift gave way to surprising appreciation and lively conversation. FC Digital Producer Violet Lucca is joined by Michael Koresky, Editorial Director at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, Nick Pinkerton, regular contributor to Film Comment, and Aliza Ma, Head of Programming at Metrograph.
Aug 29, 2017
Nocturama + Terrorism
00:58:35
Reducing Bertrand Bonello’s Nocturama to a straightforward psychological reading barely scratches the surface—which is exactly what makes the film a productive starting point for this week’s Film Comment Podcast. When setting out to make a film depicting terrorism, filmmakers must thoughtfully parse out aesthetic choices about narrative tone and character intentionality, while also being mindful of the potential impact of historical memory. FC Digital Editor Violet Lucca is joined by Aliza Ma, head programmer at Metrograph, and Jeff Reichert, filmmaker and co-editor of Reverse Shot, to look at a few specific approaches spanning national and historical contexts—a varied sample set, from Olivier Assayas to Paul Greengrass to Japanese director Kazuhiko Hasegawa.
Aug 22, 2017
Jeanne Moreau
00:36:20
In memory of Jeanne Moreau (1928-2017), this week’s podcast offers up a selection of previously unreleased interviews with the legendary actress and director. Writer Andréa R. Vaucher takes us through her series of conversations with Moreau—her first being an interview published in Film Comment (March/April 1990)—in which she shares Moreau’s stories and philosophies of acting and directing, Truffaut and Friedkin, the French New Wave and the sexual revolution, and even Orson Welles’s The Deep. A Words & Deeds production; produced, engineered, and directed by David Bloom. Read the original interview here: https://www.filmcomment.com/article/interview-jeanne-moreau/
Aug 15, 2017
Summer of ’77
00:49:11
“What holds the movies of 1977 together beyond a coincidence of the calendar?” asks J.D. Connor, writing on the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s ’77 series, which runs through August 24. “Is there something in the zeitgeist animating both Suspiria and Smokey and the Bandit? Slap Shot and Ceddo? Killer of Sheep and The Car? Probably not. But they might be held together in more abstract ways…range widely enough and you will also gain a sense of what the aesthetic limits of cinema were, what enforced them, and where the energy to bust them apart was coming from.” In the spirit of the episode from last summer that returned to the summer of ’66, here we look back on Connor’s “coincidence of the calendar,” which produced the cinema of 1977. Maitland McDonagh, author of Broken Mirrors/Broken Minds: The Dark Dreams of Dario Argento and publisher of 120 Days Books, shares her memories of moviegoing in seventies Times Square and shares her insights on horror classics that premiered in ’77, including The Hills Have Eyes, Suspiria, and Exorcist II: The Heretic. She’s joined by longtime Film Comment contributor Margaret Barton-Fumo, editor of Paul Verhoeven: Interviews, and FC Digital Producer Violet Lucca for a conversation that also touches on The American Friend, Sorcerer, and 3 Women . . . and speculates on the appeal of the year’s top-grossing film, Star Wars.
Aug 08, 2017
Yvonne Rainer
00:32:19
“Championed by Annette Michelson, B. Ruby Rich, and many others, [Yvonne] Rainer’s films are densely verbose, elusive, dryly comic, furious, fractured, and intimately concerned with addressing a variety of injustices beyond the concerns of feminism, from ageism to gentrification to mental illness,” writes Film Comment Digital Producer Violet Lucca in her July/August print feature “Moving Beyond.” “Each work turns received notions of form and feminist praxis on their heads, talking out solutions to (or just expressing frustration at) extremely large problems, and using anecdotes to illustrate how desire and power influence all aspects of our lives.” On the occasion of the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s retrospective of her films, Rainer, 82, joined Lucca for a conversation ranging across her varied and dynamic career—her choreography and radical dance work, her cinema’s aesthetic approaches to examining privilege, and her interactions with second- and third-wave feminist circles.
Aug 01, 2017
Good Time
00:46:44
As Eric Hynes wrote in the cover story of our July/August issue, “At their best, the Safdies’ films don’t just mooch off the city’s story surplus—they also feed into it, contributing truly odd, activated extensions of urban life.” Their latest, Good Time, is no exception. In conversation with their lead actor Robert Pattinson, co-writer Ronald Bronstein, and Film Comment editor Nicolas Rapold at a special sneak preview, the filmmakers delineate and riff on the alchemic creation of a criminal anti-hero. Actively engaged in their native New York’s alternate (and everyday) realities, the Safdie Brothers trace the six-year long journey from the conception of to the making of Good Time—from a first encounter with Norman Mailer’s Executioner’s Song and binge-watched episodes of Cops to news of Richard Matt and David Sweat’s prison-break and the initial hard-core-addict look of Pattinson’s character.
Jul 27, 2017
Location, Location, Location
00:57:01
Plenty of films open with an establishing shot of a city's iconic skyline, or of a few iconic barns, only to go on and use the location as an anonymous backdrop. But few and far between are films that actually use the specificity that comes from location shooting to express something about the city's history, the characters, and the story itself. The cover story of our July/August issue is the Safdie Brothers’ Good Time—a New York film through and through—and in the same issue’s Art and Craft column, we asked veteran location manager Ken Lavet to reflect on the art of scouting for Steven Soderbergh and other filmmakers. "It always starts with the story—whether it's in a beat sheet form or a script or a treatment of some kind,” Lavet writes. “Hopefully I get some description from the screenwriter—of, say, a house, or an apartment building, or an office. And I start looking with that in mind." In this episode, Film Comment contributors Nick Pinkerton, Eric Hynes, and Margaret Barton-Fumo join Digital Producer Violet Lucca to discuss a film shot in their hometown, and access how each film interfaces with their lived experience of those places.
Jul 18, 2017
Wanda. Woman.
00:57:20
As David Thomson succinctly puts it in the July/August issue, "Wanda is the kind of person who didn’t and still doesn’t get into American movies (unless she’s got a few dollars for a ticket)." Based on a newspaper story about a woman convicted of robbery who thanked the judge for sentencing her to jail for 20 years, Wanda is an unapologetic look at life in America's coal country starring its director and writer, Barbara Loden. Still relatively hard to see, the 1970 film has experienced a(nother) recent critical resurgence thanks in part to Nathalie Léger's book about the film, which charts the writer’s quest to discover more about Loden's life and the soul-searching that ensues. In this episode, Film Comment Digital Producer Violet Lucca is joined by Shonni Enelow, author of Method Acting and Its Discontent, and regular FC contributors Nick Pinkerton and Margaret Barton-Fumo.
Jul 11, 2017
Independents Day
00:56:04
What do we talk about when we talk about independent film? At various points it’s referred to a freedom of style, or it’s been shorthand for a low-budget film outside of the studio system. In his Cannes coverage, Kent Jones cites Larry Gross’s prophetic declaration that independent film would go from an “actual economic position within the film industry to pure marketing speak.” Nevertheless, filmmakers across the country (yes, in between L.A. and New York!) are still making films with humor and velocity, even, maybe especially, as the cultural and economic conditions become ever more precarious. Rather than retrace the well-trod mythology of independent film history, the contributors to this episode of The Film Comment Podcast have selected a few contemporary independent filmmakers—from Anna Biller to the Safdie Brothers—and some favorite practitioners from years past. Participants: Nellie Killian, Senior Programmer at BAMcinématek; Gina Telaroli, filmmaker, critic, and archivist; Violet Lucca, digital producer at Film Comment; and Nicolas Rapold, Editor of Film Comment.
Jul 04, 2017
Bad Scenes in Good Movies, Good Scenes in Bad Movies
01:11:13
We expect that discrete scenes will play off of one another to create any given feature film, but what happens when one of these moments tugs the narrative in an unexpected direction? Sometimes the moment works, and sometimes it doesn’t—and in the context of a bad film, the misfires might even indicate the possibility of a better film lurking within. There’s also a certain how-did-this-happen fascination in finding a truly awful moment in an otherwise excellent film, suggesting that—surprise—perhaps art isn’t a matter of perfection. This week’s episode of The Film Comment Podcast considers these moments of dissonance and what alternate narrative realities and artistic impulses they might indicate… for better or for worse. To ruminate on these nuances, FC Digital Producer Violet Lucca asks this week’s participants—Ashley Clark, programmer and FC contributor; Shonni Enelow, author of Method Acting and Its Discontents; and Michael Koresky, Director of Editorial and Creative Strategy at the Film Society of Lincoln Center—to bring in case studies of good scenes in bad films and bad scenes in good films.
Jun 27, 2017
Streaming vs. Theatrical
00:57:48
Having programmed two high-profile Netflix premieres, Bong Joon Ho’s Okja and Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected), in the main competition, Cannes was shadowed by a debate over distribution—theatrical versus streaming—and the role of heavyweight newcomers Amazon and Netflix. The controversy placed streaming services in direct opposition to cinemas, but the shifting landscape is more complex; for one, Amazon also distributes its titles with more conventional theatrical rollouts, and the same-day VOD release model doesn’t apply to every Amazon title in the market. This episode of The Film Comment Podcast focuses not only on streaming, but also on the interactions between global markets and studios, film critics and consumers, and cinephiles and local art house circuits—and why it’s difficult to make a monolithic statement about what the future holds. Daniel Loría, Editorial Director of Box Office Magazine, and Nick Pinkerton, member of the New York Film Critics Circle, offer up their insights in conversation with FC Digital Producer Violet Lucca.
Jun 20, 2017
Movie Addictions
01:06:04
Maybe it’s the magnetic pull of a performance, a sequence, or a mood, but there are some movies that demand multiple rewatches. This episode of the podcast samples some films that keep our critics coming back, and here—staring at last into the abyss of compulsive movie love—they do some soul-searching as to why they resonate so strongly. Questions of childhood nostalgia or perfect timing enter the mix, as well as how personal responses to a film might shift over time. FC Digital Producer Violet Lucca offers a couple of “movie addictions” with Ashley Clark, regular Film Comment contributor; K. Austin Collins, staff writer for The Ringer; and Michael Koresky, Director of Creative and Editorial Strategy at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
Jun 13, 2017
Fassbinder’s Eight Hours Don’t Make A Day
00:55:10
Did the golden age of television already happen? This episode of the podcast makes the case that it has—in 1970s Germany, courtesy of the one and only R.W. Fassbinder. In her feature in the May/June issue, Aliza Ma tackles Fassbinder’s recently restored and rediscovered Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day, the nearly eight-hour series the auteur wrote and shot at a crucial moment in his career. The ensemble story involves the friends and family of a worker in a machine parts factory as he slowly mobilizes colleagues against the management. Ma writes: “With Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day, Fassbinder channels his unique capacity for self-interrogation and curiosity about new social modes of existence into mass media, proving—at least for five episodes—that it is possible to create popular entertainment that manages to be multifaceted, provocative, and meaningful.” Film Comment Digital Producer Violet Lucca was joined by Ma, head of programming at Metrograph, and Nick Pinkerton, regular FC contributor, to bask in the complexities and pleasures of this newly essential addition to the Fassbinder oeuvre.
Jun 05, 2017
Cannes 2017 Roundtable #2
00:45:50
The agony and the ecstasy of festivalgoing continues on this week’s episode. In the second week of Cannes, two television shows by established auteurs—Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake and David Lynch’s Twin Peaks—premiered, along with grittier indie fare, like Josh and Benny Safdie’s Good Time and Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here. Film Comment Editor Nicolas Rapold was joined by contributing editors Amy Taubin and Jonathan Romney, as well as Jordan Cronk, co-founder of the Locarno in Los Angeles Film Festival, to discuss the standouts and the failures.
May 30, 2017
Cannes 2017 Roundtable #1
00:59:45
The dark of the theater and the sunny seafront come together but once a year at the Cannes Film Festival, and in this week's episode of the Film Comment Podcast, the critics weigh in live from the south of France on the slate's standouts, surprises, and offenses so far. Film Comment Editor Nicolas Rapold chats with a roundtable—namely Jordan Cronk, co-founder of the Locarno in Los Angeles Film Festival; Nicholas Elliott, New York correspondent for Cahiers du Cinéma and contributing film editor for BOMB; and FC Contributing Editors Jonathan Romney and Amy Taubin—about the first week of screenings, including Claire Denis's Un beau soleil intérieur, Agnès Varda and JR's Visages Villages, Bong Joon-ho's Okja, Ruben Östlund's The Square, and Michael Haneke's Happy End.
May 23, 2017
Musicals! The Podcast
01:17:56
There's one alliterative movie musical that's dominated the recent conversational limelight, but less frequently discussed is how it operates within the genre. In this spirit, Michael Koresky, Director of Editorial and Creative Strategy at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, uses La La Land as a starting point to delve into the form of the movie musical in his May/June Film Comment feature "Working It" As a second act, this week's episode of the FC podcast expands the sample set of movie musicals—each panelist brings in a favorite classic musical, as well as a newer musical that pushes the form forward—to look at a wider variety of global cinemas, performance techniques, and ways of deploying music in the narrative. To talk it over—and sing it out—FC Digital Producer Violet Lucca joins Koresky; Andrew Chan, Web Editor for the Criterion Collection; and Eric Hynes, Associate Curator of Film at the Museum of the Moving Image.
May 16, 2017
1984
00:34:29
Following a free screening of Michael Radford's adaptation of 1984 in early April as part of a nationwide event, Film Comment Editor Nicolas Rapold moderated a panel discussion about present-day doublespeak and dystopia. This week's episode of the FC podcast presents the conversation, which took place at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Using the film's aesthetics and narrative as a starting point, the panel—featuring critic and curator Ashley Clark; filmmaker Petra Epperlein, director of the Stasi documentary Karl Marx City; and New York Magazine book critic Christian Lorentzen—considers the Trump administration's manipulations of memory, motifs in modern dystopian literature and film, the role of media in public discourse in the UK and Russia, and how Orwell's original text resonates in 2017.
May 09, 2017
Movie Gifts
01:19:43
To celebrate the 55th birthday of our magazine, we present a special gift-giving episode of the podcast. The gifts in this case are movies: as in a Secret Snowflake office gift exchange, each critic gave two films to another participant that the recipient hadn’t seen before. One was a film that they’d be interested in hearing that person talk about; the other, a film that was just for fun. As you’ll hear, some gifts were more appreciated than others—but each of the viewings yielded a fascinating discussion. Along with Film Comment Digital Producer Violet Lucca, the gift-givers/recipients included Michael Koresky, the Director of Editorial and Creative Strategy at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, Nick Pinkerton, regular contributor to Film Comment, and Aliza Ma, head of programming at Metrograph.
May 02, 2017
Art Of The Real 2017
00:34:32
This week's episode of the Film Comment podcast takes a sonic journey through this year's edition of Art of the Real, which runs through May 2 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. First, FC Digital Producer Violet Lucca speaks with AotR co-programmer Rachael Rakes about searching for formally daring new nonfiction work, as well as the preconceptions people bring to concepts like "film," "entertainment," and "art." Then, Lucca delves into the stylistic and structural intricacies of three festival selections—Patric Chiha's Brothers of the Night, Robinson Devor's Pow Wow, and Shengze Zhu's Another Year—to explore the range of techniques and stories on view. Reflecting on these films are Rakes; Michael Koresky, Director of Editorial and Creative Strategy at the Film Society of Lincoln Center; and Genevieve Yue, critic and assistant professor at the New School's Eugene Lang College.
Apr 26, 2017
John Waters Is on the Phone
00:22:18
On the occasion of Criterion Collection's home video release of Multiple Maniacs and the publication of his new book Make Trouble, Violet Lucca chats with John Waters—the director, writer, artist, sometime actor (most recently of FX's Feud: Bette and Joan), and Christmas card sender extraordinaire. Waters talks about the freedom of writing across multiple media, film critic Parker Tyler, his early days abusing zoom lenses and getting arrested for Mondo Trasho, and how his bad taste movement has been folded into the mainstream, from reality television to raunchy Hollywood comedies, to the current occupant of the White House. Waters called in from his home in Baltimore (where there's a special word tailor-made for the likes of Trump).
Apr 25, 2017
The Classical
00:57:32
James Gray's The Lost City of Z, which opened last Friday, charts a course into the jungle alongside a character in search of transcendence. Shot on gorgeous 35mm and masterfully structured, it crafts a fittingly sublime cinematic texture to evoke its protagonist's quest. It's not uncommon to come across criticism identifying Gray as a "classicist," but what exactly does "classical cinema" mean? This question guides the conversation in this week's episode of the Film Comment podcast, featuring Kent Jones, critic, filmmaker, and Director of the New York Film Festival; and Michael Koresky, the Director of Editorial and Creative Strategy at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, who conducted a feature-length interview with Gray for our March/April issue. The discussion, moderated by FC Digital Producer Violet Lucca, touches on the nuances of the word "classical," the evolution of film grammar, the intersection of art and commerce, and other entries in Gray's singular body of work.
Apr 18, 2017
Terrence Malick
01:15:27
"You don't want something to look too staged in movies or they look overly presented. You don't know what comes out . . . You don't know what you have at the end of the day." That was Terrence Malick during a rare public appearance at SXSW last month, on the occasion of the premiere of the Austin, Texas–set Song to Song. Although the film nominally follows characters through the city’s music scene and features the likes of Patti Smith (for a few minutes) and John Lydon (for 10 seconds), it doesn't seek to document a milieu so much as evoke the breadth of human experience in all its tactility and transience. Needless to say, there's a lot to discuss, so this episode of The Film Comment Podcast thoughtfully considers Song to Song and Malick's artistic output. FC Digital Producer Violet Lucca mulls it over with contributors Shonni Enelow, English professor at Fordham and author of Method Acting and Its Discontents, and Nick Pinkerton, member of the New York Film Critics Circle, in a conversation covering Malick's experimentation with free-associative forms, the 19th-century influence on his worldview, his depictions of gender, and how the critical discourse surrounding his work often reflects subtly different philosophies of art and criticism.
Apr 11, 2017
Comedy Today
00:58:52
In a March/April 2017 feature titled "No Joke," Film Comment Digital Producer Violet Lucca traces current trends in modern American comedies to the pressures of globalization and the rise of the internet. "The specificity of wordplay and sociological observation—two things that non-silent comedy thrives on—is therefore diminished or omitted to ensure its international portability," Lucca explains. "Remakes and adaptations of successful, preexisting intellectual property are nothing new—they have been part and parcel of Hollywood since its inception. However, as the media scholar Mark Fisher suggested, 'capitalist realism' resigns us to this repetition by telling audiences that we are in crisis mode and there’s no time to think about anything outside of the current system: Hollywood really is out of ideas this time, so just get used to it. It is the seventh art acknowledging its marginalized state and throwing up its hands." This episode of The Film Comment Podcast focuses on the past six to eight years of American film comedy but also puts it in dialogue with TV and the history of the genre. What actually makes us laugh, and what do comedies reflect about our culture? What's the right balance to strike between comic digressions and plot motion? And what is a Harold? To talk about these topics—as well as the magical alchemy of Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly—Lucca sat down with Michael Delaney, senior instructor at New York improv institution Upright Citizens Brigade and an actor whose credits include The Other Guys, Veep, and Curb Your Enthusiasm; and Robert Sweeney, producer at Kino Lorber and contributor to FC and FilmStruck.
Apr 05, 2017
New Directors / New Films 2017 + Albert Serra
01:14:06
This week's episode of the Film Comment podcast begins with an interview with the irrepressible Albert Serra, director of our March/April cover film The Death of Louis XIV, which opens this Friday. Then we move on to the annual New Directors/New Films series, which wrapped this past weekend. FC Digital Producer Violet Lucca speaks with two members of the ND/NF selection committee—La Frances Hui, Associate Curator of Film at MoMA, and Dennis Lim, Director of Programming at Film Society of Lincoln Center—about what they look for when scouting for new filmmaking voices, as well as the process of crafting a well-rounded festival slate. They are joined by Nicholas Elliott, the New York correspondent for Cahiers du Cinéma and Contributing Film Editor for BOMB, in a detailed look at ND/NF films such as Arábia, The Challenge, and The Future Perfect that defy labels.
Mar 28, 2017
Coming Of Age Horror
01:10:36
Horror films are unusually adept at giving mutable flesh to the terrors of adolescence, and Julia Ducournau's new film Raw is no exception. After a choice freshman-year hazing ritual involving a rabbit liver, the veterinary-school protagonist of Raw finds herself developing a taste for raw flesh, which she processes as she adjusts to life at school. Metaphorical monsters and latent taboo impulses like these are to be expected when it comes to horror-movie growing pains, and so this episode of The Film Comment Podcast revisits a few classics of coming-of-age horror. Pig's blood, werewolves, and the Eraserhead baby all appear in this conversation, featuring frequent FC contributors Margaret Barton-Fumo, editor of Paul Verhoeven: Interviews and author of a feature on Raw in the March/April issue; Michael Koresky, Director of Editorial and Creative Strategy at the Film Society of Lincoln Center; Nick Pinkerton, member of the New York Film Critics Circle; and Violet Lucca, FC Digital Producer and podcast moderator.
Mar 21, 2017
Live From True False 2017
00:47:57
The True/False Film Fest in Columbia, Missouri, reliably assembles a selection of the world’s finest nonfiction film, tracking down surprises from smaller festivals across the globe and picking highlights from Sundance. This year, Film Comment traveled to Columbia for a long weekend of documentary and essay film—and hosted a festival recap at the festival’s traditional closing-night spot, a waffle bar that doubles as a music venue. This special live edition of the Film Comment podcast features the critics Ela Bittencourt, a selection committee member for It's All True International Film Festival; Jordan Cronk, founder of the Acropolis Cinema in Los Angeles and co-founder of the Locarno in Los Angeles Film Festival; Aliza Ma, Head of Programming at Metrograph; and Nicolas Rapold, Editor of Film Comment. And, thanks to the open audience format of the event, a couple of filmmakers from the festival join the conversation to discuss the emotionally intimate work of editing and shooting documentary: Shevaun Mizrahi, director of Distant Constellation, about an Istanbul old folks home; and Sompot Chidgasornpongse, director of the Thai train system portrait Railway Sleepers who has been AD on films by Apichatpong Weerasethakul.
Mar 15, 2017
Acting For All Ages
01:02:59
Jean-Pierre Léaud's familiar face graces the cover of the new March/April issue of Film Comment, waiting out his final days in Albert Serra's new film The Death of Louis XIV. As Yonca Talu observes in her feature on the film, "The film relies heavily on Jean-Pierre Léaud’s vulnerable acting. Famous for his vibrant, unrestrained body language as the enfant terrible of the French New Wave, the legendary actor exists in a state of complete paralysis here, dependent on others to meet his basic needs." In some ways, she continues, the film serves as a symbolic conclusion to the Antoine Doinel cycle—Jean-Pierre Léaud's mere presence adds a layer of film-historical context to the film that might not otherwise be there. This week's episode of the Film Comment podcast explores the nuances of legacy, persona, and presence when it comes to acting. As with Léaud, we watch actors with enduring careers mature onscreen, developing their crafts and playing off of already formed associations that viewers might have with their earlier work. The panel—Shonni Enelow, English professor at Fordham and author of Method Acting and Its Discontents; Nick Pinkerton of the New York Film Critics Circle; Michael Koresky, Director of Editorial and Creative Strategy at the Film Society of Lincoln Center; and Violet Lucca, Film Comment Digital Producer—muses on the shifting modes of expression and physicality of performers like Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando, Gerard Depardieu, and Sissy Spacek.
Mar 07, 2017
Steve Bannon
00:51:07
As filmmaker and critic Jeff Reichert put it in his January/February 2017 Film Comment feature on Steve Bannon's documentary work, "We could dismiss Bannon as the Rainer Werner Fassbinder of shoddily made straight-to-video white supremacist documentary. But his tactics have helped put Trump in the White House, so what can we learn about Bannon or America from watching them?" This episode of the Film Comment podcast tackles that very question. Reichert, along with Chapo Trap House podcast co-host Will Menaker and FC Digital Producer Violet Lucca, looks back on Bannon's nine films released under the “Citizens United” banner. It goes without saying that there's a lot to talk about regarding their unlikely aesthetic sensibility (sales presentation meets Leni Riefenstahl meets Michael Bay meets Vic Berger ECUs) and their characterizations of history and reality. The panel also digs into the past 15 years of political documentary on the right and the left (hello, Adam Curtis!), including the ways in which filmmakers package narratives, fact-check their material, and consider their audiences.
Feb 28, 2017
Before And After, Live
01:00:19
In his 1985 film God's Country, Louis Malle visits a small town in Minnesota both before and after Reagan's election, documenting the stark economic despair that the agricultural community was forced to face. Following a screening of God's Country in the Film Society of Lincoln Center's screening series Film Comment Selects, we conducted a live the Film Comment Podcast about how we differently perceive certain films before and after the election. To discuss this fraught political moment, we invited Mark Harris, author of Pictures at a Revolution and FC's Cinema '67 Revisited column; Genevieve Yue, critic and assistant professor at the New School's Eugene Lang College; and Farihah Zaman, filmmaker, critic, and Production Manager for Field of Vision to join FC Editor Nicolas Rapold and FC Digital Producer and podcast host Violet Lucca. Films discussed include those by Chris Marker, Errol Morris, Jason Osder, Alexander Payne, and more.
Feb 21, 2017
The King of Cinema
00:59:44
“I always go back to Ozu and Bresson, both of whom I admire a great deal. I like the way Bresson frames midriff: a person going across the room but you’re just seeing the half, the midriff of the body. The scene in Pickpocket at the racetrack. And Hitchcock, any of the inserts: the scene in The Wrong Man where Fonda is booked and Hitchcock shows you the detail, each step of the process. It has such a sense of isolation and helplessness, because these objects, these inserts, they speak to you. They tell you how to look at them. They direct the viewer,” Martin Scorsese said to Nick Pinkerton in the cover feature of our January/February issue. This special live episode of the Film Comment podcast deep-dives into perhaps the most appropriate Scorsese film for a live media event, The King of Comedy, shown in the Museum of the Moving Image’s Martin Scorsese retrospective. Following its screening of the film, the Museum hosted The Film Comment Podcast, featuring Pinkerton; Eric Hynes, MoMI curator and FC columnist; Nicolas Rapold, Editor; and Violet Lucca, Digital Editor. The lively conversation covers the film's unsettling mix of humor and discomfort, its open-ended slippage between fantasy and reality, its place in the careers of Scorsese and De Niro, and the myriad ways in which Rupert Pupkin's name gets hopelessly botched. Listen and enjoy, whether or not your office happens to be a Pupkin-esque setup in a Times Square phone booth. And as a special treat, the discussion is followed by a guided audio tour of the museum's exhibition of Scorsese artifacts with Lucca and MoMI Chief Curator David Schwartz.
Feb 14, 2017
Women In New Hollywood
00:49:57
Road-tripping crises of masculinity soundtracked by classic rock, Harvey Keitel making up for his sins in the streets—a laundry list of 1970s New Hollywood highlights can tend to lack a nuanced female presence. But the ’70s also gave us Wanda, Puzzle of a Downfall Child, Girlfriends, A Woman Under the Influence, and even Five Easy Pieces, all of which explore female identity in the era of second-wave feminism. This episode of the Film Comment podcast spirals outwards from From Reverence to Rape author Molly Haskell's essay on Mike Mills's 20th Century Women and accompanying interview with Annette Bening, in the January/February issue, taking a closer look at depictions of women in New Hollywood. Some of these were "neo-women's films," dealing with disillusioned housewives fleeing the domestic sphere; others took on female friendship without turning a blind eye to its messiness, a line that runs through Thelma and Louise, Frances Ha, and Broad City. In addition to Haskell, FC Deep Cuts columnist Margaret Barton-Fumo stops by to join the conversation, and as always, Digital Editor Violet Lucca moderates.
Feb 07, 2017
Raoul Peck + Dustin Guy Defa and Laura Dunn
01:01:47
This week's two-pronged episode of the Film Comment podcast digs into a varied slate of contemporary filmmaking. First, from the New York Film Festival, FC columnist and Museum of the Moving Image Associate Curator Eric Hynes speaks to Raoul Peck, whose vital new film I Am Not Your Negro opens this Friday, February 3 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Peck explains his approach to James Baldwin's unfinished manuscript Remember This House, his use of archival footage to create arresting counterpoints, his experience rehearsing Samuel L. Jackson to deliver Baldwin's words, and his personal reflections on the author's work. Our podcast then flashes forward for a final dispatch from the Sundance Film Festival, a live discussion from the Kickstarter House featuring two directors the magazine has supported who have made films with the help of crowdfunding: Laura Dunn, who co-directed Look & See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry (shown in Sundance’s Spotlight section), and Dustin Guy Defa, who directed Person to Person (in the NEXT section). Dunn’s prior feature, The Unforeseen (2007), was deemed “best film of the festival, hands down” in these pages, and so we were eager to see where she took Look & See, a Kickstarter project. Likewise, Defa’s feature Bad Fever, another Kickstarter alum, received the magazine’s high praise (“a small-scale, painfully candid examination of the connection between loneliness and creativity”—which is a good thing), and so expectations were high for his latest, Person to Person.
Jan 31, 2017
Sundance History
00:43:45
The first Sundance Film Festival, then known as the US/Utah Film Festival, took place in 1978 in an effort to bring independent filmmaking talent to the state. Over the years, word spread, crowds grew, and first-time directors broke out as commercial buyers eventually clued into the potential of this latest wave of American independent film—and now, nearly four decades later, Sundance remains an industry phenomenon. But reading about its history only goes so far, especially for a festival renowned for its original mission of fostering an independent film community. In this special episode of the Film Comment podcast recorded at Sundance in front of an audience at the Kickstarter house, Editor Nicolas Rapold spoke with a panel of Sundance veterans: Ira Deutchman, film producer, distributor, marketer (of sex, lies, and videotape, among others), academic, and co-founder of Emerging Pictures; Eugene Hernandez, Deputy Director at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the co-founder of Indiewire; Lesli Klainberg, Executive Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center, and a documentary filmmaker whose work has been shown at numerous Sundances; and Dan Mirvish, co-founder of the Slamdance Film Festival and author of The Cheerful Subversive's Guide to Independent Filmmaking. The discussion (featuring a couple of surprise guests) covered the evolution of Sundance up through the 1990s and beyond as a force in the industry, its importance to queer media and representation, its significance to mainstream perceptions of independent film, and more.
Jan 25, 2017
Sundance Critics' Roundtable
00:57:52
Alpine air, ski-friendly powder, and independent film converge every January at the Sundance Film Festival. And now, as a slight respite from the hype tweets, the Film Comment podcast is proud to transmit a little bit of Park City to your earbuds with this critics' roundtable, recorded live at Sundance this past weekend. FC Editor Nicolas Rapold, frequent FC contributors Nick Pinkerton and Ashley Clark, and freelance critic Paula Mejia share early festival impressions and highlights from the worlds of fiction, documentary, and virtual reality (housed in the grandiosely titled "VR Palace"). And be sure to check back in as the festival progresses for more dispatches from FC writers.
Jan 23, 2017
Identity
01:04:42
Ideology and aesthetics have somehow come to be positioned opposite one another—in film criticism, should one be privileged over the other? This episode of The Film Comment Podcast discusses how race, ethnicity, and other markers of identity factor into film criticism and cinema generally. FC Digital Editor Violet Lucca unpacks the topic with Amy Taubin, Contributing Editor to FC and Artforum, and Ashley Clark, FC contributor and programmer, in a conversation that spans multiple decades of film history—from Taxi Driver to OJ: Made in America to Notting Hill to I Am Not Your Negro, to the canceled Michael Jackson episode of Urban Myths starring Joseph Fiennes.
Jan 17, 2017
Carte Blanche
01:03:52
Questions of legacy can rile up the creative juices in unexpected ways, especially when filmmakers who win a bit of success are allowed to dive headlong into their obsessions. In cases like these, equipped with higher budgets and greater creative freedom, a filmmaker sets out to make A Statement. At best, it's an opportunity to show off one's talents with unbridled freedom of expression; at worst, it can lapse into gratuitous excess. This episode of the Film Comment podcast takes up passion projects, particularly those in which filmmakers are given the "keys to the kingdom" after a commercial success. It can be an anxiety-inducing move—as the tagline for Zardoz, John Boorman's 1974 sci fi statement and Deliverance follow-up, aptly prophesied, "I have seen the future, and IT...DOESN'T...WORK." As always, Digital Editor Violet Lucca moderates, and is joined by FC mainstays Ashley Clark, film critic and programmer; Michael Koresky, Director of Editorial and Creative Strategy at the Film Society of Lincoln Center; and Nick Pinkerton, member of the New York Film Critics Circle.
Jan 10, 2017
Spooky Christmas
00:59:21
There’s no single way to celebrate the holiday season, but nearly every custom is centered on family and friends gathering together. In the first segment of this episode, Digital Editor Violet Lucca spoke with Julien Allen, Reverse Shot and Cinema Scope writer, to explore the British tradition of telling ghost stories at Christmas and the works of M.R. James. In the second, Lucca is joined by Michael Koresky, Director of Editorial and Creative Strategy, Film Society of Lincoln Center, Ina Archer, media artist and FC contributor, Margaret Barton-Fumo, FC columnist, to discuss horror movies set during this joyous time of year.
Dec 27, 2016
LGBTQ Representation
01:02:11
On the other side of the visibility hurdle, questions about queer representation in film persist. Is visibility enough? How much is an appropriate amount? Do all queer films need to support the cause? Where is the gay hotel in The Lobster? In this episode of The Film Comment Podcast, we discuss the reductive mainstream treatment of queer characters in Hollywood fare, how television affords more exploration of gay characters, the aesthetics of queer sex scenes, and the failure of such films to either address queerness directly or imagine queer characters on the sidelines. To elaborate upon ideas from Mark Harris’ piece in the November/December issue on the paucity of LGBT visibility in Hollywood films, FC Digital Editor Violet Lucca was joined by Harris, K. Austin Collins of The Ringer, Farihah Zaman, filmmaker, critic and Production Manager for Field of Vision, and Michael Koresky, Director of Editorial and Creative Strategy at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
Dec 20, 2016
The Best Of 2016
00:33:44
2016 may be ill-suited to fond recollections, but the annual Film Comment Top 20 list does have plenty of good cheer to go around. This year's poll was conducted a bit differently, with a sharpened focus on Film Comment's contributors in order to better capture the magazine's voice. Even though the results will inevitably be skewed by factors like regional specificity and the availability of advance screenings for late-season films under consideration, polls aren't about securing an airtight appraisal of a year; they're about starting a critical discussion, which can just as much concern what was omitted as what was included. In this episode of The Film Comment Podcast, Digital Editor Violet Lucca takes stock of the results along with Nicolas Rapold, the magazine's Editor, and Michael Koresky, Director of Editorial and Creative Strategy at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. The conversation also covers films that didn't quite make the cut, what films the polls helped bring to light, and, of course, the best diner scenes in 2016 (no need to unwrap the silverware when you use your napkin).
Dec 13, 2016
The Marginalization Of Cinema
00:52:33
The clickbait consensus may be that cinema is dead, but the fact of the matter is a bit more nuanced. In the November/December issue of Film Comment, New York Film Festival Director Kent Jones suggests that perhaps we are witnessing the marginalization of cinema—although cinema may no longer be the most significant popular art form, it will evolve into something new. In other words, its particular impact may change, but it is certainly not dead. Jones joins Film Comment Digital Editor Violet Lucca and New York Film Critics Circle member Nick Pinkerton to discuss the shifting landscapes of the multiplex and the home theater, as well as what artistic salvation may come from cinema's marginalization.
Dec 06, 2016
Tearjerkers and Manchester by the Sea
01:07:32
There’s more to tearjerkers than the deceptively simple term might suggest, and in this episode of the Film Comment podcast, we consider the nuanced workings of cinematic sorrow. Is a tearjerker expressly and solely designed to elicit collective weeping, or is the effect of the button-pushing more personalized than we might admit? Does it count if a film moves its viewers to a profound silence rather than outright sobs? And what exactly makes us cry? The release of Kenneth Lonergan's new film Manchester by the Sea has brought these questions to the forefront of cinematic circles, and Film Society Editorial Director Michael Koresky's feature in the new Film Comment explores how Lonergan's cinema is structured by the experience of grieving. Our conversation spins off into a broader discussion of the "tearjerker" film, its ways and means, and why one might beware of watching any remotely traumatic film on a plane. Film Comment Digital Editor Violet Lucca is joined by Koresky and FC contributors Shonni Enelow, assistant professor of English at Fordham University, and Mark Harris of Vulture.
Nov 29, 2016
Post-Election
01:20:46
According to the experts, this wasn’t supposed to turn out this way… but it did. While the election of Donald Trump has prompted a great deal of speculation by pundits and citizens alike, we’ve asked some of our own experts to weigh in. In the first part of this episode, J. Hoberman, critic for The New York Times and a Film Comment contributing editor, and Tobi Haslett, contributor to Artforum, n+1, and The Village Voice, to discuss films that they understand differently after the election, and how politics and aesthetics interrelate. In the second, Farihah Zaman, filmmaker, critic and Production Manager for Field of Vision, and Meenasarani Linde Murugan, assistant professor in the Department of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University, discuss issues of representation and what a Trump presidency potentially means for filmmakers and their creative process.
Nov 23, 2016
Paul Verhoeven
01:17:30
What are the uncanny forces at work behind Paul Verhoeven’s visceral and transgressive cinema? In anticipation of the Film Society’s complete retrospective of the Dutch master’s films and the U.S. release of Elle, this episode offers a comprehensive discussion of the director’s audacious and eclectic career encompassing art-house Dutch films (Turkish Delight [1971], Spetters [1980]) and big-budget Hollywood productions such as Basic Instinct (1992), Total Recall (1990) and Starship Troopers (1997). In the first part of the podcast, Film Comment Digital Editor Violet Lucca sits down with a panel of Verhoeven connoisseurs, including Cinema Scope critic Adam Nayman, Film Comment Deep Cuts columnist Margaret Barton-Fumo (also the editor of a forthcoming book of interviews with Verhoeven), and Fort Buchanan director Benjamin Crotty, to tackle the controversy that lies at the core of Verhoeven’s work. In the final part of the episode, Margaret Barton-Fumo speaks to Verhoeven about the uncomfortable eroticism that pervades Elle and his Brechtian influences.
Nov 15, 2016
Election Day
00:46:14
It's finally here: Election Day. After you've cast your vote, hopefully this new episode of the Film Comment podcast will help you relax as the results come in. This week, we spotlight two writers whose work has never shied away from the political: blacklisted screenwriter Walter Bernstein, whose numerous credits include The Front, Fail-Safe, and The House on Carroll Street; and Cuban novelist Edmundo Desnoes, whose seminal work Memories of Underdevelopment investigated the bourgeois mindset during the Cuban revolution and was subsequently adapted into the 1968 film by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea. Each talks with Digital Editor Violet Lucca about exploring different forms of subjective experience within objective political realities, as well as harnessing their art to provoke further questioning from viewers.
Nov 08, 2016
NYFF Live Filmmaker Chat
00:46:29
Although one-on-one interviews with filmmakers are often accessible (depending, of course, on the personality at hand), group roundtables with a variety of filmmaking talent can be more difficult to come by. To counter this void, Film Comment assembled such an event at the 54th New York Film Festival—and now, in this week's episode of the podcast, you can listen to the complete talk. This Film Comment panel brought together three NYFF filmmakers—Olivier Assayas (Personal Shopper), Alison Maclean (The Rehearsal), and Kleber Mendonça Filho (Aquarius)—to discuss their practical approaches to the craft of filmmaking, as well as their grander philosophies about the art form. The conversation, moderated by Film Comment Editor Nicolas Rapold, covers a swath of topics, from on-set collaboration to transnational cinema. Questions from the audience also make a requisite appearance near the end.
Nov 01, 2016
Kristen Stewart and Chloë Sevigny
00:40:15
Kristen Stewart took a quick breather from promoting her triptych of new films at NYFF to reflect on collaborating with Olivier Assayas and Kelly Reichardt. She also shares her excitement about stepping behind the camera for the first time. And speaking of directorial debuts, Chloë Sevigny discusses making her first short film, Kitty, on the heels of its North American premiere at NYFF, as well as the pursuit of a unique, substantive acting career in a white male-centric independent film landscape.
Oct 26, 2016
Face Your Fears
01:10:22
Is it possible to pinpoint what is so scary about an unsettling moment of a well-made horror film? It could be the image itself, but it could also be an unexpected sonic flourish, or an abrupt cut, or a lingering long take. A truly frightening horror film often derives its power from the uncanny specificity of its techniques or mise en scène, instilling a fundamental sense of unease that can't easily be shaken. With Halloween on the horizon, Film Comment Digital Editor Violet Lucca is joined by a panel of FC mainstays to reminisce about the haunting appeal of (often uncomfortably) memorable cursed images. Guests include Michael Koresky, Editorial Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center; Margaret Barton-Fumo, author of FC's Deep Cuts column; and Ina Archer, FC contributor and student at NYU's Moving Image Archive and Preservation Program.
Oct 25, 2016
Errol Morris Election Special
00:24:26
Photography is by nature bittersweet: a warm moment with a loved one is captured forever, a reminder of an instant in time that can never be repeated. These conflicting feelings are deftly explored in Errol Morris’s latest documentary, The B-Side, which traces the career of Elsa Dorfman. Never seeking fame, Dorman forged lifelong friendships with counter-culture giants like Alan Ginsberg, and shot everyone from Bob Dylan to Jonathan Richman. A perfect expression of the challenges female artists have faced without overstating them, the film is a significant departure from Morris’s other work. However, when Film Comment Digital Editor Violet Lucca spoke with him the day after the second presidential debate, many of the themes that have run throughout his work—namely, the nature of truth—naturally arose. The director also talks about his upcoming Netflix series, documentary technique, and a few of his dream collaborations with heads of state.
Oct 19, 2016
NYFF 2016 Live Roundtable
01:03:45
The fanfare of the 54th New York Film Festival may have officially wrapped on Saturday, but the films themselves live on—so let's talk about them. As part of an aptly named "Festival Wrap" free talk, several of Film Comment's frequent contributors and editors recently came together before a live audience to reflect on the highlights of a robust NYFF slate. Listen below to the full conversation before these films make the rounds in the coming months. The panel includes FC columnist Margaret Barton-Fumo, critic K. Austin Collins, MOMI programmer and FC columnist Eric Hynes, and Metrograph programmer Aliza Ma, as well as Film Comment Digital Editor Violet Lucca and Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold.
Oct 18, 2016
The Living Cinema
00:43:21
The September/October issue of Film Comment re-envisioned the magazine’s style and sharpened its focus, celebrating the vibrancy of cinema as well as delving into tough critical issues. As part of the 54th New York Film Festival’s free talks series sponsored by HBO, critics whose work appears in the current issue—Farihah Zaman, Nick Pinkerton, Imogen Sara Smith, and Shonni Enelow—joined Film Comment Editor Nicolas Rapold and Film Society Editorial Director Michael Koresky before a live audience to discuss their ideas and find points of comparison between the big films of the season and the pressing issues facing the medium.
Oct 11, 2016
Social Media and Criticism
00:48:47
Aside from search engines, the most visited sites in the world are social media: the old mainstays Facebook and Twitter. Their impact on film culture and cinephilia has been profound, giving voice to people who were formerly outside of the established critical conversation, but also providing a new outlet for seasoned critics. However, not all of the changes fostered by social media have been positive: hasty and reductive festival “takes,” the performative nature of “callout culture,” and straight-up trolling, to name but a few. To discuss and elaborate upon ideas from Nick Pinkerton’s feature on social media and criticism in the September/October issue, Digital Editor Violet Lucca was joined by Pinkerton, Kameron Collins of The Ringer, and Mark Harris of Vulture for this episode.
Oct 04, 2016
Classical Cinema, Now
00:50:28
Great works of art transcend the passage of time, but the cinema of years past has its own special qualities of transcendence and immersion. This episode of The Film Comment Podcast explores how we relate to older films in the modern era, and examines the culture that surrounds their appreciation in an era of revival runs, film festivals, and restoration efforts. The discussion, led by Film Comment Digital Editor Violet Lucca, touches on modern audiences' emotional distance from older works, the enduring power of the film medium, and the particular experience of younger generations of cinephiles. Rounding out the panel are Vulture critic Mark Harris; FC columnist Farran Smith Nehme; and critic Imogen Sara Smith, whose September/October feature on classical cinema and the San Francisco Silent Film Festival inspired this conversation.
Sep 27, 2016
Charles Burnett and Oliver Stone
00:48:20
How do you approach political filmmaking in a meaningful way? And, in this politically charged era, where are the dissenting voices in film? In this episode, two very different filmmakers—Charles Burnett, the director of Killer of Sheep and To Sleep with Anger, and Oliver Stone, the director of Born on the Fourth of July and Snowden—speak about their films and their thoughts on contemporary media and politics.
Sep 21, 2016
Live from TIFF '16
00:59:11
Hosting over 300 films, many of which are world or North American premieres, the Toronto International Film Festival is a frequently overwhelming experience even for veteran attendees. To help cut through—or at least acknowledge that there will be—hype, this episode features a roundtable of critical voices discussing (and debating) key films from the festival. Participants: Film Comment podcast regulars Nick Pinkerton and Eric Hynes; Toronto-based critic Adam Nayman; Metrograph programmer Aliza Ma; Film Society of Lincoln Center Editorial Director Michael Koresky; and the Editor of Film Comment, Nicolas Rapold.
Sep 16, 2016
American Movie Acting Today
01:01:52
This episode is the first of three to dive into features from our newly redesigned September-October issue, which asks "What Is Cinema Now?" Shonni Enelow, author of Method Acting and Its Discontents: On American Psycho-Drama and assistant professor of English at Fordham University, wrote a feature about an emerging trend in contemporary American acting, characterized by restraint and withholding emotion. Digital Editor Violet Lucca was joined by Enelow and regular contributor Ashley Clark to discuss the article as well as explore changing trends in training and conceptions of what makes an actor (or performance) great.
Sep 07, 2016
VHS, RIP
01:01:54
Last month, the final VCR rolled off the line at the Funai plant in Japan, officially signaling the end of an era. Although there have been numerous sea-changes in media since the end of VHS’s supremacy, there's something special (and, in a way, lost to time) about the formative cinephilic experiences fostered by video store communities. In this episode of the podcast, FILM COMMENT Editor Nicolas Rapold, Digital Editor Violet Lucca, FSLC Editorial Director Michael Koresky (Video Room), and New York Film Festival Director Kent Jones (New Video) discuss their relationships with those once-precious tapes.
Aug 30, 2016
Class at the Movies
01:04:06
Visions of class surround us each day, both overtly and subliminally, in advertisements, literature, and film. Which visual and narrative tools are specific to each medium? To what extent does authorial background matter? And how does criticism of aesthetics or content either elucidate or complicate matters? All of these topics are broached in this episode of the FILM COMMENT podcast, wherein Digital Editor Violet Lucca joins K. Austin Collins, a regular contributor to The Ringer, as well as regular FC critics Nick Pinkerton and Eric Hynes (also the associate curator of the Museum of the Moving Image) to examine cinematic depictions of wealth and poverty.
Aug 23, 2016
Ironic Soundtracks
00:15:50
While so many soundtracks seem to exist solely to underline the tone of a scene, unexpected musical cues can completely recontextualize and undermine its action. The idea of the soundtrack as counterpoint entered the mainstream with directors like Martin Scorsese and Stanley Kubrick, and, at a certain point, became a bad cliché itself. This episode of The Film Comment Podcast, scripted by Sean Doyle, traces the evolution of ironic music in film from its earliest and most infamous uses to today.
Aug 16, 2016
Best of the Worst, Worst of the Best
00:58:23
Great directors can make crap. Whether because of a bad script, failing health, studio meddling, force majeure, or simply loss of artistic mojo, even the most enviable filmography can contain an irredeemable movie. But it's equally true that our least favorite directors can make something that we find invigorating and enjoyable. To explore these extremities of achievement, Digital Editor Violet Lucca convened a discussion about our personal favorite outliers—the worst films by people we love, and the best films by people we love... less. Joining us were Cristina Cacioppo, programmer at the Alamo Drafthouse Brooklyn; Ashley Clark and Nick Pinkerton, regular FILM COMMENT contributors; and Michael Koresky, Editorial Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
Aug 02, 2016
Mondo Mondo
00:58:45
This month, at Anthology Film Archives, FILM COMMENT contributor Nick Pinkerton has programmed a variety of shockumentary-style works ranging from the notorious Mondo Cane (an Academy Award nominee, for Original Song) to Thierry Zéno’s Des Morts. Many of these films aim to shock and titillate, sometimes purporting to document actual deaths, but they become politically and culturally revealing texts. None of this problematic entertainment holds a candle, however, to the real-life horror that has become a fixture of 21st-century visual culture: recordings showing police brutality—grim evidence of actual violence that is used in calls for justice. In a wide-ranging discussion that moves from the cinema of taboo to the complexities of recordings of police violence, FC Digital Editor Violet Lucca spoke with Pinkerton, critic and programmer Ashley Clark, and New Yorker video producer (and former FC intern) Cassie da Costa.
Jul 26, 2016
Merchant-Ivory + Howards End
00:48:34
Though associated with heritage films—lush period films typically set in Britain’s imperial past—producer Ismail Merchant, director James Ivory, and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala collaborated since the early 1960s on a variety of literary adaptations. Masterfully constructed, Merchant-Ivory films came to symbolize a certain type of prestige film—for better and worse. Perhaps the pinnacle of their collaboration was Howards End (92), based on the E. M. Forster novel about class and inheritance set in Edwardian England. In anticipation of the theatrical run of its new 4K restoration, Michael Koresky, Editorial Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center, Farran Smith Nehme, FILM COMMENT columnist and regular contributor for the New York Post, and Digital Editor Violet Lucca discussed the artful, complex adaptation and other Merchant-Ivory classics.
Jul 19, 2016
The July/August Issue
00:59:13
Kristen Stewart takes the spotlight in the brand-new July/August issue of FILM COMMENT, in a nuanced and balanced appreciation of the star's performances by Nick Davis. In this edition of The Film Comment Podcast, Digital Editor Violet Lucca and Editor in Chief Nicolas Rapold explore the cover story and other articles with the help of three featured writers. Ashley Clark, film critic and author of Facing Blackness, discusses his essay on silent-era black performers and their overlooked talents. FC contributor and filmmaker Yonca Talu reflects on her interview with Clément Cogitore, whose recent film Neither Heaven Nor Earth burrows into the fractured and fracturing experience of 21st-century warfare. Finally, Museum of the Moving Image associate curator Eric Hynes investigates the links between New Journalism and contemporary documentary, tracing a shared interest in complicating notions of reportage and reality. You can read about all this and more in the July/August issue—but for the inside story (and effortlessly delightful repartee) have a listen to this week's podcast.
Jul 05, 2016
David Bordwell and The Rhapsodes
00:58:44
In his recently published book The Rhapsodes, seminal critic and film historian David Bordwell pays tribute to four groundbreaking film critics who were writing in the 1940s: Otis Ferguson, James Agee, Manny Farber, and Parker Tyler. Through meticulous examinations of their rarely read, multidisciplinary writings and moving biographical accounts, Bordwell paints a vivid portrait of their cultural milieux and makes the case for the uniqueness and importance of their work. Digital Editor Violet Lucca spoke with Bordwell about the genesis of his book and the unparalleled legacy of his “rhapsodes,” in the company of regular FILM COMMENT contributor Nick Pinkerton.
Jun 28, 2016
The Summer of '66
00:53:06
Today, the term “summer movie” is synonymous with big budgets, explosions, superhero franchises, family-friendly animated films, and sequels. Yet this wasn't always the case. In the summers of the 1960s, years before 1975’s Jaws began to redefine the blockbuster, successful new releases were held over in certain cities for months, and risqué international films were shown alongside schlocky American B movies. For this week’s episode, we flash back to the summer of 1966 to see what was playing in Cincinnati, Washington D.C., Chicago, and New York City (all five boroughs), featuring J. Hoberman, critic for The New York Times; Nick Pinkerton, regular FILM COMMENT contributor; and Ina Archer, co-chair of the Women’s Film Preservation Fund for New York Film and Television, in conversation with FC Digital Editor Violet Lucca.
Jun 22, 2016
Hong Sangsoo
01:11:36
Hong Sangsoo is a filmmaker who isn’t afraid to repeat himself. Fashioning narratives around lonesome or just pathetic male artists’ attempts at finding romantic connection, Hong’s films are characterized by their long takes and minute variations—a slightly off-center frame of two people talking, a digital zoom, a subtle readjustment of focus—that make us question what’s really going on in the scene. In honor of his soju-fueled comedy of manners, Digital Editor Violet Lucca served as bartender for Genevieve Yue, assistant professor at Eugene Lang College at the New School, Leo Goldsmith, co-editor of the film section of The Brooklyn Rail, Max Nelson, editorial assistant at the New York Review of Books, and Jeff Reichert, filmmaker and co-editor of Reverse Shot.
Jun 14, 2016
Brian De Palma
01:05:12
In their intimate and insightful documentary De Palma, directors Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow sit down with the legendary filmmaker to discuss his audacious career. With no authorial voices included, the film takes the form of a two-hour introspective monologue, in which the maestro reflects on his directorial approach and why he loves filming beautiful women so much. Digital Editor Violet Lucca spoke with FILM COMMENT and Film Society Editorial Director Michael Koresky, and critic Ashley Clark, about their takes on the documentary and Brian De Palma's thrilling films, including Dressed to Kill, Carlito's Way, Carrie, and Femme Fatale.
Jun 03, 2016
Cannes Redux and Whit Stillman
01:20:43
Believe it or not, but occasionally the critics attending Cannes take umbrage with the jury’s choices for awards—so much so this year that the Grand Prix recipient, Xavier Dolan, was booed during the ceremony. But who really got it right this year, and which films will endure as highlights? Digital Editor Violet Lucca spoke with FILM COMMENT and Artforum contributing editor Amy Taubin; Brandon Harris, assistant professor at SUNY Purchase and Vice contributor; and FILM COMMENT editor Nicolas Rapold about films including Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson, Michael O’Shea’s The Transfiguration, Asghar Farhadi’s The Salesman, Albert Serra’s The Death of Louis XIV, Alain Guiraudie’s Staying Vertical, The Romanians, and more. In this week’s special second segment, Whit Stillman talks with FC contributor Nick Pinkerton about his new film, Love & Friendship, adaptation, and the finer points of writing a novel.
May 27, 2016
Live from Cannes 2016
00:58:49
Comedies and genre films may not be the usual Croisette fare, but that wasn’t the case with the 69th edition of the Cannes Film Festival. Touching on Maren Ade’s unanimously praised Toni Erdmann, as well as more divisive films like Olivier Assayas’s Personal Shopper and Andrea Arnold’s American Honey, a roundtable hosted by editor Nicolas Rapold and featuring Justin Chang of the Los Angeles Times; Nicholas Elliott, New York correspondent for Cahiers du Cinéma; and FILM COMMENT contributing editors Jonathan Romney and Amy Taubin breaks down this year’s unique selection.
May 20, 2016
History in the Making
00:54:42
Plenty of films are set in the past, either adapted from texts from the period or written by authors looking back on history (and likely bringing their own biases to it). Yet only a select few of such works manage to so convincingly convey a tactile sense of the time that they approach the immersive. And which genuine traces of the present captured by filmmakers—be it locations, attitudes, or small details like trash in the street—will serve as accurate snapshots for the future? Digital Editor Violet Lucca spoke with Nick Pinkerton, regular FILM COMMENT contributor, and Eric Hynes, FC columnist and associate curator at the Museum of the Moving Image, to discuss how history is made (or unmade) on film.
May 10, 2016
The May/June Issue + Straub/Huillet
00:46:57
It’s that most special time of year: the May/June issue has arrived! What’s inside? We’re glad you asked: FILM COMMENT Digital Editor Violet Lucca takes an informative stroll through the new issue with Nicolas Rapold, Editor in Chief. And, in the second half of this episode, we expand upon the new issue’s major feature on French filmmakers Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet. For decades, the pair created an insightful body of work that delved deeply into history and art. Working closely together in all aspects of film production, they created personalized cinematic visions, frequently using the works of other artists—literature, painting, and film—as a jumping-off point to explore contemporary political issues. Violet Lucca speaks with Dan Sullivan, programmer at Film Society of Lincoln Center; Ted Fendt, editor of Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet; and Josh Siegel, curator at MoMA, to discuss MoMA’s complete retrospective of Straub-Huillet that begins this Friday.
May 03, 2016
Queer Cinema Before Stonewall
01:00:26
On June 28, 1969, following a police raid of the Greenwich Village LGBT bar Stonewall Inn, a riot broke out around the neighborhood that continued into the following evening. The upheaval is commonly treated as the beginning of the contemporary gay rights movement. As with many accounts of history, the clear demarcation—as if the lights were suddenly flipped on—doesn’t entirely hold water under close scrutiny, but the Stonewall Riots have become a useful point of reference as well as a symbol. The Film Society's repertory series “A Clue to the New Direction: Queer Cinema Before Stonewall,” curated by FSLC programmer at larger Thomas Beard, takes these events as an opportunity to explore multiple histories of queer cinema through a variety of Hollywood, experimental, nonfiction, and foreign films. Digital Editor Violet Lucca discussed the films, and the history, with Mark Harris, film historian and columnist for Vulture; Michael Koresky, director of publications at the Metrograph Theater; and Manuel Betancourt, FC contributor.
Apr 26, 2016
Vincent Lindon + Masculinity
00:42:31
Described by Joan Dupont in the March/April issue of FILM COMMENT as “too haunted to be the suave lady-killer and too classy to be the loser,” Vincent Lindon has slowly gained prominence outside of France in his quietly simmering performances in films like Claire Denis’s Bastards and Stéphane Brizé’s The Measure of a Man. Wesley Morris of The New York Times and Amy Taubin, contributor to FILM COMMENT and Artforum, spoke with Digital Editor Violet Lucca about the actor’s working-class charms, the “polymorphous sexuality” of visual artist Ryan Trecartin's work, and the strengths and weaknesses of other actors from John Goodman to Robert Redford.
Apr 19, 2016
Everybody Wants Some!! + Sports
00:43:42
Following the bold experiment of Boyhood, Richard Linklater returns with Everybody Wants Some!!, a semi-autobiographical movie about the infinite potential that awaits at the cusp of adulthood. A few days before the start of college classes, Jake (Blake Jenner), a freshman pitcher, moves into a house with his fellow ball players; drunken hilarity and horndogging ensue, while salient points about identity get made. FILM COMMENT Digital Editor Violet Lucca asked David Fear of Rolling Stone and Nick Pinkerton, frequent FC contributor, for their thoughts on Linklater’s latest and their leading contenders for their top sports movies.
Apr 12, 2016
Art of the Real 2016
00:51:20
Since film’s inception—from the Lumière’s early actualités to Robert Flaherty’s Nanook of the North—the boundary between documentary and fiction film has been fairly fluid (or not even a term of discussion.) And as Jacques Rivette once observed: “Every film is a documentary of its own making.” Thanks in part to the relative ease and low cost of digital filmmaking tools, directors from a variety of backgrounds have more leeway to explore and expand the definition of documentary, incorporating fictional or fictionalized elements into non-fiction works. Now in its third year, the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s series The Art of the Real offers a showcase for such films, and offers a variety of documentaries, hybrid documentaries, experimental films, and narrative films in a non-fiction context. Co-programmed by Dennis Lim, director of programming at Film Society, and Rachael Rakes, a programmer at large at Film Society, this year’s program includes films culled from festivals from around the world: Ben Rivers’s What Means Something, Mauro Herce’s Dead Slow Ahead, Brett Story’s The Prison in Twelve Landscapes, Sergio Oksman’s O Futebol, Ju Anqi’s Poet on a Business Trip, Andrés Duque’s Oleg and the Rare Arts, Roberto Minervini’s The Other Side, Im Heung-soon, Factory Complex, Thom Anderson’s The Thoughts That Once We Had, and Hassen Ferhani’s A Roundabout in My Head, to name a few. FILM COMMENT Digital Editor Violet Lucca was joined by Lim and Rakes, as well as Eric Hynes, FILM COMMENT columnist and associate director of programming at the Museum of the Moving Image, to discuss the motivations behind the series, and the films themselves.
Apr 05, 2016
Comebacks
00:33:03
In the spirit of fantasy football—or, you know, film criticism—FILM COMMENT contributors Michael Koresky (editor of Reverse Shot and director of publications of the Metrograph theater) and Ashley Clark (author of Facing Blackness) joined Digital Editor Violet Lucca to discuss the actors they feel deserve a renaissance.
Mar 29, 2016
Arnaud Desplechin and Kent Jones
00:42:26
Arnaud Desplechin’s My Golden Days takes the characters of his third feature, My Sex Life… or How I Got Into an Argument, and puts them into new (but also familiar) narratives, collapsing and expanding our understanding of them. Not unlike Peter Parker, Desplechin’s protagonist “Paul Dedalus” has been reimagined and rebooted for contemporary audiences… sort of. FILM COMMENT Digital Editor Violet Lucca spoke with Desplechin and Kent Jones, director of the New York Film Festival, Deputy Editor of FILM COMMENT, and co-writer of Desplechin’s Jimmy P: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian, to talk about creating My Golden Days. Their conversation also touched upon the state of Hollywood filmmaking, and that most disreputable genre, the rom-com.
Mar 22, 2016
New Directors / New Films 2016
01:09:37
Now in its 45th year, New Directors / New Films showcases fiction and documentary work from around the world. These filmmakers offer bold visions and confidently stake out fresh territory on cinema’s frontiers. FILM COMMENT Digital Editor Violet Lucca was joined by David Fear of Rolling Stone, Eric Hynes, FILM COMMENT columnist and Associate Curator of Film at Museum of the Moving Image, and Amy Taubin, New York Film Festival selection committee member and contributing editor to FILM COMMENT and Artforum, discuss what films in the lineup left them raving (or loudly sighing).
Mar 15, 2016
Representing History + Isabelle Huppert Interview
01:05:39
Though we’re taught to compartmentalize historical movements into discrete events and dates, the truth (or what we know of it) is anything but. Four recent films— Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Cemetery of Splendor, Jia Zhang-ke’s Mountains May Depart, Amos Gitai’s Rabin, the Last Day, and Laszlo Nemes’s Son of Saul—take very different but ambitious aesthetic approaches to historical trauma. FILM COMMENT Digital Editor Violet Lucca was joined by FILM COMMENT's Nicolas Rapold, The Nation critic Stuart Klawans, and New York Times and FILM COMMENT contributor J. Hoberman to discuss these films’ varying approaches, strengths, and blind spots. We also have a special interview with French icon Isabelle Huppert, who spoke with Yonca Talu about Guillaume Nicloux’s Valley of Love and working with Maurice Pialat and Claude Chabrol (with a few words about her next collaborator, Michael Haneke).
Mar 08, 2016
Better Living Through Criticism
00:50:48
Criticism gets a bad rap a lot of the time, even from its practitioners. But rather than a defense of criticism, A.O. Scott. a chief film critic for The New York Times, has written a kind of long-form thought experiment around the profession that traces the impetuses behind criticism and its myriad functions. Scott's Better Living Through Criticism explores how we determine our own taste, the value and function of criticism in our current media environment, some (low) points in its history, and rhetorical issues, pulling from a wide variety of texts from poetry to performance art to criticism in its many guises. FILM COMMENT Digital Editor Violet Lucca was joined by Scott and another veteran critic, Matt Zoller Seitz of RogerEbert.com and New York magazine, to discuss ideas raised by the book and how larger changes in media have affected their careers and the profession at large
Mar 01, 2016
Live from Film Comment Selects
01:03:46
It's that most wonderful time of year: Film Comment Selects! This edition of our annual series of eclectic, international, and avant-garde films offered a host of pleasures: a revival of Chantal Akerman’s musical Golden Eighties, Terence Davies's exquisite period piece Sunset Song, new films by Benoît Jacquot, Hirokazu Kore-eda, and Alexei German Jr., and a special spotlight on the work of recently deceased Polish auteur Andrzej Żuławski. On Saturday, Film Comment's Violet Lucca and Nicolas Rapold assembled contributors Eric Hynes, Margaret Barton-Fumo, and Michael Koresky to discuss the work of Davies and Żuławski in front of a live audience during Film Comment Selects. The special edition was called Film Comment, Live!
Feb 24, 2016
Influences
01:04:44
Now that “takes,” gossip, and conversations about film can be instantly broadcast to the world, it’s sometimes easy to forget that above all else, film criticism is an act of writing. In a frank and accessible dialogue, Mark Harris, film historian and Vulture columnist, Eric Hynes, critic, journalist, and Associate Curator of Film at the Museum of the Moving Image, talk about the writers and larger cultural trends (be it the rise of VHS or social media) that have shaped their own approaches to the medium.
Feb 16, 2016
The Coen Brothers and Peter Greenaway
01:00:21
At first blush, the Coen Brothers and Peter Greenaway don’t appear to have much in common except that their new films, Hail, Caesar!and Eisenstein in Guanajuato, both came out the same day. Yet their films used to share art-house marquee space in the late '80s and early '90s when they attracted notoriety and criticism of all stripes. Although their paths have diverged considerably, their new films are united by the way in which the filmmakers construct a world of artifice, steeped in references yet inhabited in very different ways: for the Coens, it’s the glitzy movie-verse of Capitol Pictures; for Greenaway, it’s a wild combination of art history, politics, and Sergei Eisenstein’s unfinished film, ¡Que viva México!. FILM COMMENT's Violet Lucca and Nicolas Rapold are joined by Kent Jones, director of the New York Film Festival, and Nick Pinkerton, regular FC contributor, to discuss these films and especially the Coen Brothers' ever-evolving oeuvre.
Feb 09, 2016
Douglas Sirk and Representation
00:47:28
The Film Society of Lincoln Center recently mounted a major retrospective of Douglas Sirk’s films, which included his first German productions from the Thirties (The Girl from the Marsh Croft, La Habanera) to his Technicolor melodramas of the Fifties (All that Heaven Allows, Written on the Wind). A masterful observer of American society—like fellow German émigrés Billy Wilder and Ernst Lubitsch—Sirk’s films explore uncomfortable, unspoken truths and conjure complicated, conflicting feelings. FILM COMMENT’s Violet Lucca sat down with FC contributors Nick Pinkerton, Margaret Barton-Fumo, and Ashley Clark to discuss race and representation in Taza, Son of Cochise (54), The Tarnished Angels (57), A Time to Love and a Time to Die (58), Imitation of Life (59), and more.
Jan 26, 2016
The Best Performances of 2015
00:39:06
What were the noteworthy performances of 2015? And what different kinds of performance are there? Mindful of actors that weren’t nominated during awards season, FILM COMMENT's Violet Lucca and Nicolas Rapold sat down with regular FC contributor Nick Pinkerton and Michael Koresky, editor of Reverse Shot and director of publications of the upcoming Metrograph theater in New York, to talk about their favorite (and least favorite) acting moments.
Jan 19, 2016
The Best Films of 2015
00:52:26
Rejoice, o ye year-end list obsessives! Digital editor Violet Lucca sat down with senior editor Nicolas Rapold, contributing editor and New York Film Festival Selection Committee Member Amy Taubin, and regular contributor Nick Pinkerton to discuss the top 20 films as determined by our annual critics’ poll. Their wide-ranging discussion weighs the list’s revelations (and peculiarities), what should’ve been on the list, and why Viggo Mortensen is so gosh darn dreamy. As always, the FILM COMMENT list of the year’s best films is the result of polling over 100 colleagues and consists of two categories: 1) the best films that received theatrical runs in 2015 and 2) the year’s best films that have no announced plans for U.S. theatrical distribution.
Dec 18, 2015
New York Film Festival Roundtable 2015
01:17:31
A New York Film Festival Live talk, recorded October 9th, where Film Comment editors and contributors discussed this year's NYFF. Participants: Wesley Morris of The New York Times; Eric Hynes, critic, reporter, and Film Comment columnist; Michael Koresky, staff writer of The Criterion Collection and co-editor-in-chief of Reverse Shot; Aliza Ma, programmer, critic, and author of the Film Comment September/October cover story on The Assassin; Film Comment Senior Editor Nicolas Rapold; and Film Comment Digital Editor Violet Lucca.
Oct 20, 2015
50 Shades of Grey
00:48:10
Melissa Anderson (contributor to Artforum, The Village Voice, and other publications) and Film Comment Digital Editor Violet Lucca speak about the film adaptation of 50 Shades of Grey.
Feb 20, 2015
The Film Comment Podcast: Shoah
00:35:06
The first episode of our podcast: a discussion of Shoah by critic J. Hoberman and Joshua Oppenheimer, director of The Act of Killing. Please leave your thoughts about your experience watching Shoah here: http://www.filmcomment.com/entry/podcast-first-episode-shoah
Jul 03, 2013