Founded in 1962, Film Comment has been the home of independent film journalism for over 50 years, publishing in-depth interviews, 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. Film Comment is a nonprofit publication that relies on the support of readers. Support film culture and subscribe today.
This week we have been reporting from the Berlin International Film Festival. And without a doubt, very high on the list of favorites has been Christian Petzold’s new film, Undine. You might know Petzold from his previous features such as Transit, Barbara, and Phoenix. Undine is the story of a museum guide who moves on from a breakup to a relationship with a new man. But there are undercurrents of something mysterious to this romance, which draws on the age-old myth about a water nymph. In Berlin, our assistant editor Devika Girish sat down with Christian Petzold, an inveterate storyteller, to talk about Undine.
This week, The Film Comment Podcast reports from the Berlin International Film Festival, straight from, you guessed it, Berlin. It’s one of the year’s major festivals, and the 2020 edition has been highly anticipated because of its new leadership and impressive slate. We’ll be talking about the highlights including new films from Christian Petzold, Hong Sangsoo, and Abel Ferrara, as well as Natalia Meta’s El Prófugo and Victor Kossakovsky’s Gunda.
Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold is joined on this episode by FC Assistant Editor Devika Girish and FC contributing editor Jonathan Romney, to discuss Ilya Khrzhanovskiy and Jekaterina Oertel’s DAU. Natasha, Hong Sangsoo’s The Woman Who Ran, Fabio & Damiano D'Innocenzo’s Bad Tales, and Benoît Delépine and Gustave Kervern’s Delete History.
This week, The Film Comment Podcast reports from the Berlin International Film Festival, straight from, you guessed it, Berlin. It’s one of the year’s major festivals, and the 2020 edition has been highly anticipated because of its new leadership and impressive slate. We’ll be talking about the highlights including new films from Christian Petzold, Hong Sangsoo, and Abel Ferrara, as well as Natalia Meta’s El Prófugo and Victor Kossakovsky’s Gunda.
Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold is joined on this episode by FC Assistant Editor Devika Girish and Jessica Green, programmer and Artistic Director of the Houston Cinema Arts Society, to discuss Caetano Gotardo and Marco Dutra’s All the Dead Ones, Ferrara’s Siberia, Bassam Tariq’s Mogul Mowgli, and Bastian Günther’s One of These Days.
This week, The Film Comment Podcast reports from the Berlin International Film Festival, straight from, you guessed it, Berlin. It’s one of the year’s major festivals, and the 2020 edition has been highly anticipated because of its new leadership and impressive slate. We’ll be talking about the highlights including new films from Christian Petzold, Hong Sangsoo, and Abel Ferrara, as well as Natalia Meta’s El Prófugo and Victor Kossakovsky’s Gunda. Film Comment Editor in Chief Nicolas Rapold is joined on this episode by FC Assistant Editor Devika Girish, and a few special guests. Also check out our website for more in-depth coverage on the festival and filmmakers. Let’s go now to our latest conversation in Berlin.
Last fall saw the release of Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story, which joins a long tradition of marital dramas while adding its own fresh sense of candor. After featuring the film in our September-October 2019 issue, we launched our hit podcast series Marriage Stories. Actually, we’ve only done one so far, but we are excited to present another installment. The premise is simple: we invite couples on the podcast to talk about movies relating to marriage. So for the latest installment, FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold sat down with R. Emmet Sweeney, a regular contributor to Film Comment, and Andrea Janes, a writer, entrepreneur, and past contributor to the magazine.
Last fall saw the release of Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story, which joins a long tradition of marital dramas while adding its own fresh sense of candor. After featuring the film in our September-October 2019 issue, we immediately thought, why not invite married couples on the podcast to talk about movies about marriage? We’re calling the series Marriage Stories, and the results have been wonderfully illuminating conversations freely weaving together critical and personal experiences across a wide selection of movies. For this special Valentine’s Day episode of Marriage Stories, Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold sat down with Chris Wisniewski, who wrote an essay on film education for FC last fall, and FC regular Michael Koresky. Be sure to look out for more Marriage Stories coming soon to The Film Comment Podcast.
The achievements of actors and actresses of color have long gone under-recognized in Hollywood. It’s a fact of the industry that has only gotten more glaring as the years go by. For the latest Film at Lincoln Center Talk hosted by Film Comment magazine, we gathered together to celebrate the craft of our favorite performers of color from current cinema. We also talked about key figures and overlooked talents from across film history. Our critical appreciation of specific actors naturally gave rise to a range of topics including issues of authenticity and gatekeeping. For the discussion, FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold was joined by Soraya Nadia McDonald, writer for The Undefeated and contributing editor at Film Comment; Mayukh Sen, James Beard Award–winning food and culture writer; and Devika Girish, assistant editor at Film Comment.
As you may have noticed, Film Comment went to the Sundance film festival in Park City, Utah. We recorded a series of podcasts and now at last we have our thrilling conclusion. For our final episode in Park City, FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold was joined by Manohla Dargis of The New York Times; Amy Taubin, contributing editor at Film Comment; and Devika Girish, our assistant editor. We talked about several movies including Eliza Hittman’s Never Rarely Sometimes Always, Lee Isaac Chung’s Minari, Benh Zeitlin’s long-awaited Wendy, and the documentary On the Record about accusations against hip hop mogul Russell Simmons. Plus, Miranda July’s Kajillionaire, Michael Almereyda’s Tesla, and more. For more on Sundance, be sure to listen to our previous podcasts and check our website for features. Let’s go now to our conversation.
This week we have been recording at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, talking about the highlights in its film lineup. One of the most anticipated movies there was the new film from Kirsten Johnson. Johnson’s first feature was the incredible Cameraperson, assembled partly from images she shot while working as a cinematographer on other films. Her new feature is called Dick Johnson Is Dead, and it’s innovative in a different way. It’s a portrait of her father and her relationship with him as he faces the challenges of growing old. But part of how Johnson expresses this coping process is through staged scenes, sometimes showing her father in heaven, sometimes having imaginary accidents. The result brings us closer to both the filmmaker and her father and to the inevitable horizon of mortality. At Sundance, after the film’s premiere, Film Comment Assistant Editor Devika Girish sat down with Johnson for a fascinating discussion of Dick Johnson Is Dead.
Welcome back to our ongoing series podcasts from the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. As we near the festival’s end, we’ve redoubled our efforts to bring our dedicated fans the content they crave: daily updates from Park City, covering all the great films and festive (film-related) goings-on. For today’s podcast, Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold sat down with Ashley Clark, Director of Film Programming at BAM, and FC Assistant Editor Devika Girish, for a discussion of Max Barbakow’s Palm Springs, Radha Blank’s The 40-Year-Old Version, Lee Isaac Chung’s Minari, Hubert Sauper’s Epicentro, and more.
Welcome back to our podcasts from the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. We’re bringing our dedicated fans the content they crave: daily updates from Park City, covering all the great films and festive (film-related) goings-on. For today’s podcast, Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold sat down with Ela Bittencourt (critic and FC contributor), Eric Hynes (FC columnist and curator of film at the Museum of the Moving Image) and FC Assistant Editor Devika Girish, for a discussion of Steve James’s City So Real, Lance Oppenheim’s Some Kind of Heaven, the New Frontier program, Michael Almereyda’s Tesla, and more.
Welcome back to our podcasts from the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. We’re bringing our dedicated fans the content they crave: daily updates from Park City, covering all the great films and festive (film-related) goings-on. For today’s podcast, Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold sat down with filmmaker and critic Sierra Pettengill and Devika Girish, assistant editor at FC, for a discussion of Kitty Green’s The Assistant, Garrett Bradley’s Time, Matt Wolf’s Spaceship Earth, Miranda July’s Kajillionaire, and more.
Welcome back to our podcasts from the 2020 Sundance Film Festival! We’ll be bringing you daily updates from Park City, covering all the great films and festive (film-related) goings-on. For today’s podcast, Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold sat down with Abby Sun, programmer and FC contributor, and Devika Girish, assistant editor at FC, for a discussion of Shirley, Time, Yalda, małni—towards the ocean, towards the shore, and more.
This week we are at the Sundance film festival in Park City, Utah, sending regular dispatches about the highlights in its independent film lineup. One of the most highly anticipated movies here is called The Last Thing He Wanted, from filmmaker Dee Rees, who previously directed Mudbound and Pariah. The Last Thing He Wanted is an adaptation of the Joan Didion novel, which centers on a journalist who gets caught up in shady international business when her ageing father gets sick. The time period is the high-Reagan 1980s, and the story involves malfeasance in Central America, gun running, family challenges, and the CIA. Anne Hathaway plays the journalist, Willem Dafoe is her father, Rosie Perez is a fellow journalist. Rees takes a kaleidoscopic approach to adapting Didion’s typically complex narration, FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold sat down with the director at Sundance to discuss her process as well as pick her brain about the movie’s ideas about modernity and identity. The Last Thing He Wanted premieres here on January 27 and will be available through Netflix in February.
Welcome back to our series of podcasts from the 2020 Sundance Film Festival! We’ll be bringing you daily updates from Park City, covering all the great films and festive (film-related) goings-on. For today’s podcast, Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold is joined by Sam Adams, senior editor at Slate and editor of Slate’s culture blog Brow Beat, and FC Assistant Editor (and podcast regular) Devika Girish. Films discussed include Eliza Hittman’s Never Rarely Sometimes Always, Zola, Boys State, Into the Deep, and Jumbo.
We’re back, reporting from the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Where others may have balked, we brave the dangerously crowded, ice-packed streets of Park City, Utah to bring you critical conversations about all the highlights from the festival. Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold is joined for this episode by Assistant Editor Devika Girish and podcast regular Eric Hynes, Curator of Film, Museum of the Moving Image, to discuss the films Crip Camp, Bad Hair, Miss Americana, and This Is Not a Burial, It Is a Resurrection.
It’s January, which means it’s time once again to see some movies in the snowy wilderness of the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Once again, the Film Comment Podcast will be on the scene, recording regular episodes, with the latest on the festival, the movies, and the filmmakers. We’re kicking things off with a preview of the 2020 edition’s offerings, talking about the movies we’re most looking forward to, and providing some context to the festival and what’s changed over the years. FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold is joined for this discussion by Amy Taubin, contributing editor, and Devika Girish, Assistant Editor.
For the past few weeks, we’ve been talking about the 2010s and asking some questions as part of our Decade Project. What were the key movies of the decade, which filmmakers were doing innovative work, and what were the major shifts and big issues in the artform and the industry? We brought our discussion of the decade to our latest Film Comment Talk at Film at Lincoln Center. Joining Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold for our discussion were Ashley Clark, Director of Film Programming at BAM; Devika Girish, Assistant Editor of Film Comment; Eric Hynes, Curator of Film at Museum of the Moving Image; and Alissa Wilkinson, Film Critic at Vox.
Vitalina Varela, the beautiful new film from Pedro Costa, is the cover of our January-February issue. Jordan Cronk spoke with Costa about the film’s story of a Cape Verdean woman named Vitalina who comes back to Lisbon for the funeral of her estranged husband. As Cronk put it in his feature: “Costa has been developing his approach into a new kind of dramatic portraiture . . . He has become a touchstone for an entire movement of contemporary art cinema ranging from documentary to the avant-garde.” Vitalina Varela next screens in the Sundance film festival, followed by an exclusive theatrical run at Film at Lincoln Center, where it showed in the main slate of the New York Film Festival. Last fall, Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold spoke with Pedro Costa at Film at Lincoln Center about crafting his deeply moving and technically virtuosic film.
Throughout her pioneering career, Agnès Varda has inspired countless filmmakers with her work and her groundbreaking career and style. At Film Comment, we leapt at the opportunity to put her on the cover when Faces Places was released. More recently, to celebrate the final weekend of the Varda retrospective at Film at Lincoln Center, Film Comment presented a conversation with another generation of filmmakers in honor of Varda. They talked about what Varda has meant to them and which movies from her oeuvre influenced them. For this discussion, Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold was pleased to be joined by Ashley Connor (cinematographer, Madeline’s Madeline and Feast of the Epiphany), Anna Rose Holmer (director, The Fits, ND/NF 2015), and Akosua Adoma Owusu (Pelourinho: They Don’t Really Care About Us, NYFF; 2020 recipient of the Lincoln Center Award for Emerging Artists.
Uncut Gems, directed by Josh and Benny Safdie, and starring Adam Sandler, is a full-throttle portrait of a diamond dealer in New York’s Diamond District. It’s been a wild success since it opened in December, and in our November-December issue, Michael Koresky wrote about the movie, praising how the Safdie brothers “capture the bustle and pace of rapid-fire economic exchange, filtering it through an increasingly panicky wild ride.” The neighborhoods of New York are central to the energy of Uncut Gems (as well as their previous films like Good Time). So we decided to invite Josh and Benny Safdie to chat about New York movies. Film Comment contributor Nick Pinkerton sat down with the filmmakers at Film at Lincoln Center, to talk about New York on screen and which particular movies influenced their vision of their hometown.
Little Women is without question one of the best movies of the recently-ended year, and it’s a wonderful triumph for director Greta Gerwig. That’s why we put it on the cover of our November-December issue, featuring Gerwig’s delightful interview by Devika Girish. But there’s even more to say about the movie and its intelligent, complex, and visually rich adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s novel. So Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold sat down with Devika and Amy Taubin, contributing editor to FC, to talk about what makes Little Women a great and important movie that shouldn’t be missed in the hustle of the new year.
Welcome to another episode in our Decade Project series where we look back at the past 10 years and talk about our favorite filmmakers, major changes and trends, and the movies that made a difference. This week, we’re talking about acting and performance in the 2010s—actors that made their mark, and tendencies we’ve noticed. Joining Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold are Michael Koresky, Film Comment regular, and Shonni Enelow, a Fordham professor and Film Comment contributor who wrote about a certain restrained acting style that’s taken shape for our September-October 2016 issue.
With the 2010s on the way out, we thought that this very recent history could use a road map. Each installment of the Decade Project will look at key developments, pivotal movies, groundbreaking film artists, and so on. This week, we’re looking at filmmakers but specifically everyone but the director. We’re as guilty as anyone of referring to movies in terms of their directors. So we wanted to look back and choose a few favorite cinematographers, and editors, and costume designers who were doing outstanding work in the 2010s. Joining Film Comment Editor-in-Chief for this conversation are two programmers, Eric Hynes, curator of the Museum of the Moving Image, and Ashley Clark, director, film programming, at BAM.
It’s that time of year again! Film Comment has made a list and we’ve checked it twice: the best films of 2019, chosen through a poll of our contributing writers. And according to our new annual tradition, we announced the results live at a special Film Comment Talk. This year, Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold was joined to unveil and discuss the films by Amy Taubin, longtime contributing editor at Film Comment; Soraya Nadia Macdonald, who writes for The Undefeated and is a contributing editor at Film Comment; Michael Koresky, all around Film Comment all-star; and Devika Girish, assistant editor at Film Comment. You can read the full Best of 2019 list online, including best unreleased films, and don’t forget to follow along with our special podcast series The Decade Project, about the 2010s. But now, our Best Films of 2019 countdown.
By any measure, the 2010s have been a confusing and turbulent and also exciting time. That goes for both movies and the world at large, and that’s saying a lot after the 2000s. At Film Comment, part of our goal is to offer a critical chronicle of the movies as they’re happening, putting things in historical perspective, pointing out the bold and the beautiful in the art and craft of film, and hopefully offering an insight or two along the way. That’s often hardest to do with contemporary history, and so to grapple with the 2010s, we’re starting a series of Film Comment podcasts we’re calling The Decade Project. We’ll look at the movies from different angles and do our best to map out a vivid but often hard to characterize time. This week, we’ll talk about some of the major shifts and changes that happened over the last ten years, and some of the decade’s pivotal movies. It’s also an opportunity to talk about the big picture in movies, which probably means having a healthy skepticism about thinking in terms of decades altogether. Joining FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold for this discussion are longtime contributing editor Amy Taubin; FC regular Michael Koresky, who is co-editor of the Reverse Shot book, Martin Scorsese: He Is Cinema; and Nick Pinkerton, who’s written a number of essays for us looking at the big picture. Stay tuned for more of The Decade Project with guests Ashley Clark, Sheila O’Malley, Andrew Chan, Molly Haskell, and more. Let’s go to the beginning of our conversation.
Martin Scorsese’s new film The Irishman has been out in theaters since the beginning of November, which you probably know unless you’ve been hiding under a rock (or were buried under Giants Stadium). Scorsese’s story follows the life of mob fixer Frank Sheeran and his close relationship with mob boss Russell Bufalino and Jimmy Hoffa, the Teamsters leader.
The movie’s release is the perfect time to talk about Scorsese and his work, and explore exactly where The Irishman takes us. Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold is joined by Shonni Enelow, associate professor at Fordham University and author of Method Acting and Its Discontents; Molly Haskell, critic and author whose books include From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in the Movies and Steven Spielberg: A Life in Films; and Film Comment regular Michael Koresky, co-editor of the Reverse Shot book, Martin Scorsese: He Is Cinema.
It’s a busy couple of months for moviegoers as hits from festivals make their way into cinemas. That means it’s time for another New Releases episode, where talk about some highly anticipated titles. Film Comment Editor-in Chief Nicolas Rapold is joined by Devika Girish, assistant editor at FC, and Michael Gillespie, Associate Professor of Film at The City College of New York. Among the movies discussed are Atlantics, The Irishman, and Portrait of a Lady on Fire, which is coming soon in December.
Dark Waters is the new film from Todd Haynes, and it’s a change of pace from his last feature, Wonderstruck, and much of his work generally. Dark Waters is a whistleblower drama about Rob Billott, a lawyer who began investigating the chemical company DuPont, which his own firm was doing business with. To discuss the movie, contributing editor Amy Taubin sat down with Haynes for an extended interview. They cover the challenges of making political work today, the connections Dark Waters has with his previous films, details about shooting the movie, and more.
Some of the most exciting movies being made today are tackling class tensions and the role of work in our lives. Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite, our cover story last issue, is one major example, with its twisty upstairs-downstairs thriller set-up. But many other films have been taking up the subjects of work and class in a variety of different ways: Boots Riley’s Sorry to Bother You, Stephen Soderbergh’s High Flying Bird, Mike Leigh’s Peterloo, Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, and Greta Gerwig’s upcoming movie Little Women (the cover of our latest issue). For our latest Film Comment talk at Film at Lincoln Center, we were delighted to discuss work and class with veteran independent filmmaker John Sayles, whose film about striking miners, Matewan, is now available in the Criterion Collection. Also joining Sayles and FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold was Teo Bugbee, a contributor to Film Comment and The New York Times who also works as an organizer for Writers Guild of America East. Starting off with how Matewan was conceived, we covered a lot of ground, spanning decades at the movies and in American history.
This week we celebrate two different strands of Indian cinema, looking at the past and the vibrant present. First, we look at the landmark Film at Lincoln Center retrospective for Rhitwik Ghatak, director of The Cloud-Capped Star and other films. For that part of the discussion, we’ll be joined by two of the series programmers, Moinak Biswas and former Film at Lincoln Center director of programming Richard Peña.
For the second half of the episode, in connection with our new November-December issue, we’ll be talking about the Tamil filmmaker Vetri Maaran with R. Emmet Sweeney, who wrote about the director’s bloody portraits of South India. Our special guest host for the episode is FC assistant editor Devika Girish.
Horror movies are the usual choice for Halloween viewing. But we here at Film Comment got to wondering: what are the scariest movies that are not horror films? There are many ways a movie can get under your skin, and it’s not always through gore or the supernatural. To discuss this notion, FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold got together with Film Comment regular Michael Koresky and Ashley Clark, senior repertory programmer at BAM. Each chose one or two movies (including Cabaret, Bamboozled, and Terminator 2: Judgment Day) that frightened them but don’t fall into the horror genre, leading to an intriguing discussion of how movies get under your skin. And sleep tight!
The Lighthouse is the mind-bending new movie out from Robert Eggers, a director who’s making a career out of revisiting America’s primal past in vividly imagined period films. In 2015, Eggers won the Best Directing Award at Sundance for The Witch, a chilling piece of horror set in a colonial New England settlement. In The Lighthouse, Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson star as two lighthouse keepers, a grizzled old-timer and his new apprentice, in 19th century Maine. For our latest Film Comment Talk at Film at Lincoln Center, FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold spoke with Eggers about the art, craft, and angst of making the movie, fleshing out the details of its setting, and what he’d do with an unlimited budget.
At Film Comment, we love it when we get behind a movie and then see other movie-goers share the love. Parasite, the funny and fierce thriller from Bong Joon-ho, was on the cover of our September-October issue, but wasn't released in theaters until mid-October. But what a release! Audiences are packing the theaters. To talk about the movie’s appeal and Bong’s masterful filmmaking, FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold sat down with contributing editor Amy Taubin, who wrote out September-October feature on Parasite, and FC columnist and critic Michael Koresky. And don't miss the essay on Parasite by Midsommar filmmaker Ari Aster, also available in our latest issue.
Mister America is the new film starring Tim Heidecker and Gregg Turkington. It’s a documentary-style satire about an first-time political candidate named Tim Heidecker, that is, the character Heidecker has played for years now alongside Turkington as part of their movie show On Cinema at the Cinema. In case you don’t already know, Heidecker and Turkington have created an incredible comedic universe involving their two movie-guy characters which spans a vanity spy show, Twitter, and now Mister America. FC Editor-in-Chief sat down with the duo to talk about how they put it all together, where cinema verité comes into it, and what they think of Alan Partridge.
For the festival’s final week, contributing critics and editors gather together for a spirited discussion with Film Comment‘s Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold about the movies they’ve seen in the NYFF57 lineup. Panelists include programmer and FC contributing editor Nellie Killian; Michael Koresky of Film Comment and Reverse Shot; Amy Taubin of Film Comment and Artforum; and critic Phoebe Chen. The panel discusses Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s To the Ends of the Earth, Bertrand Bonello’s Zombi Child, Pedro Costa’s Vitalina Varela, Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story, Kelly Reichardt’s First Cow, Eloy Enciso Cachafeiro’s Endless Night, among many others.
Every year at the New York Film Festival, Film Comment brings together a group of intrepid filmmakers whose work is screening in the festival. It’s a rare chance to share stories about the art, craft, and angst of filmmaking, and to compare notes on inspirations and what makes a good collaboration. This year, Film Comment Editor-in-Chief spoke with an all-star lineup of filmmakers from across the festival: Pietro Marcello, director of Martin Eden, Corneliu Porumboiu, director of The Whistlers, Justine Triet, director of Sibyl, and from the Projections program, Akosua Adoma Owusu, director of Pelourinho: They Don’t Really Care About Us, and Luise Donschen, director of Entire Days Together.
The new film Bacurau centers upon the residents of a remote Brazilian village who gradually discover that they’re being hunted by a group of Western tourists. Part class-warfare satire, part thriller, the movie gripped audiences at the New York Film Festival and it marks a major achievement by its directors Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles.
In this episode, FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold joins FC Assistant Editor Devika Girish in a conversation with Mendonça Filho and Dornelles where they discuss five key scenes from the film. These include the opening scene, which takes us via drone shot and truck drive into the film’s remote setting; a psychotropic interlude in which the residents of Bacurau dance the capoeira in preparation for battle; and finally a climactic action sequence that occurs in a local museum. They also discuss a memorable exchange between Udo Kier, who appears here as the icy-cruel leader of the Western mercenaries, and Brazilian acting legend Sonia Braga, who plays the village matriarch. Listen ahead for details on the making of each scene.
Think of it as a festival within the festival: every year, the annual Projections program brings the latest and greatest of experimental film to the New York Film Festival. Projections is a crucial and consistently popular snapshot of the boundary pushing part of cinema that is embedded in the DNA of the New York Film Festival, by way of co-founder Amos Vogel. To navigate this year’s rich offerings, I brought together two leading critics in the field: Ed Halter, a critic in residence at Bard and co-director of Light Industry, and Film Comment contributing editor Nellie Killian, who teaches at Pratt. The conversation starts with a broad look at today’s experimental scene before spotlighting favorites from this year’s Projections.
Tune in for more Film Comment fun at the New York Film Festival with our Filmmakers Chat director showcase on Saturday, October 5th, and our critics wrapup on Wednesday, October 9, both free events at Film at Lincoln Center.
Every year at the New York Film Festival, Film Comment puts on a slate of special events, including public talks and a screening presentation. Our first NYFF talk this year was titled State of the Nation, a wide-ranging conversation about the complex interplay between politics and cinema. How do filmmakers grapple with the challenge of portraying current events and recent history on screen? And how successfully are movies reflecting the political complexities of a fast changing world? FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold sat down with a variety of voices to discuss these questions from different angles: Scott Z. Burns, writer-director of The Report and writer of The Laundromat; Jamsheed Akrami, professor at William Paterson University, director of Friendly Persuasion: Iranian Cinema After the 1979 Revolution, and author of our Jafar Panahi interview feature from March/April; and Devika Girish, Assistant Editor of Film Comment, who wrote a cover story for FC last year about Black Panther.
The New York Film Festival is here! And there’s a lot to talk about. Film Comment will have three onstage talks during the festival, as well as special screenings of the much-anticipated Portrait of a Lady on Fire. But first we wanted to dip our toe into the lineup by talking with two recent guests at Film at Lincoln Center: Ashley Clark, Senior repertory and specialty film programmer at BAM; and filmmaker and critic Farihah Zaman. Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold welcomed the two to talk about Mati Diop’s Atlantics, Bertrand Bonello Zombi Child, Diao Yinan’s Wild Goose Lake, Michel Gondry’s Dave Chappelle's Block Party, Elia Kazan’s America, America , and others.
One of the highlights of the fall, and this year’s New York Film Festival, is the new film by Pedro Almodóvar, Pain and Glory. Our new September-October issue features an essay by Michael Koresky about the film and it’s fearless autobiographical story. Koresky writes, “There has been no clearer onscreen representation of the filmmaker’s essence than the main character of Pain and Glory, played with exquisite middle-aged restraint by Almodóvar’s longtime muse, Antonio Banderas.” To discuss the director, his new film, and his beloved career, Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold sat with Koresky and Film at Lincoln Center’s Eugene Hernandez. Also: pick up the new issue of Film Comment to read Koresky’s essay as well as an article by Almodóvar himself about the literary inspirations behind his cinematic achievements.
For our third roundup of all the on-screen goings-n at TIFF 2019, Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold sits down with critic and FC contributor Michael Koresky and Justin Chang, film critic for the Los Angeles Times, to discuss Waves, Jojo Rabbit, Africa, Two of Us, Uncut Gems, Marriage Story, Saturday Fiction, Color Out of Space,and others.
For our second dispatch from the not-yet-frozen tundra of Toronto, Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold welcomes back Devika Girish (FC Assistant Editor) and programmer and critic Abby Sun for a rundown of highlights, including Lina from Lima, Just Mercy, Synonyms, Terminal Sud, Blood Quantum, and Simple Women.
After a whirlwind tour of Venice (don't forget to check out those episodes!), we dive right into the Toronto International Film Festival this week. Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold sits down with guests Devika Girish (Assistant Editor at Film Comment), Jessica Green (programmer and Artistic Director of the Houston Cinema Arts Society) and Eric Hynes (curator of film at the Museum of the Moving Image)to discuss some highlights from the festival, including Knives Out, Collective, The Lost Okoroshi, Martin Eden, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood and others.
In our third and final dispatch from the Venice Film Festival, FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold is joined by Jay Weissberg, film critic for Variety, and Christina Newland, writer for Sight & Sound and Little White Lies. They discuss a packed line-up of films: Olivier Assayas's Wasp Network, Pietro Marcello's Martin Eden, David Michôd's The King, Pablo Larraín's Ema, Roy Andersson's About Endlessness, and some picks from the festival's sidebar sections.
In our second dispatch from the Venice Film Festival, FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold is joined by Justin Chang, film critic for the Los Angeles Times, to discuss some much-anticipated titles, including Todd Phillips' Joker, Nate Parker's American Skin, and Steven Soderbergh's The Laundromat. Plus: our new Which Movie quiz, in which critics try to find some order in the chaos of festival-viewing.
This week The Film Comment Podcast reports on the latest premieres at the Venice Film Festival, already in full swing with the fall’s first wave of highly anticipated titles. Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold joins FC contributing editor and veteran international correspondent Jonathan Romney at an undisclosed alfresco location for an in-depth discussion of festival highlights. These include James Gray’s Ad Astra, Roman Polanski’s An Officer and a Spy, Haifaa al-Mansour’s The Perfect Candidate, and Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story. Stay tuned for another edition of our Venice podcast series.
The 76th Venice International Film Festival opens today, kicking off a jam-packed fall festival season. Before heading off to the Lido, Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold sat down with FC Assistant Editor Devika Girish to discuss the films in the lineup—by auteurs both established and new—that we're most excited about. They speculate about Haifa Al-Mansour's The Perfect Candidate (which has the dubious distinction of being one of the only two Competition films directed by women), Roy Andersson's About Endlessness, Noah Baumbach's Marriage Story, Ciro Guerra's Waiting for the Barbarians, Lou Ye's Saturday Fiction, and James Gray's Ad Astra, amongst others.
Check back over the course of Venice for a regular stream of new episodes diving into these and other films.
Dazed and Confused, Boyhood, Before Sunset and beyond—it’s hard to match Richard Linklater when it comes to movies basically about how we find our way through life. And probably a lot of us found our way with the help of Linklater’s thoughtful, restless movies. His latest film Where’d You Go Bernadette adds another chapter to his work with the story of a woman rediscovering a creative self she left behind when she started a family. It’s a terrific, nervy, and funny performance by Cate Blanchett, with a touching portrait of a mother-daughter relationship. So for our latest Film Comment talk at Film at Lincoln Center, we were extremely happy to feature Linklater alongside his producer Ginger Sledge. FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold sat down with the two for a conversation on Bernadette and beyond.
This week, the Film Comment podcast reports on location from the 2019 Locarno International Film Festival. FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold was joined by Jessica Green, programmer and Artistic Director of the Houston Cinema Arts Society, and programmer and FC contributor Jordan Cronk, for a discussion of festival highlights. These include Pedro Costa’s Vitalina Varela, Elsa Kremser and Levin Peter’s doc Space Dogs, Ja'Tovia M. Gary’s The Giverny Document, Ulrich Köhler and Henner Winkler’s A Voluntary Year, Nadège Trebal’s Twelve Thousand, and a selection of films from the festival’s retrospective program which shined a spotlight on black cinema.
Welcome to another edition of the Rep Report, our regular roundup of retrospectives, repertory cinema, and other film series in New York. This week, we focus on the series Another Country: Outsider Visions of America, currently running at Film at Lincoln Center. The program looks at America through the eyes of a wide range of artists born abroad: Chantal Akerman (News from Home) Lars Von Trier (Dogville), John Woo (Face-Off), Jane Campion (In the Cut), and many more. Each filmmaker brings something distinctive and personal to America’s inspiring myths and its strange, wonderful, as well as brutal realities. To discuss the series, FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold is joined by one of its organizers, Thomas Beard, Programmer-at-Large at Film at Lincoln Center and co-founder of Light Industry, and Becca Voelcker, FC contributor and doctoral student at Harvard.
Flash Sale: Save 50% on a subscription to Film Comment through our limited-time-only sale, starting August 9! Go to filmcomment.com/subscribe for more information.
Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in... Hollywood is the subject of the cover story for our July-August issue. Tarantino’s latest made a splash at the Cannes Film Festival, and now it’s finding great success in theaters. All of that despite being a change of pace for the director. The film is set in the twilight period of 1969, in a small world of Hollywood actors, bit players, and movie and TV productions, alongside more fringe elements of society represented by the Manson Family. Though the specter of the murderous cult leader lurks throughout, Once Upon a Time is a largely affectionate movie, with a lot of room to hang out in, and terrific actors to hang out with: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Margot Robbie, among others. To discuss the film, Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold sat down with Michael Koresky, longtime FC contributor and co-editor of Reverse Shot, and Maddie Whittle, programming assistant at Film at Lincoln Center. Listeners beware: in order to talk about the movie’s accomplishments and significance, we do talk about the story in full, including parts of the plot that have, to date, been kept under wraps.
We tend to agree on the classic films of the past, from Breathless, to McCabe & Mrs. Miller, to Tokyo Story. A new series at Film at Lincoln Center looks to more recent history with a survey of outstanding debut films from the 21st century so far. The series includes Medicine for Melancholy from Barry Jenkins (director of Moonlight), The Forest for the Trees from Maren Ade (director of Toni Erdmann), and many more. For the latest Film at Lincoln Center talk, Film Comment put together a critical discussion of these works and their place in cinema. The participants were Florence Almozini (associate director of programming at Film at Lincoln Center), Eric Hynes (curator of film at the Museum of the Moving Image), Devika Girish (assistant editor at FC), Ashley Clark (senior repertory and specialty film programmer at BAM), and FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold.
Welcome back to the second installment in our monthly series covering new releases. This week, Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold is joined by critic Emily Yoshida, who has written for Vulture and Vanity Fair, and frequent FC contributor Devika Girish. The three sat down to discuss Lulu Wong’s The Farewell, which has already received a fair amount of attention for its sweet story about a family reacting to the illness of a beloved grandmother in China. They also talk about two lesser known films that recreate vivid moments from the past in Argentina and England, Benjamín Naishtat’s Rojo and Richard Billingham’s Ray & Liz, before wrapping up with The Art of Self-Defense, starring Jesse Eisenberg.
One of summer’s most anticipated films is Midsommar, from filmmaker Ari Aster. The director joined us last summer for a talk at Film at Lincoln Center to discuss his previous feature, the unforgettable Hereditary, and we were delighted to welcome him back for another Film Comment chat on Tuesday, July 10. In front of a packed house, Aster sat down with author and Film Comment mainstay Michael Koresky for a discussion about his Swedish countryside-set horror film, working with star Florence Pugh, and favorite movies such as 45 Years. Also, listen up for a few details on the forthcoming director’s cut of Midsommar, and don’t forget to read about Aster’s inspirations for the film in the July-August issue of Film Comment.
A big part of Film Comment’s mission is to bring well-informed insights and original voices to the rich heritage of movies. One beautiful example of this is our regular column, Queer & Now & Then, written by Michael Koresky. With every column, Michael picks a single movie from a specific year for a discussion in terms of queerness, as part of what he calls, “a conversation with himself and the movies.” For our latest Film Comment roundtable talk at Film at Lincoln Center, we invited several critics to join Michael for a talk about the interconnections between their experiences and memories of movies and their sense of identity. This podcast is record of this insightful, funny, and candid conversation between Koresky, Melissa Anderson of 4Columns, best-selling author and critic Mark Harris, Wesley Morris of The New York Times, and filmmaker and critic Farihah Zaman.
As summer officially begins and vacations mount, more and more find themselves stranded on remote, unspoiled beaches, far from the nearest cinema. We decided to throw those unfortunate souls a lifeline with a podcast focusing on new and upcoming movies. Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold is joined by FC contributors Devika Girish and Maddie Whittle for an in-depth (and occasionally spoiler-adjacent) conversation about the latest and greatest films currently and imminently gracing the big screen, including Ari Aster’s Midsommar, Peter Parlow’s The Plagiarists, and Eva Trobisch’s All Good.
For a while now, we’ve been wanting to do an episode on the curious art form known as the TV movie. For a lot of people, the TV movie couldn’t be less of an art form, the term itself having become a byword for hokey or schlocky storytelling, even long after TV movies were being made in any great number. But why do so many remember these movies vividly for so many years afterward? And what might they have in common with other forms historically regarded as “less than serious,” like the melodrama? And what makes TV movies—including those directed by Steven Spielberg, Robert Altman, and George Cukor, to name a few—different from, just, a movie? Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold turns to Soraya Nadia McDonald, culture critic at The Undefeated, and FC contributor Shonni Enelow for help answering the vexing question: What was the TV movie?
Welcome to another edition of the Rep Report, our regular roundup of retrospectives, repertory cinema, and other film series in New York. This week, we turn our attention to a remarkable series at Film Forum titled The Hour of Liberation: Decolonizing Cinema, 1966–1981. The series looks at landmark works from around the world that pushed cinema and political critique into bold new directions, and includes rarely screened films by Ousmane Sembène, Med Hondo, Sara Gómez, Glauber Rocha, and many others. FC Editor-in Chief Nicolas Rapold is joined by Elspeth Carroll, the curator of the series and Repertory Programming Associate at Film Forum, and Ashley Clark, Senior Repertory and Specialty Film Programmer at BAM.
In her feature on Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir in the May-June issue of Film Comment, Sheila O’Malley writes,“The autobiographical origins of The Souvenir are obvious (Hogg doesn’t try to hide them), yet she allows for free-floating associations, creating a kind of space where connections are possible, where there can be a wincing kind of recognition, a remembrance of first love and first heartbreak. The response is a not always comfortable: ‘Yes. My God, I know that. That is so true.’’’ The film, a self-portrait of the artist as a young woman, is a complex and multi-layered exploration of first love, heartbreak, creativity, family, and class. Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold sat down with O’Malley (also author of the FC column Present Tense) and FC contributor and columnist Michael Koresky to discuss the The Souvenir and how Hogg’s previous films Unrelated (2008), Archipelago (2010), and Exhibition (2013) inform her latest.
For our latest Film Comment Free Talk, the director of I Shot Andy Warhol and American Psycho sat down for a conversation about at her latest, Charlie Says. The film looks past the mythology of the Manson Family murders to focus on the experiences of three women under the charismatic cult leader’s spell, both at the time of the crimes and in prison. Harron and FC Editor-in-Chief discuss the genesis of the film, the director’s background as a punk-era music journalist, and her depictions of violence—both physical and psychological—on screen.
The end is nigh! For our final salvo from the Riviera, we welcome guest Manohla Dargis, critic for the New York Times, for a wrap-up of all the festival goings-on. Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold sat down with Dargis to discuss a Cannes line-up that was widely considered a success. The two run through their highlights of the festival, including Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles’s phantasmagorical Bacurau, the fascinating flawed jewel that is Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood, and Mounia Meddour’s Algerian ’90s coming-of-age drama Papicha. They also discuss the lowlights, including Abdellatif Kechiche’s much maligned three-and-a-half-hour ogle Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo. Other topics include TV Westerns of the ’60s and ’70s, movie stars and press junkets, the politics of what plays in competition, and much more.
The Film Comment Podcast takes you into the closing weekend of Cannes with guest Rasha Salti, programmer for the Marrakesh International Film Festival. Salti joins FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold for a closer look at Middle Eastern and African films, including Alaa Eddine Aljem’s The Unknown Saint, Amin Sidi-Boumédiène’s Abou Leila, Ala Eddine Slim’s Tlamess, as well as Bertrand Bonello’s Zombi Child, Rebecca Zlotowski’s The Easy Girl, and many others.
We're back from Cannes, this time with a recording of a live Film Comment event at the American Pavilion. Joining Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold on the stage were Film at Lincoln Center Deputy Director Eugene Hernandez, FC contributing editor Amy Taubin, and FC contributor Jonathan Romney. Through the fog of ”baguette overdose,” the four take a big-picture look at the festival and discuss the 2019 entries they believe will stand the test of time. The films discussed (and debated) include Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite, Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don't Die, Robert Egger’s The Lighthouse, Abel Ferrara’s Tomasso, and many more.
It’s two-fer Tuesday! We’re back with a fresh-out-of-the-oven special episode on two of the most anticipated films at the festival: Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Terrence Malick’s A Hidden Life. Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold is joined by critic and programmer Giulia d'Agnolo Vallan and Eric Hynes, FC contributor and curator of film at the Museum of the Moving Image, for a conversation on Tarantino’s post-Summer-of-Love comedown and a (somewhat) heated debate on Malick’s meditation on war and ethics.
The Film Comment Podcast returns for another day of fun, sun, and Cannes-versation from the French Rivieria. For day 7, Italian critic Carlo Chatrian, recently named Artistic Director of the Berlin Film Festival, sat down with Film Comment Editor-in-Chief to discuss Bertrand Bonello’s Zombi Child, Albert Serra’s literally Sadistic Liberté, Bruno Dumont’s Joan of Arc, and Corneliu Porumboiu’s unclassifiable The Whistlers and gestures toward genre at Cannes.
Welcome back for day 6 of our podcast from Cannes. We’re kicking the week off with guests Dennis Lim, director of programming at Film at Lincoln Center, and Film Comment contributor Jonathan Romney. They join FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold for a discussion of three Cannes sensations: Corneliu Porumboiu’s dream-like The Whistlers, Albert Serra’s “radical,” La Liberté, and Robert Eggers’s “intensely physical” The Lighthouse.
We’re back from Cannes with day 5 of our podcasts covering all the cinematic goings-on in the south of France. For today’s episode, Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold is joined by FC contributing editor Amy Taubin and Justin Chang, critic at the Los Angeles Times. The three kick things off a conversation about Pedro Almodóvar’s Pain and Glory before taking a look at Mati Diop’s Atlantique, Mounia Meddour's Papicha, Michael Angelo Covino’s The Climb, and Jessica Hausner's Little Joe, one of the most anticipated entries at the festival.
Check out all of our Cannes coverage: https://www.filmcomment.com/blog/category/cannes/
We’re back from Cannes for day four of our series of podcasts on the cinematic goings-on on the Riviera. For today’s episode, Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold is joined by Brazil-based critic and FC contributor Ela Bittencourt. The two discuss the young Russian filmmaker Kantemir Balagov’s Beanpole, which tells the story of two young women navigating the ruins, both emotional and environmental, of post-War Leningrad. The two also return to Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles’s Bacurau, discussed in our previous episode, and touch on Franco Lolli’s Litigante, a look at the trials and tribulations a single mother and lawyer living in Bogota, Colombia.
Welcome back for day 3 of our podcasts from Cannes 2019. Joining us on the Riviera for today’s episode are Bruno Dequen, critic and Director of Programming at Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire de Montréal and Eric Hynes, Film Comment contributor and Curator of Film at the Musuem of Moving Image. Along with host and FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold, the two dive into the depths of Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles’s Bacarau, which Dequen describes as “The Most Dangerous Game if it were co-directed by Reygadas and Robert Rodriguez.” They also discuss Mati Diop’s Atlantique, a love-story focused on the intertwined lives of North African immigrants to Europe, Monia Chokri’s A Brother’s Love, and the documentary programming (or lack thereof) at the festival.
For day 2 at Cannes, Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold sits down with Eugene Hernandez, Deputy Director of Film at Lincoln Center, to chat about a handful of the most impactful films they've seen so far. The two take a look at the breakout immigration drama Les Misérables, from Cannes rookie Ladj Ly. The film, set in a rough Parisian banlieue, builds to an explosive confrontation between authorities, community leaders, and a group of intrepid, angry teens. They also discuss Bull—the first feature from director Annie Silverstein—a coming-of-age story set in rural Texas, and the line-up of movies by young filmmakers at the festival.
Let the games begin! We’ve touched down in Cannes and, for our first of many podcasts from the festival, Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold found a quiet corner with FC contributing editor Amy Taubin to talk over some of the titles—both big and small—that we’re most excited about. On this episode, we focus on the opening film, Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die, and chat about the expectations surrounding Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. We also touch on Pedro Almodóvar’s Pain and Glory, Mati Diop’s Atlantiques, Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite, Terrence Malick’s A Hidden Life, and many others. Check back over the course of Cannes for a regular stream of new episodes diving into these and other films.
And, in case you missed it, be sure to check out Taubin’s interview with Jim Jarmusch, posted yesterday: https://www.filmcomment.com/blog/cannes-interview-jim-jarmusch/
In our May-June issue (out now!), Aliza Ma writes about the new film Olivier Assayas’s Non-Fiction, a comedic portrait of a Paris literary set struggling to adapt to the digital age. Her essay begins, “In the cinema of Olivier Assayas, we find a laboratory of the world.” We had the good fortune to visit that laboratory in a new interview with the director. Film Comment contributor (and Curator of Film at the Museum of Moving Image) Eric Hynes sat down with Assayas for a conversation that expands on the ideas about technology and human relationships contained in Non-Fiction, and which bubble up throughout the director’s movies, such as Irma Vep, Personal Shopper, and Le destinées. Non-Fiction is in theaters now, including at Film at Lincoln Center.
The Rep Report is our regular roundup of current retrospectives and film series. This week, we're focusing on an important and fun series at the Brooklyn Academy of Music called Black ’90s: A Turning Point in American Cinema. It's a carefully curated look at major works by black filmmakers in the 1990s, such as the late John Singleton’s Boyz n the Hood, Charles Burnett’s To Sleep With Anger, Kasi Lemmons’s Eve’s Bayou, Leslie Harris’s Just Another Girl on the I.R.T., and Hype Williams’s Belly, as well as lesser known works like Zeinabu Irene Davis’s Compensation and Haile Gerima’s Sankofa, among many others. The programmer of the series, Ashley Clark—who has written for Film Comment about Burnett and Ava Duvernay, among others—joined FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold for an in-depth conversation about Black ’90s and the riches on offer throughout the series.
In our March-April issue, Michael Koresky writes about history of a movie magazine with a humble name: Films and Filming. Koresky writes about the importance of this long-defunct publication as both a classic movie journal and a cultural phenomenon for gay readers. He writes, “Our culture instills mighty shame in us for knowing what we want, and that shame has long been magnified to the point of obscenity even stigma, when that desire is gay. The shamelessness of the magazine’s appeal, and the way it so rudely bound sexual desires to movie love, felt like a rich, purposeful affront.” Jumping off from this feature, Koresky joins Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold for a wide-ranging discussion of the role of desire in our love of movies. We were delighted to also bring in Aliza Ma, programmer at Metrograph, and Andrew Chan, Web Editor at the Criterion Collection.
For our latest Film Comment Free Talk, Claire Denis and Robert Pattinson joined FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold to discuss their singular new film High Life, which graces the cover of Film Comment’s March-April issue. In his feature on the film, Nick Pinkerton writes that, “While High Life is the biggest and most expensive movie that Denis has ever made, it gives little indication of its scale having been bartered for at the sacrifice of freedom—or with the stymieing of the go-with-the-gut intuition that has produced a sui generis body of work, created with enormous craft but a total disdain for the rules of the ‘well-made’ film, elliptical in approach and full of jarring tonal shifts.” In this conversation, the filmmaker and actor discuss working together to bring High Life to the screen, as well as Denis’s remarkable eye for physicality, encountering the taboo, considerations of genre, and much more.
New Directors/New Films has always been a vital for, well, new directors and new films. Over the course of its nearly 50 years, the festival has introduced audiences to filmmakers like Spike Lee, Chantal Akerman, Bi Gan, Valerie Massadian, Gabriel Mascaro, RaMell Ross, and Kelly Reichardt. The 2019 edition continued in this tradition, bringing a bracing selection of films, many still without distribution, to screens in New York. This week, we take a closer look at ND/NF 2019, paying particular attention to a few of our favorites this year, including Clemency, Joy, Genesis, and Fausto, among others. Film Comment Editor in Chief Nicolas Rapold is joined by Rosa Morales, development and membership coordinator at SFFILM, Sebastian Rea, founder of the 30UNDER30 Film Festival, and Abby Sun, FC contributor and programmer at True/False Film Fest to reflect on this year's festival, and to dig a little deeper into some standout selections.
They say that "democracy dies in darkness," but a handful of new films, including Mike Leigh's Peterloo and Jordan Peele's Us, argue otherwise, providing evidence that the subject is alive and well in darkened theaters across the country. This week, we discuss how these films—along with the work of Agnès Varda, Agnieszka Holland, and Frederick Wiseman—portray democracy on screen. Film Comment Editor in Chief Nicolas Rapold, contributing editor Amy Taubin, and FC contributor Shonni Enelow convene a committee to explore how these filmmakers and films approach the often messy, non-linear, and multi-faceted process of collective governance.
The Rep Report returns with an in-depth conversation about the upcoming Nelly Kaplan retrospective at the Quad Cinema, along with other rep highlights. This week, Film Comment Editor in Chief Nicolas Rapold is joined by FC contributing editor Nellie Killian and first-time guest Chris Wells, director of repertory programming at Quad Cinema for a look at an underappreciated filmmaker whose work is primed for reappraisal. The fascinating Nelly Kaplan was something of a polymath, variously a journalist, documentary filmmaker, writer of surrealist fiction, screenwriter, and film critic and theorist (and occasional contributor to Film Comment). Under discussion here is the series of politically probing, playful, and ferociously feminist features which the Paris-based Kaplan began making in the late ’60s. In addition to the Kaplan series, which opens April 12 at the Quad, we also touch on Film Forum's upcoming Fay Wray and Robert Riskin series and pay tribute to the Nitrate Picture Show at the George Eastman Museum.
High Life, the new movie from Claire Denis, comes to theaters on April 5. With a cast featuring Film Comment cover subject Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, and André Benjamin as members of a group of death-row convicts trapped on an experimental, interstellar journey, High Life tells a story of intimacy, isolation, and taboo. Though it touches on themes of family and group identity that may be familiar to fans of Denis, the film’s setting and nods to science fiction make it a both a continuation and a complication of many of the ideas, feelings, and sensations that she’s explored before. For the occasion, Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold welcomed FC contributing writer Nick Pinkerton (author of the March-April issue’s High Life cover story) and Madeline Whittle of the Film Society of Lincoln Center, to discuss both High Life and one other Denis film chosen by each guest.
Denis and Pattinson will sit down for a Film Comment Free Talk on Thursday, April 4, at 5:30pm. The seating will be first-come, first-served, and doors will open at 4:30pm. Don’t miss what’s sure to be an enlightening, exciting conversation. For more information, visit filmlinc.org.
For our latest Film Comment talk, Academy Award-winning director László Nemes sat down to discuss his latest film, which opened Film Comment Selects last month. The film, Sunset, tells the story of an orphaned young woman, Irisz, searching for her mysterious brother in the nightmarishly labyrinth of pre-World War I Budapest. Sunset opens in theaters on March 22. Nemes joined Film Comment editor Nicolas Rapold for a conversation following on Saturday, February 9 to discuss Sunset and the director's work more broadly.
Over the years, the True/False festival (based in the college town of Columbia, Missouri) has grown into one of the most outstanding annual showcases for documentary film. This year, Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold returned to moderate “Toasted,” the True/False festival’s very late-night wrap-up event, in front of a lively audience. Rapold was joined by a crew of filmmakers and programmers, including Brett Story, director of The Hottest August; Maíra Bühler, director of Let It Burn; Miko Revereza, director of No Data Plan; and Jason Fitzroy Jeffers, filmmaker and founder and director of the Third Horizon collective and the Third Horizon Film Festival.
This week, the Film Comment Podcast digs into Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will and the ways in which the reputations of the notorious film and its maker have shifted over the years. In a feature article on the legendary Nazi-propaganda project in the latest issue of Film Comment, contributing editor J. Hoberman writes that, “Triumph of the Will is an organic product of cinema history, a synthesis of Metropolis’s monumental mass ornament, Potemkin’s pow, and Hollywood extravagance.” Once denounced as the fascist propaganda it in fact is, the film came to be celebrated as a masterpiece of formal daring in the 1960s and 1970s, a rehabilitation that culminated with Riefenstahl receiving a controversial tribute at the 1974 Telluride Film Festival. Film Comment Editor in Chief Nicolas Rapold is joined by Hoberman and filmmaker and professor Zoe Beloff for a discussion of the film’s relevance to the current historical moment (Steve Bannon and Roger Ailes are purportedly big fans) and the larger question of artistry in the service of evil.
Read J. Hoberman's article:
On February 13, Film Comment presented a special evening with the Spike Lee, Best Director nominee for BlacKkKlansman. The night included an extended conversation between Lee and Emmy Award–winning writer and television host Lawrence O’Donnell (The West Wing, MSNBC), followed by a screening of BlacKkKlansman, presented by Film Comment. Lee discusses the genesis of BlacKkKlansman, how he chooses collaborators, and what it would mean to him to win an Oscar for the film.
Nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Director, BlacKkKlansman tells the true story of Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), the first African-American detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department, who bravely sets out on a dangerous mission: infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan. In his feature on the film in the July-August 2018 issue of Film Comment, Teo Bugbee writes that, "BlacKkKlansman is no straight biopic. Instead, it follows the beats of a traditional cop movie, where a man of the law is torn between allegiances in his efforts to solve a case. In this regard, the film represents the latest chapter in the underrated career of Spike Lee, genre filmmaker."
Love is, of course, in the air, and with most new release schedules in hibernation, February can be a great time for repertory cinema for both lovers and loners. Guests Nellie Killian (FC contributing editor and independent programmer) and Jon Dieringer (founder of Screen Slate) join Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold to run down the best rep screenings on offer around New York City. First up are two series at Anthology Film Archives: the annual “Valentine’s Day Massacre”—featuring mainstays Albert Brooks’s Modern Romance and Maurice Pialat’s We Won’t Grow Old Together—and “In-Person Reenactment,” featuring Martha Coolidge’s Not a Pretty Picture. The three also discuss new documentaries about outsider musicians, the recently wrapped-up Film Comment Selects series, the Marlon Riggs series at BAM, and Claire Simon’s The Competition, among others.
The Film Comment Podcast returns with our final episode on the wild, windswept ride that was Sundance 2019. Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold sat down with Film Society of Lincoln Center Deputy Director (and Film Comment Co-publisher) Eugene Hernandez to dissect and analyze their standout films from the festival, with a special focus on documentaries Leaving Neverland and Halston. The two also discuss the evolution of Sundance over the years, from Eugene's first visit in 1992 ("The Year of the Twentysomething") to the festival's more recent efforts to expand their programming beyond the world of American independent cinema.
Catch up on all The Film Comment Podcast reports from Sundance 2019.
Maintaining a marathon pace, the Film Comment Podcast returns with more insightful commentary and conversation from the Sundance Film Festival. FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold is joined once again by guests and FC contributors Devika Girish and Eric Hynes (also curator of film at the Museum of the Moving Image) for a discussion of some under-the-radar films that might not have received as much attention at the Festival. These gems include the Macedonian documentary Honeyland, Danish drama Queen of Hearts, experimental short film America, teen drama Selah and the Spades, and finally, a cynical comedy that stood out in all the wrong ways: Brittany Runs a Marathon.
The Film Comment Podcast returns with another update from Park City. FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold is joined this time by New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis and FC contributor Amy Taubin for a rundown of standout films from the festival, both fiction and documentary. These include Joanna Hogg's The Souvenir, Nisha Ganatra's Late Night, Rachel Lears's documentary Knock Down the House, Chinonye Chukwu's Clemency, Julius Onah's Luce, Joe Talbot's The Last Black Man in San Francisco, and Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang's One Child Nation.
The Film Comment Podcast returns with our fourth update from the snow-and-glamour-packed streets of Park City, Utah. For today's episode, FC Editor-in-Chief is joined by guests and FC contributors Devika Girish, Eric Hynes (also curator of film at the Museum of the Moving Image), and Ashley Clark (also senior programmer of cinema at BAM). Today's conversation focuses on a range of films, including The Farewell, Luce, Midnight Family, The Last Tree, Clemency, Paradise Hills, Ms. Purple, and The Sound of Silence.
Check back throughout the week for regular updates from the Sundance Film Festival.
On the third Film Comment Podcast from the Sundance Film Festival, FC Editor in Chief Nicolas Rapold is once again joined by FC contributors Devika Girish and Eric Hynes(also curator of film at the Museum of the Moving Image) to chat about a few highly-touted features that left them wanting. These include Joe Talbot's The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Scott Z. Burns' The Report, Jennifer Kent's The Nightingale, and Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala's The Lodge.
Check back throughout the week for regular updates from the Sundance Film Festival.
We're back with our second update from Park City. Today's podcast features Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold in conversation with FC contributors Devika Girish and Eric Hynes (also curator of film at the Museum of the Moving Image). The focus today is on a Rashid Johnson's Richard Wright adaptation Native Son, Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert's documentary American Factory, Alex Rivera and Cristina Ibarra's The Infiltrators, and Ben Berman's absurdist doc Untitled Amazing Johnathan Movie.
Check back for more updates from Sundance 2019 throughout the next week.
In the first of a series of updates from the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold hits the slopes with Eric Hynes, FC contributor and curator of film at the Museum of the Moving Image. In addition to discussing their dietary regimens (one must maintain strength in the face of this cinematic avalanche), the two trade highlights from their first day in Park City. Rapold and Hynes kick off with a chat about Bart Freundlich's soapy After the Wedding (featuring Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams) before digging deeper into a slate of documentaries: Petra Costa's The Edge of Democracy, Todd Douglas Miller's Apollo 11, and Alexandre O. Philippe's MEMORY—The Origins of Alien.
Check back over the next week and a half for updates on all the highlights from the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.
In the calm before the storm, Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold sits down with critic and FC contributor Amy Taubin to chat about some of their more eagerly anticipated film from Sundance 2019, opening January 24 and running through February 3. Perhaps appropriately, the conversation begins with films that aren’t actually in competition, but will be showing as part of Slamdance, the Sundance alternative celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. In addition to Steven Soderbergh’s High Flying Bird (screening February 7 as part of Film Comment Selects), the two also touch on Beniamino Barrese’s The Disappearance of My Mother and Nick Broomfield’s Leonard Cohen documentary, among others. Check back in throughout the next week and half for regular updates from the snow-topped cinemas of Sundance.
From Woodstock to Stop Making Sense to Madonna: Truth or Dare, the concert film provides an up-close-and-personal—and otherwise unattainable—perspective on performance and performer. In the new issue of Film Comment, out now, contributor Andrew Chan digs into the long-awaited 1972 Aretha Franklin concert film Amazing Grace, finally released in 2018 after years of legal wrangling and building anticipation. The wait was well worth it, as the Sydney Pollack-directed film documents Aretha’s transcendent gospel and R&B and provides (as Chan writes) “access to the woman behind the microphone while at the same time radiating a ghostly effect that’s impossible to shake.” For the latest Film Comment Podcast, Nicolas Rapold sat down with Chan, who is also web editor at The Criterion Collection, and Film Comment contributor and Rogerebert.com critic Sheila O’Malley to discuss Amazing Grace and three other specially selected concert films: The T.A.M.I. Show, Sign o' the Times, and Can’s 1972 Free Concert.
New year, new rep report! Our latest edition looks at the annual mainstay of the restoration calendar, To Save and Project at the Museum of Modern Art—featuring everything from Chantal Akerman to Nude on the Moon—as well as a wide-ranging survey of the city symphony film at Anthology Film Archives. And on the new release side of the episode, we play catch-up with the likes of Welcome to Marwen and more. Joining Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold this time were our regulars from Screen Slate, its founder Jon Dieringer and FC contributing editor and independent programmer Nellie Killian; and two colleagues from the Film Society of Lincoln Center, Programming Assistant Maddie Whittle and Digital Marketing Manager Jordan Raup, also founder of The Film Stage.
All too often, the ritual of ranking films at the end of the year leaves a lot of worthy movies on the cutting floor. Some don’t receive enough votes to make our Best of 2018 list; others maybe don’t leap to mind when weighing the artistic strengths and weaknesses of movies. So now that you’ve read about the best of 2018, we present the rest of 2018—a few films that we enjoyed but that, for one reason or another, didn’t crack the hallowed top 20. Editor-in-chief Nicolas Rapold talked with Michael Koresky, editorial and creative director at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, and two colleagues in FSLC Programming, Maddie Whittle and Tyler Wilson.
For the final Film Comment Talk of the year, Matt Dillon came to the Film Society of Lincoln Center to talk about his new film, The House That Jack Built, directed by Lars von Trier. The film stars Dillon as a serial killer who recounts a series of his murders over several years. Dillon talked about playing a depraved character and working with von Trier. Maddie Whittle of the Film Society of Lincoln Center moderated the dialogue.
The Rep Report continues with another joyous discussion of the latest in repertory and new release. This time we venture into the shadows of the Jacques Tourneur retrospective at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, along with some choice selections from New York’s wealth of offerings. Then it’s time for a holiday surprise—at least, that’s how the movie has affected our critics, who saw it only after deadlines for the best-of-the-year polls had passed: The Mule, directed by Clint Eastwood, who stars as a charming drug courier of a certain age. For this episode, I was joined by K. Austin Collins of Vanity Fair; Jon Dieringer, co-founder of Screen Slate; Nellie Killian, a contributing editor at Film Comment and programmer; and Nick Pinkerton, regular FC contributor.
Every year we send out a poll to our critics and staff and put together a list of the best movies of the year. For 2018, we did something a little different and fun: we counted down the best movies of the year at a live Film Comment Talk at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Along the way, Film Comment editor-in-chief Nicolas Rapold discussed the results with a group of all-star critics: Molly Haskell, critic and author; Michael Koresky, director of editorial and creative strategy at the Film Society of Lincoln Center; and Sheila O’Malley and Nick Pinkerton, also frequent Film Comment contributors.