Directors

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“It Had to Show How We Rip Each Other Apart”: Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia on His Vertical Class-Warfare Netflix Dystopia The Platform

Access to food serves as the most basic representation of wealth in Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia’s The Platform, a dystopian allegory for economic inequality in which a vertical prison pushes people to the edge of their humanity. Inside the Vertical Self-Management Center (Centro Vertical de Autogestión)—as the facility is formally known in the fiction—two individuals are housed per level, and each is allowed to bring one personal item with them. They receive sustenance once a day on a floating platform. Those on the higher floors fill their bellies with disregard for the unfortunate ones below. But once a month each pair wakes up on […]

“It Had to Show How We Rip Each Other Apart”: Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia on His Vertical Class-Warfare Netflix Dystopia The Platform

Access to food serves as the most basic representation of wealth in Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia’s The Platform, a dystopian allegory for economic inequality in which a vertical prison pushes people to the edge of their humanity. Inside the Vertical Self-Management Center (Centro Vertical de Autogestión)—as the facility is formally known in the fiction—two individuals are housed per level, and each is allowed to bring one personal item with them. They receive sustenance once a day on a floating platform. Those on the higher floors fill their bellies with disregard for the unfortunate ones below. But once a month each pair wakes up on […]

“It’s a Pretty Unambiguous Condemnation of a New Age Answer to Life’s Problems”: Writer/Director Todd Haynes on Safe

With Todd Haynes’s classic Safe now streaming on Criterion Channel (and seeming utterly prescient in its concerns), we’re reposting our Summer, 1995 cover story: Larry Gross’s interview with Haynes. — Editor Todd Haynes, director of Sundance Grand Prize Winner Poison and the underground classic Superstar, was inspired to make his latest feature, Safe, by his visceral response to New Age recovery therapists who tell the physically ill that they have made themselves sick, that they are responsible for their own suffering. Carol White, played superbly by Julianne Moore, is an archetypally banal homemaker in the San Fernando Valley who one […]

“We Needed a Killer Concept Trailer”: Jim LeBrecht and Nicole Newnham on Crip Camp, Battling the Health Care System and Working with the Obamas

The 1970s: an oil and energy crisis, numerous coup d’états (some failed, some successful), a massacre at the 1972 Summer Olympics, the rise (Margaret Thatcher, Augusto Pinochet) and falls (Richard Nixon) of world leaders, the beginning (Lebanon) and end (Vietnam) of drawn-out wars, and a New York-based serial killer who terrorized young adults because his neighbor’s dog ordered him to. Oh, to go back again! Stateside, the ’70s saw further proliferation of rock music, drugs, second-wave feminism, the Black Panther movement and general  political unrest and upheaval. Titled after a since-closed Catskills camp for disabled youth that was itself something […]

“Flying Blind”: Writer/Director Caleb Johnson On the Production, “SXSW Screening” and Future of His Feature The Carnivore

In light of SXSW’s cancellation, a private “homespun” screening of the only local production in the festival’s narrative line up, Caleb Johnson’s The Carnivores, was arranged at its cinematographer’s (Adam J. Minnick) Austin residence on the night it was scheduled to premiere. The event hoped to encapsulate the spirit of the festival all at once. Upon entrance, invited press, programmers and audience got their photo taken on a polaroid against a classic yellow backdrop and laurels. That polaroid fit snug inside an imitation festival badge. After attendees stuffed themselves with Tacodeli they dragged over the red carpet to their seats […]

“…A Film Only with Voiceover and Empty Spaces, Mirroring the Process of Becoming Anorexic”: Moara Passoni on Her CPH:DOX Debut Ecstasy

Premiering in the DOX:AWARD main competition at this year’s (now digital) CPH:DOX, Ecstasy (Êxtase) is the astonishing debut of Brazilian filmmaker Moara Passoni, a longtime collaborator of The Edge of Democracy Oscar nominee Petra Costa (who serves as the doc’s producer). It’s a mix of fiction and nonfiction, of historical images and staged scenes, of autobiographical diary entries obsessively developing a “geometry of hunger” even as political chaos grips ’90s Brazil (and it’s all tied together by a stunning soundtrack, including music by David Lynch and Lykke Li). It’s also a startlingly unusual coming-of-age story, one in which the director […]

“…A Forensic Tick-Tock of How Lies Spread”: Andrew Rossi on After Truth: Disinformation and the Cost of Fake News

The information landscape has transformed with vertigo-inducing speed since 2011, when Andrew Rossi last looked under the hood of the (reality-based) news business in Page One: Inside the New York Times. And now that Edward R. Murrow is rolling in his grave (and Geraldo Rivera is most likely looking for ways to monetize that), it makes sense that Rossi would be the filmmaker to tackle today’s crisis of media faith with his latest HBO doc, After Truth: Disinformation and the Cost of Fake News. Executive produced by CNN’s Brian Stelter, the film takes a deep dive into the post-truth world that […]

“Handwashing is Not Exactly Cinematic”: Carlo Mirabella-Davis on Swallow

While release dates are often determined months in advance for a slew of reasons solely related to a film’s individual success,  it’s striking to see how some can be placed in indirect conversation with one another. I recently revisited Carlo Mirabella-Davis’s debut feature Swallow just a few days after taking in Leigh Whannell’s feminist blockbuster adaptation of The Invisible Man. Both are about women in emotionally abusive relationships that have grown increasingly difficult to break free from. To complicate matters, each are pregnant with their lover’s child, and that the pregnancy is carried out to term is of utmost importance to […]

The Violence of Power Relations: Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles on Bacurau

Bacurau is the name of an angry night bird that exists in many different parts of Brazil, but that is only called bacurau in the Brazilian Northeast. Bacurau, the latest film by Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles—which gets a US release this weekend—uses the motif of the night bird to tell the story of a small village in the Brazilian Northeast that is facing imminent erasure, targeted by international hunting tourists that have teamed up with domestic predators. The film reprocesses motifs from Hollywood genre movies and Italian westerns in the landscape of the sertão, the drylands of formal […]