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Podcast - 1996 Cannes Competition Revisit

"Never forget Madonna (!!) beating Frances McDormand for the Golden Globe that year" - David

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Entries in interview (158)

Friday
May132016

Interview: Agyness Deyn on Her Breakthrough in 'Sunset Song', and How Modeling Prepared Her for Film

Jose here. Agyness Deyn doesn’t have a very long list of screen credits, she played Aphrodite in Clash of the Titans, narrated a Rihanna video, and appeared in Pusher. That will undoubtedly change once directors see her gorgeous work in Terence Davies’ Sunset Song where she plays Chris Guthrie, a Scottish farm girl trying to fend for herself in the years before WWI. It’s a performance made of composed emotion, endless inner strength, and an otherworldly quality that makes one think of great work by Olivia de Havilland and Ingrid Bergman.

Many people will know Ms. Deyn from her work as a model, back in the mid-aughts there wasn’t an issue of Vogue where she didn’t appear. With her pixie cut, effortless chic and strong personality she brought a “punk/rock” edge to modeling. Since 2012, she’s been focusing her attention on film and Sunset Song is her first leading role.

I sat down to speak to Ms. Deyn about working with Terence Davies, her favorite actresses and how her life in the runway prepared her for her work on film.  Read the conversation after the jump...

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Monday
May092016

Interview: The Filmmakers, and Stars of 'Strike a Pose' Talk Madonna, Dance Moves and Movie Stars 

We're celebrating the 25th anniversary of "Truth or Dare" this week. Here's Jose having a brilliantly fun chat with its dancers who have an unofficial sequel, if you will, making the festival rounds...

Clockwise from top: Carlton, Madonna, Luis, Gabriel (RIP), Jose, Kevin, Oliver, and Salim (aka "Slam")

Jose here. I was four years old when Madonna went on her Blonde Ambition Tour, but I distinctly remember being hypnotized by the woman with the pointy bra on TV that was making the Pope very upset. Fast forward a couple of decades and not only am I a huge Madonna fan, but I’ve made more sense of that specific era in her career thanks to the revolutionary documentary Madonna: Truth or Dare. So I was thrilled when I found out Dutch filmmakers Ester Gould and Reijer Zwaan had made Strike a Pose, a documentary about the male dancers that were so prominently featured in the tour and the film. For Madonna fans, the names of Carlton Wilborn, Kevin Stea, Oliver S Crumes III, Salim "Slam" Gauwloos, Jose Gutierez Xtravaganza, Luis Xtravaganza Camacho and the late Gabriel Trupin (1969-1996), are akin to those of Christ’s disciples. Not only for the devotion that comes with fandom, but also because we have each developed our own mythologies about who these men were (they choreographed the “Vogue” video!)

Read the conversation after the jump...

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Wednesday
Apr202016

Interview: Alba Rohrwacher on the Gender Politics of 'Sworn Virgin' and the Actresses She Loves



Jose
here. In the ancient Albanian tradition of “burrnesha”, a woman takes a vow of chastity in exchange for having all the freedom of a man. Once she swears eternal virginity in front of a group of elders - all men of course - she is allowed to live in the community under a new male name that also brings benefits that will allow her to carry guns, drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, work, play music and be in the company of other men. By the time we meet Mark (Alba Rohrwacher) in Sworn Virgin, he has pretty much forgotten who Hana, her former identity, was. Feeling incomplete, he decides to leave his isolated village to visit his sister (Flonja Kodheli) in Italy, where he discovers he is living within a prison of his own making.

Sworn Virgin
is director Laura Bispuri’s debut film, but one wouldn’t guess that from the boldness with which she tells her story and especially because of the performances she gets from her actors. Rohrwacher, who is on a roll, having premiered Virgin at the Berlin Film Festival in 2015 after winning the Volpi Cup for Best Actress for Hungry Hearts, a few months before, gives her finest performance to date. I had the opportunity to talk to her about her recent films (both Virgin and Matteo Garrone’s Tale of Tales open this week in New York), working with Bispuri and some of her favorite actresses.

Read our conversation after the jump.

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Wednesday
Apr132016

Interview: 'The First Monday in May' Director Andrew Rossi, on the Met Gala, Anna Wintour and Why Fashion is Like Performance Art 

Jose here. The very first time I went behind the scenes at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, there was an image that immediately caught my attention. A big, bright yellow sign commanding walkers to yield to the works of art in transit. It didn’t only make me wonder how many pieces by Da Vinci, Rodin, Renoir, Van Gogh, Warhol, Kahlo and many other established legends had travelled through the corridors I was walking in, it also made me wonder how many Alexander McQueen and John Galliano gowns had followed them. If the idea of fashion as art remains to some a topic of debate, it has never been so at the Met where it plays an essential part in raising awareness of the Museum’s outreach through the Costume Institute.  

 

A photo posted by Jose Solis (@josesolismayen) on Jan 19, 2016 at 8:20am PST

For decades, the Costume Institute has been holding a Gala to raise funds to preserve and expand its collection of over 30 thousand costumes and accessories that range from centuries old furs, to iconic dresses worn by Jackie O. The Gala is at the center of Andrew Rossi’s documentary The First Monday in May which was chosen as the Opening Night selection at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival. Our conversation with Rossi after the jump...

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Wednesday
Apr062016

Interview: Chris Cooper on 'Demolition', Creating Characters, and His Favorite Actors

April is Actor Month at TFE. Here's Jose in conversation with one of our best.


In person, Chris Cooper exudes the same suave charm he has onscreen, when we sit down to discuss his work in Jean-Marc Vallée’s Demolition and I refer to him as “Mr. Cooper” he shakes his head and says “call me Chris”. From his oddly approachable John Laroche in Adaptation, to his tough but sensitive Tom Smith in Seabiscuit, Cooper has perfected the art of creating “the memorable everyman”. In Demolition he plays Phil, a man who must cope with the death of his daughter in an accident, and has to learn how to forgive his son-in-law Davis (Jake Gyllenhaal) for having survived. Most of Cooper’s scenes involve harsh encounters with Gyllenhaal’s character, who has lost all sense of societal propriety rather than paying tribute to the legacy of his wife.

When I speak to Vallée about the qualities his cast brought to the film, he explained “I observe and try not to interfere with the actors, they use all the space around them, they put stamina and spirit into it”, you can see this in the way with which Cooper in particular moves as if he’s completely unaware that his character exists at the service of a story. He couldn’t seem more comfortable in this fictitious man’s skin if he tried. I spoke to Chris about his process, how he uses external elements to discover the men he plays, and to celebrate Actor’s Month we ended up discussing his favorite thespians.

Our conversation follows...

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Friday
Mar182016

Interview: Arnaud Desplechin on 'My Golden Days' and Doppelgängers

Jose here. At one point during our conversation, Arnaud Desplechin says to me “sorry if my answer is long, when what I want to say is so simple”, in a way this could very well describe what’s so wonderful about his films, which surround simple messages with layers of rich characters and dialogues. Take for instance My Golden Days, in which he revisits the character of Paul Dédalus played in My Sex Life...Or How I Got Into an Argument by Mathieu Amalric, and is now played in flashbacks by Quentin Dolmaire. The film is all about the joy and terror of first love, but Desplechin sees it through a labyrinth of emotions and plotlines that involve everything from double identities, to wise college professors.

Propelled by the extraordinary performances of newcomers Dolmaire and Lou Roy-Lecollinet who plays Esther (Emmanuelle Devos in the 1996 film), My Golden Days is Desplechin’s most romantic, melancholic work to date. The film was received warmly by critics in Europe, played in Cannes and the New York Film Festival in 2015, and is now opening in American theaters, it was also nominated for 11 César awards, giving Desplechin his very first win for Best Director.

JOSE: You won the César for Best Director for this film, did the award feel more special in any way because it was for this project?

ARNAUD DESPLECHIN: It sure was, I interpreted the win as being because this film explored territories I’d explored before, it was a collage of bits and pieces from my previous works. I guess it also had to do with the two young actors, they brought a sort of freshness to the film, the plot, lines and scenes are dark and they brought light to it. During the writing I went for tough situations: loneliness, despair, mourning, but who cares, because I knew we would find two young actors to enlighten it. I owe this César to them.

Read more after the jump.

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Thursday
Mar172016

Interview: 'Take Me to the River' Director Matt Sobel and Stars Robin Weigert and Logan Miller

Jose here. When Ryder (Logan Miller) and his parents Cindy (Robin Weigert) and Don (Richard Schiff) arrive in Nebraska for a family reunion, things spiral out of hand when the teenager is implicitly accused of molesting one of his younger cousins. Tensions rise, and family secrets come to the surface, and yet nothing in this plot description makes justice to the uniqueness of Take Me to the River. Matt Sobel’s debut feature combines the eerie mood of a horror film, with the droll work of the best Finnish masters, to create a dreamlike experience that creeps under your skin. I sat down with director Sobel, and stars Weigert and Miller to discuss the film’s mood, their approach to the enigmatic screenplay, and the reaction the film sparks in audiences.

JOSE: Take Me to the River feels like it’s always a second away from turning into a horror movie. How did you set up that mood with your cast and crew?

MATT SOBEL: Years before making the film I was describing what I wanted to do to a friend, who said it sounded like I wanted to do something “uncanny”. I said it was more than just strange, so my friend suggested I looked up the definition of the word in the dictionary, and he was exactly right, the very specific meaning of it is: something that is simultaneously familiar and welcoming, and off putting and unfamiliar. That dissonance creates a very strong feeling of discomfort in everyone, so I spoke to my DP about how to achieve this every step of the way.

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