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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 


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Entries in interview (117)


Interview: Mary Harron on "American Psycho" & More

The actress Cara Seymour is guest blogging for the day! Please enjoy. - Editor

The following is an interview with director Mary Harron with whom I've had the great honor of working with twice in American Psycho (2000) and The Notorious Bettie Page (2005). Mary has more guts than anybody I have ever worked with and she's a profound humanitarian.  After I did the threesome scene in American Psycho she sent me a bouquet of flowers because she knew just how scary that was to do.

I sent her a few questions and she sent me back these fabulous answers...

Myself in The Notorious Bettie Page (2006) and Director Mary Harron

CARA SEYMOUR: Is there a film you return to as a source of inspiration?

MARY HARRON: I go back repeatedly to the films I saw when I was a child and teenager. Luckily my parents took us to a ton of art house films and old movies with no regard for whether they were suitable for children or not. I saw 8 1/2 when I was ten, and my sister remembers my mother arguing with a movie theater over the phone because they wouldn't let her take us to see Last Year at Marienbad. I think we were 9 and 11 at the time.

Rosemary's Baby and Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoise are two films I go back to. Night of the Hunter is a special favorite. Kind Hearts and Coronets. Anything by Howard Hawks and Sam Fuller and Fritz Lang. Drugstore Cowboy and Blue Velvet had a big effect on me when they came out because they showed me you could tell a really different kind of story in American film. But what I look at for inspiration really depends on what I'm working on at the time.

CARA: Are there any movies you've rediscovered, that you're loving right now?

MARY: The Bill Douglas Trilogy.(My Childhood, My Ain Folk, My Way Home) I saw My Childhood when I was 18 in a church hall in North London and it burned itself into my brain. It was one of the most intense film going experiences of my life. I saw the whole trilogy again a few months ago at Light Industry and it was just as amazing as I remembered. In these three films Bill Douglas recreated memories from his childhood with poetic clarity and such fierce accuracy that they seem more real than life itself. I guess they are a distillation of life. He used the same actors, filming his trilogy over seven years, taking his young hero from a child to a young man, Yes, this was forty years before Boyhood, and it saddens me that no critics mentioned that Bill Douglas did it first. As did Satyajit Ray in the Apu trilogy - I just saw the first film in the series, Pather Panchali at Film Forum in a gorgeous restoration.

CARA: How do you feel about the lasting impact of American Psycho?

MARY: I'm kind of sick of it by now, but at the same time of course I'm grateful that it has had such an effect on people. When something hits the zeitgeist like that it is like winning the lottery. And it's curious because it took many years for it really to become a success. I don't think it made a single critic's top ten list when it was released and Christian didn't get any nominations in the US for his amazing performance. People didn't know what to make of it, so it had a kind of delayed reaction.

CARA: Would you make another dark satirical comedy?

MARY: I would love to but it's hard to find the right material. Good satire is rare as hens teeth. And I never get sent anything like that. I just get endless generic serial killer scripts, which really isn't what American Psycho was all about.

Salvador Dalí & GalaCARA: What are you doing next?

MARY: A film about the last years of Salvador Dalí and his wife Gala. That has some dark comedy in it. They are both so outrageous.

CARA: If there were no financial restraints what kind of dream project would you make?

MARY: I would have an infinite amount of money for production design, wardrobe and locations. I would shoot chronologically, and go back and reshoot anything I wanted!



Interview: 'White God' Director Kornél Mundruczó on Twisting Genre, Working with Canine Actors and Opera

Jose here. Kornél Mundruczó’s White God opens with one of the most memorable scenes in recent films, as we see a the desolate streets of Budapest in the aftermath of a canine uprising which has forced all the citizens to stay inside their homes. All except one, a little girl (Zsófia Psotta) trying to find her beloved dog, who unbeknownst to her, is actually the leader of this revolution. While the film has been compared to Rise of the Planet of the ApesWhite God in fact has more in common with two 1960s classics: Spartacus and The Birds, which makes sense considering that Mundruczó has made a career out of paying homage to classic Hollywood films, while injecting them with darker political undertones.

The film was a sensation at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, and was Hungary’s official submission for the Academy Awards; it could also very well become Mundruczó’s international breakthrough. On the eve of the film’s Stateside premiere I talked to the filmmaker about his career so far, the struggles of working under extreme circumstances and his love for opera.

JOSE: I thought the film was entertaining in a conventional thriller sense, but it was also such a powerful allegory for the rise of right-wing racism in Europe. How were you able to achieve a balance between the two?

KORNÉL MUNDRUCZÓIt was really personal, when I started to work on this movie I was really touched by the situation of the dogs inside Budapest. I went to a dog pound, for different reasons, not as a filmmaker, and I was so touched. Sometimes something just steps on your soul, and that’s what this felt like, I felt such a shame, I was in shock, I was part of a system that was supporting this. I wanted to talk about it and I believe that democracy is talking about things, so I decided I wanted to make a movie about one dog in Budapest. When we were developing the script, it was obvious that this was also a great allegory for what is the illness of our society. But this wasn’t something premeditated, I never thought “I want to shoot a metaphor”, I just wanted to tell this story.

Has there been a difference in how the film is received in countries like Spain and Greece which have seen powerful social uprisings in recent years?

Totally huge difference, I have no clue how it will be received in the US, but I feel that there are Eastern souls and Western souls, in France for example, they identified with the major society, but when people saw the movie in Mexico they felt “we are the dogs”. In Eastern Europe, we also felt we were the dogs. We have also had a lot of success in Turkey, which is very curious, since I had no connections with this country at all, but we’ve had lots of comments from there.

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From the Vaults: Nathaniel's Audience with Julianne

It's your daily reminder that Julianne Moore is now an Oscar winner! I spoke to Julianne very briefly this season at a party for Still Alice. We laughed about her line reading of "Anne Hathaway. How does that work?" in Maps to the Stars (OPENING THIS WEEKEND!which she told me she was horrified she had to say. Sorry Anne! Which only confirmed how nice she always is. Five years ago, though, I met Julianne for a sit down interview on The Kids Are All Right (2010). Here's how it went if you've started reading the blog only in the past few years. 

Originally Published on July 8th, 2010

The occasion was the release of The Kids Are All Right, Julianne's 48th movie and one of her very best. Julianne plays "Jules" the flighty wife of "Nic" played by Annette Bening. They've raised two children together. Nic had Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and soon thereafter Jules had Laser (Josh Hutcherson). It's one of Julianne's best comic performances in a career that's mostly been noted for her dramatic magic with internally shell shocked women. But it wasn't always accolades. Julianne's big screen career started twenty years ago this summer when the horror flick Tales of the Darkside was released. Inauspicious beginnings but no matter.

My history with Julianne doesn't stretch back quite that far. I first took true notice of Julianne in Benny & Joon (1993) when she was playing a former (bad) actress turned waitress. In one of the movies most endearing scenes, Johnny Depp mimics her horror performance that he's memorized as they watch it together. She nearly dies of embarrassment. Five years later, I did more than notice her. I fell madly in love in her next bad actress incarnation as porn star Amber Waves. Though two 'bad actress' roles began the obsession the woman herself is the polar opposite: she's one of the greats.

The first incarnation of The Film Experience was actually a print zine called "FiLM BiTCH" in the 1990s and Julianne Moore was the first iconic (literally) cover girl. I painted her as a religious icon. I met her for the first time in 2002 on the Oscar campaign trail for Far From Heaven but it was a simple 'hello, good luck' type of public event and my girl friend snapped this dorky photo which you can see after the jump with the full interview...

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John Boorman on His Oscar Experience

Jose here. Earlier this week I had the opportunity to sit down with legendary director John Boorman (Deliverance, Point Blank, The Tailor of Panama) in order to talk about his new film Queen and Country a sequel to his Oscar nominated Hope and Glory. Besides being a notoriously versatile director Mr. Boorman is also quite the cinephile, with a profound knowledge of silent cinema and obscure noirs, this led our conversation to stray into the topic of the Academy Awards...

John Boorman directs 'Deliverance' (L) 'Hope and Glory' (R)

You’ve been nominated for Best Director twice for Deliverance and Hope and Glory, can you share some of your memories about going to the Oscars?

First of all, it’s incredibly boring, because you leave the hotel at 2 in the afternoon and the show goes on until 11 at night, and you sit in the audience more often than not watching the commercials, or at least the gaps the commercials create. It’s very wearing! (laughs) I didn’t go when I was nominated for Deliverance, I went when I was nominated for Hope & Glory, I’d been nominated as producer, director and screenwriter. I was delighted that the film was nominated, but I didn’t win in any of the categories, and it makes you feel like such a failure (laughs).

You keep yourself active as an Academy member?

Yes, I see them all and vote, but the ones I vote for never win (laughs).

What were some of your favorites in the Oscar race this year?

In the Oscars this year, in the Foreign Language category, there are three films Leviathan, Ida and Timbuktu, and there are no three films in any other category that match up to these at all. I saw them recently and felt so proud to be a filmmaker! But what does their quality say about the other films? Quite good films even, like The Theory of Everything and Birdman and so on? There’s something calculating about these films, it’s a calculation that somehow the system brings up because of the way films are made. Scripts are supervised by studios and you feel these films have been overcooked, there’s something slightly contrived about them. They’re looking over their shoulder a little bit.

Queen and Country, Boorman's final film, is now playing in select theaters.


An Interview with Hans Zimmer

Anne Marie here with an observation: Hans Zimmer's studio is incredible. The ten-time Academy Award nominated composer has furnished his studio in a manner that fits the man who wrote the dramatic scores to Inception, Gladiator, and the Dark Knight trilogy. The walls are deep red, and lined with dark wood bookshelves bursting with books, albums, candles, and knick knacks. Light filters through stained glass-covered hanging lamps. Overstuffed couches and chairs sit on a raised platform. Clashing with this rustic scene are the walls of musical instruments, blinking sound equipment, and Zimmer's high tech work station. It's a lot to take in.

When I'm led into the room for an interview, I'm still recovering from car trouble. I'd been listening to Zimmer's Oscar-nominated score for Interstellar in the car, which had somehow led to my car stalling on the highway. Miraculously, I'm not late. When I meet Hans Zimmer, he is deservedly proud of his workspace, and immediately launches into conversation. Zimmer speaks animatedly of his decorating philosophy, decades-long partnership with Chris Nolan, the trouble with organs, and why he loves the Academy.

Anne Marie: This is an amazing room. This is quite possibly the coolest room I have ever been in.

Hans Zimmer: No, but hang on. There’s a reason. There’s a pragmatic reason: If you had to spend 98% of your life in one room, you might as well have some fun with it. Do you agree?

 Anne Marie: I absolutely agree!

 Hans Zimmer: And you know what, sometimes we just move the furniture out of this way and let the musicians come in, and we just start playing, and wow! Music!

Anne Marie: Oh my goodness! Talk about a great creative space.

Hans Zimmer: And that was, that was partly why I did it. I was sitting with this wonderful editor, Richie Marks, y’know [he] worked on Apocalypse Now, and all the Jim Brooks movies, Penny Marshall [films], The Godfather too. I’m sitting on the couch in his cutting room, I’m sort of leaning back, and I’m looking at the--what do you call those, y’know the ceiling with the sort of… they look like cottage cheese.

Anne Marie: Ceiling tiles I think?

Hans Zimmer: Right? It’s horrible! And the walls, which have this y’know horrible hospital color, and I’m thinking, “This great man is trying to create art!” and y’know the bad linoleum floor. Y’know? And this is, this is, this is, every day he has to go to this horrible room! So, Richie doesn’t actually know this, but it was really partially because I thought, “Poor Richie, in this horrible environment! I’m going to do my own!”

Anne Marie: Well from such an environment, I can see where something dramatic like Interstellar came from. I have to admit, my car stalled on the way here while I was listening to the Interstellar soundtrack!

Hans Zimmer: [Laughs] It’ll do that to cars!

[Interstellar and Oscar Love after the jump...]

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Interview: Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz on 'Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem'

Jose here. In Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem, Israeli goddess Ronit Elkabetz returns to play a part she’s lived with for more than a decade. In 2004, Ronit and her brother Shlomi teamed up as writers and co-directors of a film trilogy that would concentrate on the experiences of a woman as seen through the roles society imposed on her. In the first installment, To Take a Wife, Viviane must deal with being trapped in a loveless marriage to her husband Elisha (Simon Abkarian), in 7 Days, Viviane must sit Shiva and come to terms with the fact that she is obligated to mourn despite not feeling pain. In Gett, which opened this weekend on the heels of its Golden Globe Foreign Film nomination (Oscar passed it by), Viviane is trying to gain her freedom from Elisha, but finds that practically impossible given that her husband hasn’t committed any “sins” against her; her request is deemed invalid by the strict rabbinical court.

In the years since her breakthrough in Late Marriage (2001), also an Israeli Oscar submission, and the first Viviane installment, Ronit has become the face of Israeli cinema having delivered brilliant performances in films like The Band’s Visit and Or. Gett also reveals her growth behind the camera with a much more sophisticated directorial technique, as she and Shlomi tell the story from a very subjective point of view. With their use of the camera and precise shots, they allow Viviane to have the freedom of thought society continues to deny her. A perfectly cast ensemble makes the film a worthy spiritual companion to A Separation and Zodiac, in a way, as they all explore the frustration that comes along with endless, inefficient bureaucratic processes.

During their recent visit to New York City, I talked to Ronit and Shlomi about their collaborations, their unique use of cinematic language and how Gett has rightfully become a sociopolitical sensation in Israel.

The interview is after the jump...    

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Interview: Tomm Moore on "Song of the Sea" and the Oscar Race

Tomm Moore, 38, is enjoying his second Oscar nomination for Animated FeatureOne of the semi-unexpected joys of the birth of the Animated Feature Oscar category in 2001 has been the steady stream of international cartoons that the Oscars have spotlighted. The first truly big surprise was a nomination for a film few had heard of at the time called The Secret of Kells (2009) -- that "what's that?" nomination has become something of a tradition in the category since then. The Oscar nomination for that hypnotic and singularly gorgeous tribute to Irish folklore did a lot to put Cartoon Saloon, an Irish animation studio, on the map.

Cartoon Saloon's co-founder and Kells co-director Tomm Moore has crafted another magical Irish winner in Song of the Sea, an adventure about a boy who discovers his little sister is a "selkie" and holds the key to saving all the faerie folk who are slowly turning to stone (long story!). 

I had the pleasure of speaking to Moore by phone where he was in San Francisco on his Song of the Sea tour and about to meet with Pete Docter (Up). He peppers his conversation with plentiful references to other animation giants (also sharing a story about hanging out with the Big Hero 6 team). It all paints a wonderful picture of a very tight mutual-appreciation niche within Hollywood's larger ecosystem.

We talked Oscars, storytelling, and Cartoon Saloon's next project...

NATHANIEL:  This is your second time nominated for the big show. Does it feel different this time?

TOMM MOORE:  For sure yeah. It’s more fun because we know a little bit more what to expect and am able to enjoy it a bit more rather than just be like “what?”

NATHANIEL: It’s been five years since your last movie.

TOMM: In the meantime I’ve joined the Academy myself and I understand a little bit better how it all works. 

Moore's favorite film of 2014 and the responsibility of kids movies after the jump...

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