I guest-hosted a special two-part episode of The Film Comment Podcast, dedicated to a pair of Indian filmmakers: Bengali maestro Ritwik Ghatak, and Tamil writer-director Vetri Maaran. For the first half, I was joined by Moinak Biswas and Richard Peña, the co-organizers of the recent Ghatak retrospective at Film at Lincoln Center. In the second half, I chatted with R. Emmet Sweeney, who wrote a feature on Vetri Maaran in Film Comment‘s November-December 2019 issue. First posted on Film Comment on November 6, 2019.
First published on Film Comment on October 7, 2019.
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 mercenaries, and Brazilian acting legend Sonia Braga, who plays the village matriarch. Listen ahead for details on the making of each scene.
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 our March-April issue; and Devika Girish, Assistant Editor of Film Comment.
First published on Film Comment on September 11, 2019.
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.
First published on Film Comment on September 9, 2019.
Following our whirlwind tour of Venice (don’t forget to check out those episodes!), we’re diving right into the expansive offerings of the Toronto International Film Festival. 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, including Knives Out, Collective, The Lost Okoroshi, Martin Eden, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, and others.
First published on Film Comment on August 28, 2019.
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—and head to our Venice 2019 Cheat Sheet if you need a refresher on what’s playing at the festival.
I appeared on the second edition of Film Comment’s New Releases podcast alongside FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold and freelance critic Emily Yoshida to discuss Lulu Wang’s The Farewell, Benjamín Naishtat’s Rojo, Richard Billingham’s Ray & Liz, and other films. This was originally posted on FC on July 17, 2019.
I appeared on the first edition of Film Comment’s New Releases podcast alongside FC Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold and contributor Maddie Whittle to discuss Ari Aster’s Midsommar, Peter Parlow’s The Plagiarists, and Eva Trobisch’s All Good. This was originally posted on FC on June 26, 2019.
I was a guest on Film Comment’s Sundance 2019 podcast series, hosted by Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold. I joined in on four episodes, discussing various films that screened at the festival, including Native Son, The Nightingale, The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Queen of Hearts, Paradise Hills, etc. Here are the links to all four episodes: