The Film Comment Podcast

27 Jan. 2023
The Sundance Film Festival triumphantly returns to in-person screenings this year, which of course means that your intrepid Film Comment crew is once again on the scene in snowy Park City, bringing you dispatches and podcasts covering all the highlights of the 2023 edition. On today’s podcast, Dessane Lopez Cassell (SEEN), Poulomi Das (The Playlist), and Jessica Kiang (Variety) join FC’s Devika Girish for another round of Sundance conversation. This time around, the critics discuss festival selections Passages, Shortcomings, A Thousand and One, and Milisuthando. Catch up on all of our Sundance 2023 coverage here: https://www.filmcomment.com/blog/category/festivals/sundance/sundance-2023/
25 Jan. 2023
The Sundance Film Festival triumphantly returns to in-person screenings this year, which of course means that your intrepid Film Comment crew is once again on the scene in snowy Park City, bringing you dispatches and podcasts covering all the highlights of the 2023 edition. On today’s podcast, Miriam Bale (Indie Memphis Film Festival) and Abby Sun (International Documentary Association) return for another round of Sundance conversation with Film Comment’s Devika Girish. This time, they discuss festival selections Fair Play, All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt, Rye Lane, and The Tuba Thieves. Catch up on all of our Sundance 2023 coverage here: https://www.filmcomment.com/blog/category/festivals/sundance/sundance-2023/
24 Jan. 2023
The Sundance Film Festival triumphantly returns to in-person screenings this year, which of course means that your intrepid Film Comment crew is once again on the scene in snowy Park City, bringing you dispatches and podcasts covering all the highlights of the 2023 edition. On today’s podcast, Film Comment Co-Deputy Editor Devika Girish talks to critics Justin Chang (The Los Angeles Times and Fresh Air) and Jessica Kiang (Variety and elsewhere) about Sundance selections Eileen, You Hurt My Feelings, Past Lives (pro-side this time), and Cat Person. Catch up on all of our Sundance 2023 coverage here.
23 Jan. 2023
The Sundance Film Festival triumphantly returns to in-person screenings this year, which of course means that your intrepid Film Comment crew is once again on the scene in snowy Park City, bringing you dispatches and podcasts covering all the highlights of the 2023 edition. On today’s podcast, Film Comment’s Devika Girish talks to Vadim Rivov(Filmmaker Magazine) and Dan Sullivan (Film at Lincoln Center) about Sundance selections Fremont, Gush, Polite Society, and A Common Sequence. They also dig into the festival’s New Frontier section and whether or not there’s such a thing as a “Sundance film.” Catch up on all of our Sundance 2023 coverage here: https://www.filmcomment.com/blog/category/festivals/sundance/sundance-2023/
23 Jan. 2023
The Sundance Film Festival triumphantly returns to in-person screenings this year, which of course means that your intrepid Film Comment crew is once again on the scene in snowy Park City, bringing you dispatches and podcasts covering all the highlights of the 2023 edition. On today’s podcast, Film Comment’s Devika Girish talks to Miriam Bale (Indie Memphis Film Festival) and Abby Sun (International Documentary Association) about Sundance selections Earth Mama, Past Lives, Against the Tide, Little Richard: I Am Everything, and Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project.
21 Jan. 2023
The Sundance Film Festival triumphantly returns to in-person screenings this year, which of course means that your intrepid Film Comment crew is once again on the scene in snowy Park City, bringing you dispatches and podcasts covering all the highlights of the 2023 edition. On today’s podcast, Film Comment’s Devika Girish invited FC friends and critics Alissa Wilkinson (Vox), Sam Adams (Slate) and Kayla Myers (Indie Memphis Film Festival) to chat about the buzzy titles of Day Two, including Justice, Earth Mama, To Live and Die and Live, Mami Wata, Animalia, the documentary shorts program, and more.
20 Jan. 2023
With the Sundance Film Festival triumphantly returning to in-person screenings this year, your intrepid Film Comment crew is once again on the scene in snowy Park City, bringing you dispatches and podcasts covering each day's new highlights and lowlights. To kick things off, FC editor Devika Girish invited Abby Sun (International Documentary Association) and Alissa Wilkinson (Vox) to talk about some of the opening night films, including The Longest Goodbye, Kim’s Video, and The Pod Generation, and the titles they're most excited to see in the coming days.
17 Jan. 2023
Last week, ThousandSuns Cinema, an online screening initiative by the Media City Film Festival, launched a unique virtual series devoted to Indigenous cinema. Co-presented with the artist-run collective COUSIN, the program brings together a vibrant selection of short and feature-length works by Indigenous filmmakers—all of which are free to stream online until January 30. The series features landmark films by established directors like Alanis Obomsawin, as well as more recent, dynamic work from emerging artists like Fox Maxy. Though the films are eclectic, with a variety of forms and themes on display, they’re united by one principle: they center Indigenous audiences and decenter the white gaze. On today’s episode, Film Comment editors Devika Girish and Clinton Krute interview two members of COUSIN Collective, filmmakers Adam Piron and Sky Hopinka, about the series, the origins of their collective, and the community of artists that they’ve cultivated.
10 Jan. 2023
Every January, to ring in the new year, Film Comment editors Devika Girish and Clinton Krute take a look at some of the major new releases of the holiday season. This year, they were joined by critics Sam Adams and Nicholas Russell to run down some of the blingier titles that have recently graced the marquees of multiplexes and streaming sites alike, including Avatar: The Way of Water, Babylon, Glass Onion, and the A.I.-horror flick M3GAN. Needless to say, opinions ran as hot as the blood of a vengeful space whale.
4 Jan. 2023
Happy new year to our listeners, and thanks for joining us for another year of writing and talking about movies. We’ll dive into the new year’s new releases very soon, but today’s podcast is about one of 2022’s late but great entries: No Bears, the latest meta-fictional masterwork from Jafar Panahi. In the film, Panahi plays a slightly fictionalized version of himself, as a controversial filmmaker holed up in an Iranian border-village, trying to evade the surveillance of the authorities while remotely directing a film set in nearby Turkey. What starts as a seemingly gentle satire becomes a timely reckoning with the moral dilemmas faced by people—especially women—living under a patriarchal and dictatorial regime. Though Panahi tragically remains imprisoned in Tehran since his arrest last July, we were glad to be able to speak to the film’s lead actress, Mina Kavani, about her riveting performance as an Iranian exile in Turkey. We discussed Kavani’s own experiences of living in exile, what it was like to work with Panahi, and the women-led movement that continues to reverberate throughout Iran.
15 Dec. 2022
Last night, we sat down with a panel of special guests—Alissa Wilkinson (critic, Vox), Bilge Ebiri (critic, Vulture), and Inney Prakash (curator, Maysles Documentary Center and founder, Prismatic Ground film festival)—for a real-time countdown of the results of our year-end critics’ poll. The evening featured a lively discussion (and some hearty debate!) about the films as they were unveiled—now it’s here in podcast form, for your holiday home-listening pleasure! Consider it a gift from us to you, our loyal listeners.
1 Dec. 2022
A long time ago, in a galaxy, far, far away... Well, actually, just a few weeks ago, right here on the good old internet, our esteemed colleague, The New Yorker’s Richard Brody, tweeted out two simple words: TÁR WARS. He was referring, of course, to the swirl of controversy around TÁR, one of this year’s most talked-about films. The movie, directed by Todd Field and featuring a central performance from Cate Blanchett, tracks the gradual downfall of one Lydia Tár, the egomaniacal and possibly predatory conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic. Though a likely lock for many end-of-year lists, TÁR has been fairly divisive among critics. So for today’s podcast, Film Comment editors Devika Girish and Clinton Krute took inspiration from Mr. Brody’s tweet and invited two well-matched gladiators—the valiant Jessica Kiang on the pro-side and the courageous Nathan Lee on the con—to debate the relative merits and demerits of TÁR. Two critics enter, one critic leaves… May the best critic win!
15 Nov. 2022
2022 marks the birth centenary of the great filmmaker, writer, and intellectual Pier Paolo Pasolini. To celebrate his legacy, Fireflies Press has published a new book, Pier Paolo Pasolini: Writing on Burning Paper, featuring reflections from Mike Leigh, Helena Wittman, Alexandre Koberidze, Jia Zhangke, Angela Schanelec, and many other filmmakers on the powerful influence the auteur continues to exert on contemporary cinema. To discuss the book and reflect on Pasolini’s life and work, Film Comment’s Devika Girish and Clinton Krute sat down with Giovanni Marchini Camia, co-publisher of Fireflies Press, and filmmaker Radu Jude, one of the contributors to Writing on Burning Paper. Among other great insights, Giovanni reveals how the title of the book—and in fact, the name “Fireflies Press” itself—was inspired by Pasolini’s writings, and Radu recalls his first encounters with Pasolini’s work at the Romanian Cinematheque in Bucharest in the early ’90s.
8 Nov. 2022
This week’s podcast is about one of America’s favorite genres: cop movies. The episode takes inspiration from a series that recently screened at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, titled “Watch the Cops: Policing New York in the Movies,” curated by scholar Pooja Rangan and filmmaker Brett Story. The program included a small but eclectic range of films, including big-budget genre flicks Copland and Dog Day Afternoon, which show how ambivalence about policing is often resolved in pop culture; the documentary Making “Do the Right Thing”, a behind-the-scenes record of the Spike Lee classic and a glimpse into how movie-making impacts local communities; and the activist film, The Torture of Mothers: The Case of the Harlem 6, a docu-fiction about a famous 1965 case of police brutality and wrongful conviction. Film Comment editors Devika Girish and Clinton Krute invited Brett and Pooja to discuss the thinking behind their selections and to guide them through the thought-provoking ideas underpinning the program. Check out the show page on filmcomment.com for links to several must-see films featured in the series.
1 Nov. 2022
It’s the time of year when ghosts, ghouls, and goblins are on the prowl. That’s right: it’s Halloween. Or, if we’re getting technical, the day after Halloween. And as much as Film Comment editors Devika Girish and Clinton Krute are scared to admit it, that means it’s also time for another Halloween Hangover episode of the Film Comment Podcast, where the two confront one of their greatest fears—horror movies—with the help of some masters of the macabre. This year, Clint and Devika asked Kelli Weston, who literally holds a PhD in horror cinema, and Steven Mears, a critic and Film Comment’s famously nocturnal copyeditor, to inflict two movies of their choice upon us. Kelli chose the 1976 slasher flick Alice Sweet Alice, and Steve picked Jack Clayton’s Henry James adaptation The Innocents. Both movies were ultimately more goofy than scary, but they yielded a truly rich conversation about the role of religion, class, children, and more in horror.
25 Oct. 2022
The leaves are changing color, and there’s a chill in the air. That means, of course, that List Season is upon us. This year is special: Sight & Sound is publishing their Greatest Films of All Time list. Every decade since 1952, the British magazine polls critics, programmers, and filmmakers from all over the world to compile a definitive ranking of the best movies ever made.  At last month’s Getting Real conference, organized by the International Documentary Association, Film Comment co-presented a critics panel exploring the relevance of such lists especially when it comes to documentary films. FC co-deputy editors Devika Girish and Clinton Krute were joined by critics Nick Bradshaw, Emerson Goo, Girish Shambu, and Kelli Weston to ask questions like: Are lists still useful in an age of democratizing cinema? What is the relationship between list-making and canonization? How can we collectively remake a more diverse and inclusive canon? And, of course, the fun part: which documentaries are likely to make this year’s Sight & Sound list? Listen to the end to hear our panelists’ best guesses! Read a transcript of this panel discussion here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Mn6K6agPkLdRmYkIZc47QhVGSEzspynCvi5Aw6YdZQI/edit
18 Oct. 2022
The 60th New York Film Festival closed up shop last weekend, which means that it was once again time for Film Comment’s Festival Report, our annual live overview of the NYFF that was. FC co-deputy editors Devika Girish and Clinton Krute convened an all-star team of critics—Phoebe Chen, Molly Haskell, and Kelli Weston—for a spirited wrap-up discussion about the highlights and lowlights from the NYFF60 lineup. In front of a lively audience, the panel discussed Todd Field’s controversial TÁR, Alice Diop’s consensus favorite Saint Omer, Paul Schrader’s less-well-regarded Master Gardener, Joanna Hogg’s hall-of-mirrors The Eternal Daughter, and many other noteworthy selections.
14 Oct. 2022
In his Cannes 2022 dispatch, Jonathan Romney wrote “Jerzy Skolimowski’s EO is a flamboyant, visionary work: its execution—including drone shots set to blazing red filters—and wayward, fragmented narrative showed an energy shared by that little else at the festival. Corny but true: the wildest, youngest film in the lineup was made by an 84-year-old director up for anything.” With EO making its US premiere at this year’s New York Film Festival, we sat down with Skolimowski over Zoom to discuss his radical re-imagining of Bresson, which follows a pure-hearted donkey adrift in a cruel world. Though the filmmaker—known for such classics as Walkover, Deep End, Moonlighting, and many more—wasn’t able to attend this year’s festival in person, he was happy to field our many questions about his latest, a powerfully empathetic work of striking beauty and visual imagination.
12 Oct. 2022
Taking its title from a poem by Bertolt Brecht, this talk explores the role of critique and criticism in the arts and beyond. Does critique represent a negative attitude to the world, or is it in fact an optimistic practice, one that allows us to imagine and work toward alternative and better realities? (Brecht, again: “Criticizing the course of a river means improving it, correcting it.”) Is criticism always a response to art, or can it be a form of art-making in itself? Can one effectively critique an institution or system while also living within it? Film Comment editors Devika Girish and Clinton Krute delved into these questions with a roundtable of directors—Laura Poitras (All the Beauty and the Bloodshed), Elvis Mitchell (Is That Black Enough for You?!?), and Tiffany Sia (What Rules the Invisible)—whose films from the NYFF60 lineup are as stunning as works of art as they are incisive as critiques—whether of history, society, or art itself.
7 Oct. 2022
2021 marked the birth centenary of Amos Vogel, the pioneering film programmer, author, and co-founder of the New York Film Festival. To mark this occasion and honor Vogel’s path-blazing legacy, last year the festival inaugurated the Amos Vogel Lecture, to be delivered annually by an artist or thinker who embodies the spirit of Vogel’s cinephilia and brings it into conversation with the present and future of cinema. For this second edition of the Lecture, NYFF welcomed the filmmaker and artist Cauleen Smith, whose landmark 1998 debut feature, Drylongso, screened in a new restoration in the Revivals section of this year’s festival. Known for the political rigor and intrepid formal experimentation of her film and multimedia practice, Smith epitomizes both the ethics of care and the commitment to subversion that guided Vogel’s mission. Smith’s address is followed by a Q&A with Jacqueline Stewart, the director and president of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures and a Turner Classic Movies host, and is presented here for the first time. The 2022 Amos Vogel Lecture is sponsored by Turner Classic Movies. NYFF Talks are presented by HBO.
27 Sep. 2022
“Cinema is never on time,” wrote the great critic Serge Daney. That statement never seemed to apply to Jean-Luc Godard, an auteur who was always of his time and ahead of it—a relentless interrogator of the present who also sought the horizons of a new future. This week, as we mourn the recent passing of one of our greatest artists, Film Comment Co-Deputy Editors Devika Girish and Clinton Krute invited two critics and Godard experts for a talk about the filmmaker’s life and career. Richard Brody writes about movies for The New Yorker and is the author of the must-read Godard biography, Everything Is Cinema, and Blair McClendon is a film editor, regular Film Comment contributor, and author of a beautiful remembrance of Godard published by n+1. The four discussed Godard’s vast and protean filmography, from foundational works like Breathless and La Chinoise to masterful essay films like Goodbye to Language and The Image Book, and the ways in which Godard’s films awakened them, in their formative cinephilic years, to the aesthetic and political potentialities of cinema.
16 Sep. 2022
As we head into the last weekend of the 2022 Toronto Film Festival, Film Comment Co-Deputy Editor Devika Girish welcomes Adam Nayman (critic and certified Toronto native), Vadim Rizov (director of operations at Filmmaker Magazine), and Beatrice Loayza (associate web editor at the Criterion Collection) to talk about some of the major titles from this year's lineup, including The Fabelmans, Dry Ground Burning, Women Talking, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, The Whale, and the Bulgari ad directed by Paolo Sorrentino that plays before every TIFF screening.
15 Sep. 2022
We’re reporting this week from one of the major film events of the fall: the Toronto International Film Festival, which runs from September 8 to 18. Throughout this year’s festival, we’ll be on the ground, covering all the highlights (and lowlights) from the lineup with a rotating crew of critics and special guests. For our third podcast dispatch from Toronto, Film Comment Co-Deputy Editor Devika Girish is joined by Film at Lincoln Center programmer Madeline Whittle and critic Mark Asch to talk about Laura Poitras’s All the Beauty and Bloodshed, Davy Chou’s Return to Seoul, Rebecca Zlotowski’s Other People's Children, Sam Mendes’s Empire of Light, and more.
14 Sep. 2022
We’re reporting this week from one of the major film events of the fall: the Toronto International Film Festival, which runs from September 8 to 18. Throughout this year’s screening, we’ll be on the ground, covering all the highlights (and lowlights) from the lineup with a rotating crew of critics and special guests. For our second dispatch from the Tim Horton–studded mean streets of Toronto, Film Comment Co-Deputy Editor Devika Girish welcomes Cristina Nord (head of the Berlinale Forum), Chloe Lizotte (editorial manager at MUBI Notebook), and Beatrice Loayza (associate web editor at the Criterion Collection) to talk about some of their favorites from the fest, including Alice Diop’s Saint Omer, Marie Kreutzer’s Corsage, Lars von Tier’s The Kingdom Exodus, Vera Drew’s The People’s Joker, Moyra Davey’s Horse Opera, Stéphane Lafleur’s Viking, and more.
13 Sep. 2022
Hold Me Tight, the latest directorial venture from actor and filmmaker Mathieu Amalric, is a riveting, kaleidoscopic entry to the canon of movies about women on the verge. The film, which opened on September 9, features Vicky Krieps as Clarisse, a young mother on the run who may—or may not, depending on your reading of the story—be going through indescribable grief. The actor turns in a performance of mesmerizing fluidity and mystery, as Amalric’s elliptical storytelling keeps the audience guessing about the nature of Clarisse’s reality.  Last week, Film Comment Co-Deputy Editors Clinton Krute and Devika Girish welcomed the director and star for a Film Comment Live talk about their new movie, the narrative and cinematic balancing act of depicting a mind in flux, the film’s imaginative use of music, and much more.
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