What Ails Democracy?: An Interview with Astra Taylor

In Miami, the struggle to stay above water is manifest. Model buildings are built to test hurricane force winds,[i] while defensive sea walls, high-capacity pumps, and stormwater drainage systems are installed in those areas most at risk.[ii] The menace of rising sea levels and extreme weather events is felt more concretely by some more than […]

An Interview with Aminatou Echard about her documentary Djamilia

Fictional characters, as with the people we encounter in our own lives, morph over time in the annals of our memory. They become, like most things, a reflection of our relationship to them. This is the paradox central to French filmmaker Aminatou Echard’s 2017 documentary Djamilia, which explores the relationship that women in contemporary Kyrgyzstan have to […]

An Interview with Ella Cooper of Black Women Film! Canada

Black Women Film! Canada is a leadership program and collective dedicated to forwarding the careers, networks and skills of filmmakers and media artists who are Black female-identified. Based in Toronto, the program was founded by Ella Cooper: artist, filmmaker, educator, and community organizer. As evidenced by her leadership of BWF!, Ella has an ingenuity that permeates […]

“Curiosity is a good thing”: An Interview with Agnès Varda

For some 50 years, Agnès Varda has worked and lived in the 14th arrondissement in Paris, in a pink-painted atelier on rue Daguerre. (Her love of this milieu is well-known: she documented her fellow inhabitants of the small street in 1976’s Daguerréotypes, and in 2003 filmed a short surrealist rom-com, Le Lion Volatil, around the iconic […]

Permission, Power, and Privilege: An Interview with Kirsten Johnson

“You’re making me cry even though I don’t understand the language.” Wanderlust. It’s a bug that bites us all, and yet very few have the privilege of their passport resembling a makeshift United Nations souvenir. Legendary cinematographer Kirsten Johnson (Citizenfour, Pray the Devil Back to Hell, The Oath) has been so lucky, and in her […]

“Sharing something closer to paradise”: An Interview with Sally Potter

Sally Potter arrived at filmmaking after a full decade spent working as a dancer, musician, and choreographer; a background that can be detected—hidden in plain sight—in almost all of her films. The change in career path was motivated by a feeling that cinema was the best instrument available for questioning some of the prevalent social […]

Dream On: An Interview with Julie Taymor

“I have had a dream past the wit of man to say what dream it was.” – A Midsummer Night’s Dream  Julie Taymor deals in dreams. Her directorial works—which include the Tony Award-winning Broadway production of The Lion King (1997), her critically acclaimed feature film debut Titus (1999), and the Oscar-winning Frida (2002)—aren’t tied to […]

Heavy Metal: Clio Barnard on Junkyards, Heroes, and Fairytales in The Selfish Giant

In 2010, Clio Barnard made her presence in the film world known with her bold and experimental debut film, The Arbor. A documentary tracing the life of playwright Andrea Dunbar, The Arbor rejected conventional form, using actors to lip-synch interviews Barnard had conducted with her subject’s family and friends. The move was controversial—and raised questions regarding the role […]

Barely Legal: An Interview with Eliza Hittman

Set in director Eliza Hittman’s native Brooklyn, It Felt Like Love (2013) evokes a place far from the sidewalks of Bedford Avenue or the Greenpoint of Lena Dunham’s Girls, and closer to the working-class borough of Dog Day Afternoon (1975) or Saturday Night Fever (1977). In it, we follow the listless fourteen-year-old Lila (newcomer Gina […]

“Anger is part of my relation to the world”: An Interview with Claire Denis

Claire Denis has never shied away from monsters. While her work is described as sensual and erotic (both true), her films are never sentimental. They are complex, engaging with the fact that life, while often beautiful, is also harsh, cruel, and painful. This pain has been explored in relation to colonial history (Chocolat, 1988), the […]