Interview with Francois Ozon

by Simon on May 12, 2015 · 0 comments

Within moments from the start of Francois Ozon’s latest film The New Girlfriend, you get the distinct feeling you’re watching a fairytale. There’s a strange cleanliness about the production design, a smoothness of the camerawork, a heightened sensibility in the film’s score. But underneath this strange world of middle-class fantasy there’s a darkness that’s suggested – a place where sexual desire lurks. And it’s here that Ozon wants to take his audience. For his idea of fun. [click to continue…]


by Simon on May 2, 2015 · 0 comments

Juliette Binoche had a dream. She wanted to make a film about what she calls “the feminine”.  And The Clouds of Sils Maria, a complex tale of actresses and assistants, memory and moving on, is what emerged as a result of that dream. Chatting in a hotel room in her home town of Paris, she is warm and generous about how the film came to be made, how she approached her character, and what she thinks about some of the film’s richly layered meaning. [click to continue…]

Interview with Eric Toledano

by Simon on April 1, 2015 · 0 comments

There’s nothing more exciting than seeing an actor you’ve loved in one film pull off – barely recognisable – a completely different role in another. When I saw the French film A Prophet back in 2009 (five stars and “one of the finest works of the decade” I seem to have written) I was transfixed by the quiet power that French-Algerian actor Tahir Rahim brought to the lead role, an illiterate petty criminal navigating gang politics in a maliciously corrupt prison. In Paris five years later watching the new crop of French cinema, I hardly recognised him in Samba, the new film from Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache, best known for their runaway success The Intouchables.  In Samba, Rahim proves, in a cast that includes the versatile Charlotte Gainsbourg and comedian Omar Sy – that he can be as funny as anyone. He plays a happy-go-lucky Algerian immigrant pretending to be Brazilian – mainly because it gets him more girls. [click to continue…]

Interview with Robin Campillo

by Simon on March 1, 2015 · 0 comments

It may be a French film, but it will definitely strike a chord here in Australia, given our complex love-hate relationship with immigration and migrants. And whilst Eastern Boys may sound like a film about migrants from Asia, for the French it refers to the young men from Eastern Europe – Ukraine, Russia and Moldavia – who come to Paris looking for a better future. It’s the second movie of writer-director Robin Campillo, who is thoughtful, relaxed and sitting opposite me in a room overlooking the Musee de Louvre. Outside is the cool of the European winter, but inside we’re sweltering with an overactive heating system.  I’m gulping water. Campillo, himself a migrant from Morocco, doesn’t mind the heat. “I never stayed one year in the same place until I was twelve”, he reveals. “I was born in Morocco and lived in Algeria and in the East of France. My father was in the Airforce and we moved a lot when I was young. So I feel like a migrant myself. And whenever I came back I didn’t like France – it seemed cold and it felt like we were poor.” [click to continue…]

After making two films with acclaimed German director Margarethe von Trotta, screenwriter Pam Katz was sitting on a bus in New York in 2003 when Trotta leaned in and whispered to her “I’m thinking about doing Hannah Arendt. What do you think?” Katz remembers her response. “I said fantastic, what a wonderful idea. And I was truly thrilled because Arendt is an endlessly fascinating person and no-one has ever solved her.” But Katz also admits that Trotta was surprised by her enthusiasm. She looked hard at Katz and laughed. “But Pam,” she said “she’s a thinker, what are we going to show?” [click to continue…]

Interview with ALEX GIBNEY

by Simon on July 1, 2013 · 0 comments

Even for Academy Award-winning Alex Gibney, it was one of those extraordinary moments as a documentary filmmaker. In the middle of an interview with US General Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA, Hayden leaned into camera and confidently said: “Now look, let me be candid, all right. We steal secrets. We steal other nation’s secrets.” [click to continue…]

Interview with Phil Grabsky

by Simon on April 21, 2013 · 0 comments

Filmmaker Phil Grabsky wants more people to go to art galleries. The man behind celebrated documentary films about Mozart and Beethoven has now turned his attention to art, working with some of the most prestigious exhibitions and galleries in the world and creating a new experience: the exhibition event film, a cinematic portrayal of a blockbuster art exhibition. [click to continue…]

Interview with Yaron Zilberman

by Simon on March 12, 2013 · 2 comments

As a first time director of a feature film, Yaron Zilberman managed to pull of the near impossible – getting Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christopher Walken and Catherine Keener to appear in his film Performance. These three A-listers are joined by Mark Ivanir (Schindler’s List, The Good Shepherd), the four of them playing members of a string quartet which has been together for 25 years, and which looks like self-destructing. It’s a fascinating drama about the passion and politics of a small group of friends, and is fuelled by Beethoven’s moving Opus 131 – an unusually structured piece of music that the composer insisted be played attaca – without a break. This challenges the musicians to adjust throughout the performance as their instruments go slowly out of tune in ways they can’t possibly anticipate. [click to continue…]

Interview with Kieran Darcy-Smith

by Simon on April 18, 2012 · 0 comments

Despite our proximity to the countries of South-East Asia – and the vast number of Australians who visit them – few Australian filmmakers have made places like Thailand, Vietnam or Laos the subject of Australian film stories, often because of the sheer logistical difficulty of getting cast and crew organised in remote locations. It was a challenge that didn’t stop actor – now first time director – Kieran Darcy-Smith when he shot a large segment of his new film Wish You Were Here, in Cambodia. “The entire experience was challenging in the extreme and I absolutely loved it,” he says sitting crossed-legged in an oversized chair. “I’ve never felt more alive.” [click to continue…]

Interview with Ralph Fiennes

by Simon on March 5, 2012 · 0 comments

Ralph Fiennes remembers exactly the first time he experienced the work of William Shakespeare. “I was taken at the age of five to a small country cinema to see Laurence Olivier’s Henry V by my parents,” he says, recalling the moment fondly with a throaty laugh. “I remember I was put in a little jacket for the event of going out to the cinema.” But it wasn’t this 1944 big-screen Technicolour version of Shakespeare that was to make an impact on the young Fiennes. “What really made Shakespeare get inside my head was when my mother told me – in her own words and in a very simplified and accessible way – the story of Hamlet when I was about eight or nine. [click to continue…]