He may never win an Oscar as a director. But he might snag one for acting. 1.932 words. Illustration by Mark Fearing.
The interview takes place in a suite at the Mark Hotel in New York. Although the director detests speaking to journalists, he understands the imperative of publicizing his new film. His last two movies disappeared with barely a trace; they can’t even be found on YouTube. At 59, he knows that if this film tanks, he may no longer be able to continue doing what he loves.
The interviewer is 26, a recent graduate of an obscure film school where the director fears he may be exiled if this film also fails at the box office. The aspiring critic has made several short YouTube videos analyzing movies of directors she admires and has begun to develop a following. She thinks that an interview with this controversial director can build her audience even more. Although she loves his first movie, his new film puzzles and disturbs her. She’s not sure what to make of it, or the director. At film school she took a class in documentaries and agrees with Jean Rouch, the French anthropologist/filmmaker, that the camera can unlock closed doors and provoke subjects to reveal more about themselves than they realize. She hopes the camera will do the same today and help her make up her mind about the director. She’s never filmed an interview before, though, and she’s apprehensive about it.
She knocks softly on the door of the hotel room. The director opens it, glass in hand. She wonders if it holds water or vodka. Entering the suite with her camera equipment, she looks around uneasily.
INTERVIEWER: I thought your publicist would be here.
DIRECTOR: I don’t have a publicist.