Conversation with Filmmaker John Berry

It is mid-June and I am talking to the noted Yiddish scholar Jean Mouton in a restaurant in Belleville. Actually, that sentence is designed to fool any FBI agents who may still be on the trail of McCarthy-era survivor John Berry, the actor and director who, after three months of dodging a HUAC subpoena, traded America for the City of Lights in late March 1950. Continue reading “Conversation with Filmmaker John Berry”

Steve Buscemi’s “Happy Hour”

The cushy bar of the Hotel Manchester on rue de la Paix has nothing in common with the Trees Lounge, the eponymous watering hole of actor Steve Buscemi’s directing debut, renamed “Happy Hour” for its French release (Oct 16). But this far posher locale is where I spent a happy half-hour speaking with the 38-year-old thesp about his leisurely, enjoyable ode to the drawbacks and vicissitudes of being 30-something and aimless in suburbia.

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Oliver Stone Discusses “Nixon”

Oliver Stone is on the campaign trail: a one-day stop in Paris in late February, en route from Berlin, where “Nixon” was shown in competition at the film festival, before returning to America, where the film received four Oscar nominations. Stone, who speaks fluent French, has more than casual ties to France. His parents met in Paris when his father, Lou, was stationed here as a GI. Stone often credits his initial love of film to his French mother, Jacqueline, an avid moviegoer. Continue reading “Oliver Stone Discusses “Nixon””

Interview: Quentin Tarantino

Flavor of the Month or Taste of Things to Come? October 1992

Anyone who shies away from the vivid torture sequence in writer/director Quentin Tarantino’s startling debut film, “Reservoir Dogs,” might like to know that it’s one of Quentin’s mom’s two favorite scenes.The other one is the opening credits passage, about ten minutes into the picture, during which the eight crooks whose jewel heist is about to go awry stride across the parking lot of a Los Angeles restaurant in slow motion, clad in black suits with white shirts and skinny ties, not a former altar boy in the bunch.”They all look so male,” Mrs. Tarantino is reported to have said when confronted with the poeticized ne’er-do-wells played by Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Chris Penn, Steve Buscemi, Lawrence Tierney, Michael Madsen, Eddie Bunker and Quentin himself. Continue reading “Interview: Quentin Tarantino”

Conversation with David Cronenberg

William Burroughs’ “Naked Lunch” was “unfilmable,” but Canadian wizard David Cronenberg went ahead and adapted it to the screen anyway. Discerning fans of altered states of consciousness will delight at the matter-of-fact way in which Cronenberg has incorporated a Mugwump here, a Sex Blob there, a very proficient talking anus and word processing machines whose software hearkens back to the primeval slime.

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