On this edition of the podcast, we talk with two filmmakers who've spent most of their careers as writers but have now directed their first films: Marjane Satrapi, the writer-director of the Oscar-nominated film Persepolis, and Mike White, the writer-director of one of my favorites of 2007, Year of the Dog.
Coming Up: Our 2007 year-in-review.
Looks like Syndromes and a Century got beat out by Brand Upon the Brain! in Best Picture, Rob. I think this means you owe me a drink. Or was it a noogie? I can't remember what our bet was.
Yeah, well, the count must've been close, and I'm just glad they were both nominated.
Were you watching the ceremony? Maddin's acceptance speech was a beaut, one for the ages. I hope someone will upload it to YouTube.
A note about the Mike White interview: I didn't realize until I tried to transcribe the chat a while back how many sentences White begins but never finishes, the sort of false starts that you might edit out of most broadcast interviews but that are particularly difficult to remove from this one. Instead of trying to smooth it out, I just left it. I especially like that he thinks aloud as he's talking about the way Errol Morris "just lets people talk" in Gates of Heaven.
I didn't realize any of this during the interview, strangely; the visual cues, facial expressions, hand motions made it all coherent. I realized it during transcription, but I usually discover something new when I assemble the podcast, and this time it was the way Molly Shannon does an amazing job of mimicking White's casual cadence in the movie. In the clip I included here, she's just trying to answer the simple question, "Have you ever been married?"
Rob, it's interesting that you mention being surprised by how less coherent Mike White sounds when you can't see him talk in person. I thought your conversation with him was nice but certainly not as interesting as some of the others, mostly because of White's speaking style.
J. Robert's conversation with Marjane Satrapi, on the other hand, was really compelling. Although she probably made it easier on the interviewer, the best insight was the one that stemmed from J. Robert's question about the similarities with Iranian cinema: her discussion of the singularities of being an Iranian child.
Did either of you write up versions of your interviews for publication? It would be interesting to see what you did with them.
As always, thanks so much for the podcast.