Woody Allen on Café Society: ‘We buy $100 worth of lottery tickets a week’

This is the video interview:

Woody Allen, the writer and director of Café Society, a romantic comedy about a working class New Yorker (Jesse Eisenberg) seduced by the high life of 1930s Hollywood, talks to Catherine Shoard about his fascination with rich people and his 20-ticket-a-week lottery habit.

Here is the Woody Allen interview with Catherine Shoard:

Woody Allen is 80. Time is finite and he knows it. Every day the industrious same: wake, work, weights, treadmill, work, clarinet, work, supper, TV, sleep. Except today and tomorrow and Thursday, when he’ll do something futile.

“I never thought there was any point doing press,” he says. “I don’t think anybody ever reads an interview and says: ‘Hey, I want to see that movie!’” He smiles benignly, tip-to-toe in peanut-butter beige. Allen no longer reads anything about himself (except, maybe, one article, of which more later). This is the boring bit of film-making. This and the gags of the financiers.

Yet for someone who feels that way, he sure pulls the hours. At Cannes, he even carried on regardless of the publication of a piece by his son, Ronan Farrow, resurfacing an allegation of abuse by Allen of Ronan’s sister, Dylan. When I speak to him again three months later, in the final stages of prep on his 48th film (Kate Winslet, Justin Timberlake, 1950s, fairground), he’s friendly on the phone, in no special hurry to hang up.

How Taxi Driver Ruined Acting

How Taxi Driver Ruined Acting

“Every day, for 40 fucking years, one of you has stopped me on the street and said, ‘You talkin’ to me?’” groused Robert De Niro at a recent Q&A at the Tribeca Film festival reuniting the makers of “Taxi Driver”. Martin Scorsese, Harvey Keitel, Jodie Foster, Cybil Shepherd and screenwriter Paul Schrader all swapped anecdotes, and De Niro led the audience in one last rendition of his most famous line, in an effort to expunge the ghost. He’s not the only one haunted by the role, which remains the template for every young Hollywood actor eager to put the lucre of blockbuster dollars behind them with a walk on the indie wild side: Christian Bale in “The Machinist”, Ryan Gosling in “Drive”, Sam Rockwell in “Seven Psychopaths”, in which he plays an actor who believes himself to be the illegitimate son of Travis Bickle. They all believe that. “‘Taxi Driver’ is the ultimate independent-movie performance,” Leonardo DiCaprio has said. “Playing a character like Travis Bickle is every young actor’s wet dream.”

Read more here

Wall Street Women: Harassed and Power-Hungry, as Depicted in Equity

Wall Street Women: Harassed and Power-Hungry, as Depicted in Equity


In an early scene in “Equity,” a new movie about women investment bankers, the protagonist, Naomi Bishop, delivers an address at her alma mater and describes how she became one of the top bankers for a firm that might be modelled after the former Bear Stearns. “I like money,” Bishop, played by Anna Gunn, tells the audience. “I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I only do what I do to take care of other people, because it is O.K. to do it for ourselves. For how it makes us feel. Secure? Yeah. Powerful? Absolutely.” She pauses, as if contemplating the political correctness of what she’s about to say: “I am so glad that it’s finally acceptable for women to sit and talk about ambition openly. But don’t let money be a dirty word. We can like that, too.”

See the rest of the story about Equity the film at


Setsuko Hara and The End of an Era

We’re always hearing about the ends of eras, but the recent death of the great actress Setsuko Hara really is the end of an era—the era of the classic Japanese film. Noriko, in Ozu’s Tokyo Story, is the quintessential Hara character: inescapably refined, sensitive, well-born, and almost always modern—she’s the archetype of the post-war young woman. Yet she also embodies the virtues of the traditional Japanese woman: loyalty, self-sacrifice, suffering in silence; she’s the perfect daughter, wife, mother. She was utterly real, yet she represented an ideal…the ideal.

Read the rest of Robert Gottlieb’s An Actress Like No Other

Years before his death Donald Richie wrote a piece for The Criterion Collection: Ozu and  Setsuko Hara
A moving tribute to Setsuko Hara:

An Introduction to Chantal Akerman




An Introduction to Chantal Ackerman

The A nos amours retrospective of the films of Chantal Akerman continues at the ICA. Yet outside of cinephile circles, few people have heard of her, and those who have would be unable to recite the full title of her most famous work.

So for novices, or those who just want to brush up on their Akerman, here are a few key points about one of the most significant yet still neglected directors in world cinema.

She made the best film ever directed by a woman

Read more about Chantal Akerman here:




Filmmaker and Artist Hu Jie on China’s Invisible History

 Filmmaker and Artist Hu Jie on China's Invisible History


Ian Johnson

Though none of his works have been publicly shown in China, Hu Jie is one of his country’s most noteworthy filmmakers. Specializing in documentary films that explore sensitive parts of contemporary Chinese history, Hu, who is fifty-seven, has created an ambitious oeuvre despite working in some of the most challenging conditions imaginable.

He is best known for his trilogy of documentaries about Maoist China, which includes Searching for Lin Zhao’s Soul(2004), telling the now-legendary story of a young Christian woman who died in prison for refusing to recant her criticisms of the Party during the Anti-Rightist Campaign of 1957; Though I Am Gone (2007), about a teacher who was beaten to death by her own students at the outset of the Cultural Revolution in 1966; and Spark (2013), describing a doomed underground publication in 1960 that tried to expose the Great Leap famine, which killed upward of 30 million people.

Read more about Hu Jie here


A Bad Film About Alan Turing

A Bad Film about Alan Turing

Writing for The New York Review of Books, Christian Caryl deconstructs ‘The Imitation Game,’  which is the grandest biopic of Alan Turing to hit theaters.  Such media attention for Turing is significant. For much of the post World War II period, the mathematician’s role in deciphering the ‘Enigma,’ code was classified information. It took the gay rights movement, particularly its successful activism of the nineteen eighties before Turing’s infamous homosexual trial and conviction was widely known. His death nearly two years after the trial is portrayed as a suicide in this movie. However,  historical accounts indicate that the death may have been accidental. Turing is portrayed as a lone often diffident intellectual, always at odds with the establishment. Caryl suggests this was anything but true about the real Alan Turing, who worked very much together and in collaboration with many scientists and intellectuals of that time. 



Christian Caryl

The Imitation Game, the new film about the mathematician and codebreaker Alan Turning, seems determined to suggest maximum tension between him and a blinkered society. But this completely destroys any coherent telling of what Turing and his colleagues were trying to do.



Read more about the history of Alan Turing and this review of The Imitation Game

A One Hundred Year Old Color Photograph of Charlie Chaplin



Lillian Gish. Harold Lloyd. The inimitable Buster Keaton. No discussion of silent movies is complete without mention of — and tribute to — those silver-screen pioneers. But no single figure epitomizes that Hollywood era as neatly as Charlie Chaplin’s immortal creation, “the Tramp.” Baggy pants, tight coat, small hat, mustache, that immediately recognizable, floppy-footed gait — these particulars have become so intimately bound up with our collective idea of what silent films look and feel like that, for countless moviegoers all over the world, Chaplin’s Tramp is the silent era.

It’s especially striking, then, to come upon a color photograph of Chaplin, in character, from so early in his career. The autochrome above, made around 1918, somehow heightens much of the Tramp’s already considerable appeal. Instead of the black-and-white icon of pluck and pathos we thought we knew, we meet a creature of flesh and blood. The pinkish tone of the cheek; the myriad colors evident in the vest; the shadows playing on Chaplin’s brow and neck — all of these details sharpen our interest in Chaplin the man, just as his films spark admiration for Chaplin the artist.

[See more autochromes in a recent LightBox post about color photos from World War I.]

Here, 100 years after Chaplin’s Feb. 2, 1914, screen debut (in a 13-minute one-reeler, Making a Living), LightBox shares this surprising, quiet Charles Zoller portrait of the London-born actor, writer and director. Zoller (1856-1934) was a furniture dealer from Rochester, N.Y., who was introduced to the tricky — but hugely rewarding — autochrome process in Paris in 1907, the very year that the Lumiere brothers first marketed the new picture-making technology. In fact, Zoller — whose archive is housed at the Eastman House — might well have been the first amateur American photographer to work with autochromes.

His Charlie Chaplin portrait, meanwhile, still transfixes us a full century after it was made. Standing in that quintessential pose, Chaplin might be mulling one of his trademark stunts, or reconsidering the sequence of a critical scene. But what really moves us is not the mystery of what’s on his mind, but the sense that we’re actually there with him, in the California sun, moments before someone (perhaps Charlie Chaplin himself) shouts that stirring, cinematic word: Action!

Ben Cosgrove is the editor of He writes frequently on culture and photography for LightBox, and other outlets, online and off.

Watch the original Making a Living (1914), Charlie Chaplin debut film:

Richard Linklater Speaks about Time and Cinema

Richard Linklater Speaks about Time and Cinema

For Richard Linklater, the movies are about one thing:time. Time can be ephemeral, continuous, never-ending,mysterious and the most predictable part of a story. It is essential for any visual narrative to have a relationship with time, whether it is used to depict a mood, a relationship, a style, and even a cultural phenomenon. In this respect, its potential to form a narrative arc is infinite. In this short film, Richard Linklater journeys through the history of cinema and speaks about the impact time has had on his film making process.

Sebastian Junger’s Korengal

Sebastian Junger  is an internationally acclaimed journalist, who has been reporting from war torn battlefields around the world  for over twenty years. His last movie with Tim Hetherington titled ‘Restrepo,’ was nominated for an Academy award in 2010. Christopher de Bellaigue reviews his latest movie, Korengal for the New York Review of Books. This documentary follows a group of young soldiers who endure some of the heaviest battles in Afghanistan. In addition to all the riveting action, there is an earnest psychological portrayal that balances the narrative between the life threatening battle sequences and the feelings of these brave men. We step into the minds of these soldiers to try to understand their unique sense of camaraderie and friendship. Day after day, into the battlefield, these soldiers are drawn together more so by these powerful emotions than any ideology. 


Sebastian Junger's Korengal

Sebastian Junger’s new documentary Korengal follows the same soldiers over the same fifteen-month tour of duty in Afghanistan as his acclaimed 2010 film Restrepo, but it cannot be considered its sequel; it might be misleading even to call it a war film. Korengal’s subjects are youth and male friendship, and it deals in a peculiarly profound way with the unsettling sense that a young warrior experiences, after fighting alongside his brothers-in-arms, that he knows all the joy and agony that life can offer.


To read more of this review of Korengal by Sebastian Junger click here:


In this TED Talk, the director speaks about the psychology of veterans and why they often miss  war:

This is the trailer for Korengal :


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