In a film like The Work, with its multiple layers of privileged access and precariously obtained permissions from an array of potentially volatile participants, you are not just being allowed to see. Your sight is essential. Seeing and being seen is the point.
In this new Reverse Shot Talkie, the greatest living British filmmaker wanders the halls of Museum of the Moving Image in New York with host Eric Hynes and talks about the popular songs that helped shape his childhood, and which in turn helped shape his cinema.
There were times when the existential dread was so rough that I would have traded some good old sexual anxiety for it. It is a pretty horrific thing to discover that we might be finite mortals. There were moments in college when I would have given anything to be a struggling queer Christian.
Kaufman and Johnson tour the galleries of the Museum of the Moving Image with host Eric Hynes. They contemplate early cinematic techniques of motion capture and ponder whether the puppets in their stop-motion animation drama Anomalisa might have been "faking it" on set.
“We were like mediums at a paranormal séance, the whole presentation is spoken in our voices. What we chose, what we didn’t choose, what interested us, what we riffed on, sometimes what we just dreamt or felt, or hated, or wanted to strangle…”
What started in 1994 as a two-day, modestly attended, parochially English affair has, in the decades following, tripled in length, welcomes more than ten times the number of visitors, and is now a tent-pole event on the international documentary industry calendar.
As with Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah, another masterpiece dedicated to present-day witnessing, to chasing the ghosts of atrocity across the living landscape of our ruined humanity, it’s important not to overlook the extraordinary artistry that allows for such extra-cinematic effects.