On today’s episode of our podcast, we’re featuring two highlights from the most recent edition of New Directors/New Films, our annual showcase of up-and-coming talent presented with the Museum of Modern Art. First, you’ll hear a conversation with Israeli director Nadav Lapid about his new film, The Kindergarten Teacher, which is now playing daily at the Film Society. After that, we’ll go to a Q&A with Marielle Heller about her directorial debut, The Diary of a Teenage Girl, which was the festival’s Opening Night selection. The coming-of-age comedy-drama opens in theaters this weekend.
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The Kindergarten Teacher tells the story of Nira, a teacher in Tel Aviv who becomes obsessed with one of her students, a 5-year-old poetry prodigy named Yoav. Jonathan Romney of Film Comment chose it as his Film of the Week and said: “It’s the convulsiveness of Lapid’s film that makes it beautiful, and beautifully perplexing.” Following its screening at ND/NF in March, Lapid joined festival programmer Dennis Lim on stage to talk about the film.
The Diary of a Teenage Girl stars Bel Powley as Minnie, a 15-year-old girl living in San Francisco in the 1970s who initiates an affair with the dense but beautiful boyfriend (Alexander Skarsgård) of her free-spirited mother (Kristen Wiig). In the most recent issue of Film Comment, Amy Taubin praised the film, saying: “The Diary of a Teenage Girl boldly goes where no American coming-of-age movie has gone before.” The film was the Opening Night selection at New Directors/New Films and, following its screening at MoMA, Marielle Heller joined festival programmer Marian Masone to discuss it.