This week we’re excited to present two conversations, the first from the 61st New York Film Festival with Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell director Pham Thien An and the second with Emma Stone, Nathan Fielder, Benny Safdie, Nizhonniya Luxi Austin, and Executive Producer Dave McCary of the new Showtime series The Curse.
Winner of the prestigious Camera d’Or for best first film at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, the enthralling Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell from Vietnamese filmmaker Pham Thien An is a reverie on faith, loss, and nature expressed with uncommon invention and depth. It’s a simple tale told with visual complexity: after a car accident claims the life of his sister-in-law and leaves his 5-year-old nephew an orphan, a thirty something man named Thien (Le Phong Vu) leaves Saigon for a trip back to his rural hometown. During his meditative, wandering visit, Thien wrestles with his own agnosticism in the face of others’ religious beliefs, summons memories of his long-disappeared brother, and reconnects with a former girlfriend who now lives as a nun at a Christian church and school. With its drifting camera, evocative use of natural light, and gratifying perambulatory nature, this is a film with the power to readjust one’s perceptions of the world around us. An NYFF61 Currents selection. A Kino Lorber release.
In this brilliantly discomfiting collaboration between Nathan Fielder (hot on the heels of his revelatory comic creation The Rehearsal) and Benny Safdie (Uncut Gems, NYFF57; Oppenheimer), Fielder and Emma Stone (La La Land; The Favourite, NYFF56) play Asher and Whitney Siegel, married entrepreneurs (don’t call them gentrifiers!) whose latest plan is to flip houses and convert them into eco-friendly homes for the struggling residents of Española, New Mexico—all for a home improvement-style reality show being overseen by an ingratiating producer (Safdie) with demons of his own. From this premise, which nimbly touches upon inescapable American issues of race, class, and capital, Fielder and Safdie branch out into an increasingly tangled network of ethical and moral gray zones, expertly balancing the tender and the merciless. Following the world premiere of episodes 1–3 at the 61st New York Film Festival, Film at Lincoln Center is pleased to present the remaining seven episodes from this genre-defying, riotously funny series, directed by Fielder and David and Nathan Zellner. An A24/Showtime release.
Watch and listen below.