CinemaTalk: Conversation with Richard Brody, Film Editor of The New Yorker

dGenerate Films presents CinemaTalk, an ongoing series of conversations with esteemed scholars of Chinese cinema studies. These conversations are presented on this site in audio podcast and/or text format. They are intended to help the Chinese cinema studies community keep abreast of the latest work being done in the field, as well as to learn what recent Chinese films are catching the attention of others. This series reflects our mission to bring valuable resources and foster community around the field of Chinese film studies.

Richard Brody (Photo courtesy of <i>The New Yorker</i>)

Richard Brody (Photo courtesy of The New Yorker)

Richard Brody began writing for The New Yorker in 1999, and has contributed articles about the directors François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, and Samuel Fuller. Since 2005, he has been the movie-listings editor at the magazine; he writes film reviews, a column about DVDs, and a blog about movies, The Front Row. He is the author of the book “Everything Is Cinema: The Working Life of Jean-Luc Godard.”

In this interview, dGenerate Films’ Kevin Lee talks to Richard Brody about his top ten films of the 2000s, in which he lists three Chinese feature films: Jia Zhangke’s The World, Wang Bing’s Fengming: A Chinese Memoir, and Ying Liang’s The Other Half. This conversation touches on all three films, and why Brody considers Chinese cinema to be “the crucial story in cinema of the past decade.” Brody also discusses two other films on his list, Jean-Luc Godard’s In Praise of Love and Claude Lanzmann’s Sobibor, 14 October 1943, 4PM, and their connection to the Chinese films he selected.

Brody’s full top ten list, and a topical index of the podcast with timecode follows after the break.

Play the Podcast (Time: 22:39) (right click to download)

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Richard Brody’s top ten films of the 2000s (as found on The New Yorker’s The Front Row blog):

1. Eloge de l’amour (“In Praise of Love”) (2001, Jean-Luc Godard)
2. The Darjeeling Limited (2007, Wes Anderson)
3. The World (2005, Jia Zhangke)
4. A Talking Picture (2003, Manoel de Oliveira)
5. Regular Lovers (2005, Philippe Garrel)
6. Sobibor, Oct. 14, 1943, 4 P.M. (2001, Claude Lanzmann)
7. Fengming: A Chinese Memoir (2009, Wang Bing)
8. Knocked Up (2008, Judd Apatow)
9. Mooladé (2004, Ousmane Sembene)
10. The Other Half (2007, Ying Liang)

Podcast Topic Index:

0:00 – “The crucial story in cinema of the past decade.”
4:15 – The Other Half by Ying Liang: “One of the decade’s two best new filmmakers.”
8:00 – Fengming: A Chinese Memoir by Wang Bing: “The decade’s best new non-fiction filmmaker.”
12:10 – “The two poles of documentary filmmaking.”
15:08 – The World by Jia Zhangke: “The best new non-American filmmaker of the last 20 years.”
19:10 – Jean-Luc Godard’s In Praise of Love and its resonance with contemporary Chinese cinema.

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  • HarryTuttle

    Do you think that Fengming is a greater film than West of The Tracks?
    What is the criterion for evaluation there? the essence of cinema or just the content of the story? I believe there is a confusion between what makes an individual human life great, and what makes a film great.
    Jia’s The World is an arguable choice (like you point to in the interview), but it’s probably the most “mainstream friendly” of his films, but not the most prodound nor his most accomplished aesthetic…

  • Chuck Stephens

    Oh yes, Jia Zhangke — an important filmmaker on par with Judd Apatow,

    This Brody guy’s really on the ball!

  • http://onlinefilmindir.blogspot.com Online Film indir

    Thank you for the information.