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A Need to Focus: Guy Maddin Interviews Kelly Reichardt About Showing Up

A woman with a dirty blond bob haircut holds two ceramic figures that have recently been fired in the kiln; a man wearing a utility jumpsuit unloads other kiln creations in the background.Michelle Williams and Andre Benjamin in Showing Up

Talking to The Guardian’s Xan Brooks in 2014, Kelly Reichardt reflected on the students she’s taught in her teaching position as an artist in residence at Bard. “The kids I know, I love them, but they’re not mad the way we used to be,” she noted. “They seem so unafraid and so un-angry. It makes them very nice people. It doesn’t make for great art. I ask them all the time: ‘Aren’t you mad at anything?’ They look at me like I’m off my rocker.” That sense of simmering discontent percolates through Michelle Williams’s performance as Lizzy, a ceramics sculptor whose upcoming show requires her full attention, which she can’t possibly give. Her university job requires interminable amounts of administration, her family members all contribute differently irritating distractions and, at home, her relationship to fellow artist Jo (Hong Chau) is complicated by the fact that the latter is also her landlord, who keeps promising but failing to repair her hot water boiler. On top of that, Jo has Lizzy taking care of a wounded pigeon. When will her time be hers?

With its recurring emphases on the political rot underlying the American experiment and material dispossession, Reichardt’s work hasn’t previously been primarily driven by comedy. Its milieus have been varied and not Reichardt’s own: period America reconstructions (Meek’s Cutoff, First Cow) and rural outskirts (Certain Women, Wendy and Lucy). Showing Up isn’t necessarily autobiographical, but it’s definitely grounded in a world much closer to her own reality, which may account for the newly foregrounded comic sensibility: In an environment whose pitfalls you know all too well, one way to survive is to continually find new things to laugh at.

For this interview, Reichardt asked to speak over Zoom with Guy Maddin, the Canadian iconoclast whose determinedly anarchic sensibility and meticulous emulations of silent film imagery operate at the other end of the stylistic register from Reichardt’s work. Both are well-versed cinephiles—and, like Lizzy, artists regularly employed in academia—whose wide-ranging conversation picks up where their emails left off. Showing Up is out April 7 from A24.—Vadim Rizov

Maddin: I watched an interview you did at Cannes last spring, outside on the beach. Gosh, you’re the most gracious filmmaker in the history of filmmaking—and outside of the film world, too. Just a pleasure to listen to. Ever since the first moment I met you, it’s always been very easy talking to you.

Reichardt: I really appreciate it. It’s funny. I teach production classes. When students are doing narrative work for the first time [and I’m] wanting people to bring some joy or life to their work, to get out of strict narrative, I show parts of Careful. Your work can give them a kind of spirit about not being bogged down by production and to let some life enter their world.

Maddin: Yeah, because I was never technically any good. I just saw what was happening on other sets; I saw people’s technical concerns as obstacles to pleasure. I knew these movies that I was helping out on in the local moviemaking scene were going to be considered underground movies at best, or low-budget pictures that were attempting to be glossy Hollywood things but would fall short. And I just thought, “Well, why not just let some joy show through, or something raw?” I was so glad to hear that you teach [George] Kuchar. There’s a guy who shot out of bed every morning with the intention of making any number of movies or videos, and he must’ve had a pathological compulsion to do so.

Reichardt: Work that’s open like yours requires a kind of innate creativity. It really has to be made up. I always begin thinking that I want to work in a different form. It’s going to be more montage or have an essay element or something, and I always end back in these well-worn footprints, working in genre and stuff. I find the open much more difficult. But when I’m teaching, I’m always presenting it as “Look, this is an opportunity. You can do this.” And only yesterday, when I was having that conversation with one of my students, [she said] “If we want to, we can do it exactly like it’s already been done, right?” And I knew what she meant. I’m like, “Well, that’s an option, too.”

Maddin: Well, because they’re undergrads. They’re at that age where all they want to do is copy in many cases. And copying’s got its place.

Reichardt: Yeah, I kind of encourage it. I’m always having them redo scenes. This semester, one class is remaking The Honeymoon Killers, and the other class is working on scenes from Topsy-Turvy, so they can start to think about where they want to put the camera in filmmaking without having to be writers at the moment.

Maddin: I teach, too, all over the place. I know you’ve been at Bard for 16 years or something like that, presumably with a year off here and there to make one of your many features.

Reichardt: I’ve worked it out so I work spring semester, so I can make films in the rest of the year.

Maddin: Good. 

Reichardt: What do you do when you’re teaching? Because you were at Harvard for a while, I remember.

Maddin: I was there for three years. There’s a three-year maximum on this position, where they have a non-academic visiting filmmaker come in and teach production. Gosh, some of my predecessors, they’re incredible. Michael Almereyda was one of them. I think he even left his email inbox open in my office when I went in. I quickly closed it without reading a single thing. Chantal Akerman had been there. Unbelievable. So, I was honored pink and felt good. I didn’t know how to teach production. I’d always taught film watching and film essay writing stuff. But Athina Tsangari, the Greek filmmaker, had taught the year before me. She gave me lots of help in shaping a class, and I basically just followed that. I even got her TA. 

But what I was going to say is, all of a sudden kids are required to conceive of a movie, write it; they’ve got to become screenwriters. Then it gets talked to death till all the personal edges are worn off around a table by all the students giving their feedback. They go out and shoot it, then their footage gets discussed to death. It’s sort of a miracle if a voice emerges. But often, one does anyway. I suspect it’s like writing. You either have a voice or you don’t. And some of the students seem to have voices, and I just encourage them to run with their voices. That’s all I did.

Reichardt: It was impressive how, even though some of them were huge messes, Kuchar seemed to just have shoots happening during his class, making films with the students. That would take a certain kind of energy. So, what are you doing right now?

Maddin: I took a couple of years off teaching at University of Toronto to gamble that I could get a couple of projects off the ground. And the gamble didn’t pay off immediately, but I’m still operating on a fingers-crossed basis, and things might happen. We’ll see.

Reichardt: How does it work there? Do you get support from the state or is it private?

Maddin: Yeah, it’s very aggressive, and there’s a really strong incentive to shoot in your own backyard. Canada has a state organization, Telefilm, that will supply 50 percent of the budget. And there’s a provincial one. I live in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and the Manitoba tax incentives are incredible. But then, you invariably have a gap of money that you can’t fill yourself, and the gap filling is actor driven. I’ve managed to escape having actors of renown in my movies, for the most part. Certain Women, you had the A-listers in there.

Reichardt: That’s the only way to make a film in the States. We were emailing about our love of Jim Broadbent and Mike Leigh films. I mean, Mike Leigh couldn’t exist in America. That process just couldn’t happen.

Maddin: Yeah, I know. And yet he’s created what I consider stars, firmament-worthy people that I would kill to work with—Jim Broadbent or any of these people.

Reichardt: I know. I got to work with [Topsy-Turvy co-star] Shirley Henderson on Meek’s Cutoff. It’s very hard to ever take the camera away from her. But yeah, his way with actors—I admire the community of it and the amount of time they spend together. We’ve never really rehearsed. I get the actors right before they’re jumping in. We might send them off on a project or to go camping. But I also find rehearsal kind of terrifying. There’s something comforting about going through the scenes for the first time when the accoutrements are around you and you’re in the space and they’re in the clothes. It’s just such a different approach. What happens in your films?

Maddin: When I first started out, I was just grateful to have someone show up to be in my pictures. So, I would start rolling and direct them while the camera was rolling. Then, I started telling myself, “No, I’ve got to be more like other directors. I’ve got to have a big table read. I’ve got to have rehearsals.” I remember booking a studio for a week before [production] on one of my early pictures, I think for Careful, in 1991. I had all the actors gather around in their civilian clothing in a large, fluorescent-lit boardroom. And there was just nothing there that I wanted to see or hear. I felt maybe someday I could do rehearsals, but they’d actually have to be on the sets and in the costumes, and you might as well be shooting at that point in case they fluke off something great that you’ll never be able to recapture. And besides, if you’re shooting an actors’ union shoot, you can’t afford the rehearsal time half the time. it’s not in the budget.

Reichardt: That’s how it is for us. In Showing Up, Michelle was practicing with the clay for six months before we shot [and training with sculptor Cynthia Lahti], and Hong was working with Michelle Segre, the other artist in the film. So, they were working with the artists, doing that kind of work, and they had to learn some things about animals, also. Usually, animal learning, an activity that’s not based around dialogue. brings people together. And that’s it.

Maddin: I watched the film, then I had to take my dog out for a walk. I found myself really feeling the film afterwards, its pace. Is the rhythm in the writing? Is it in the performance? Is it in the shooting? Is it in the mise-en-scene, because there’s always enough to keep your eye curious in the frames? After you’re about halfway into the movie, you realize you really are just clicking along beautifully on a train that’s going a certain speed. I was put in mind of Jacques Tati, of all people. Someone you’re probably not frequently compared to.

Reichardt: Wow. Yeah, no.

Maddin: But there’s something in how long he holds his shots in, say, Playtime. I think Jonathan Rosenbaum liked to describe Playtime as interactive. Now, all movies are interactive: It’s a binary experience, a screen and a human eye. But he gives you time to find the stuff in the frame that might interest or amuse you, And that’s what I found with your frames, that you’re offering things up. Characters, as you’ve put it in the past, just pass through this world for a short time, and you offer the viewers a chance to look at them. And it was a very pleasant feeling; there was delight in it, and even comedy. Every now and then, I found myself laughing out loud, and I don’t laugh out loud except at Three Stooges movies. It was right up there with Larry, Moe and Curly.

Reichardt: That’s very kind of you. I grew up watching those violent guys. That’s very nice to hear because the thing about editing my own films is, I very much have a rhythm to the point that I have to wonder: What would my films be like if someone else cut them, and am I missing out on something? I mean, I never want to give up the process, so I selfishly do it. But I wonder: In my first cuts of each film, my friend Todd Haynes will come in and look at a cut. If I went back and looked at my notebook of every film, the first notes will be like, “Break up the rhythm, break up the rhythm, break up the rhythm.” I hope that I’m learning when to let go of it or shake it up. But it seems to me that a film has such an absolute definitive rhythm that almost dictates where everything goes—which is whatever, my inner clock, you know? But it could be detrimental if it doesn’t break at any point. The most valuable notes in the cut are just like, “It’s too steady.” It’s a challenge with each movie, finding when those things are. I felt like I was coming into some new rhythms on this that weren’t so instinctual to me that I found really fun. But who knows?

Maddin: The lighting seems right. Just the casual, almost accidental way you first see a pigeon in your movie. You go, “Ah, a pigeon wandered into the shot.” And you can only partially see it. It’s so beautiful.

Reichardt: I’ve been working with Christopher Blauvelt, the cinematographer, since Meek’s Cutoff, and it’s been one of the biggest joys of life, honestly. Finding the right cameraperson for me—I was going to give up, honestly. A great collaboration is really one of life’s biggest joys, isn’t it? I’ve had that with my writing friend Jon Raymond and with Blauvelt. He’s always trying to say “let’s have a second camera,” and I’m [always saying] “no, no, no,” because I have such a one-track mind. I’ve already locked myself in to where I want the cut to be when I’m shooting—

Maddin: You don’t want to clutter things.

Reichardt: My brain doesn’t know how to work with two things going on at once. But in Showing Up, we did use a second—never in the same scene, more like a B camera getting stuff. I’ve never done a scene with two, unless it was like, you know, the wagons going down the mountain [in Meek’s Cutoff] and we don’t want to miss it, but I don’t think I’ve done like a dramatic scene with two. I feel in your films this openness that has a joy to it even when the subject is dark. I guess the grass is always greener. I’m like, “How do we get to that?”

Maddin: Yeah, I remember the first time I met you, you were instantly talking about how you’d wished you were operating in a different way somehow. You’re always wishing for that. I kind of love it.

Reichardt: Yeah, [when I start to] make a film, for a while I always think, “Wow, I’m really on a new track.” And then, not long in, I’m like, “Ah, here I am again. Damn.”

Maddin: It’s a pretty good place to be. You make masterpieces.

Reichardt: It’s funny what you enjoy watching versus what you make. Not to drag you back, because it’s been quite some time, but My Winnipeg is such a big part of my world. I love it as a film, but I’m a horrible sleeper, and sometimes I listen to My Winnipeg as a radio program. I bet I can recite that film. I mean, talk about a rhythm. It has a great rhythm and completely works as a film, but [also] completely as radio, just as an audio experience. Is sound design coming before picture or with picture in that case?

Maddin: It’s the only film of mine that might have a very specific rhythm like that. I had sort of a script for it. I thought, “I’ll never make a documentary or an essay film. It will require too much research. Maybe I can trick the system by writing it out like a fiction script, then make an essay film or documentary about my hometown.” But the script didn’t involve any of the narration. It involved the episodes that I shot. I was able to storyboard some of those or just go in and shoot them. Then, when it came time to edit this thing together, I was faced with the daunting task of writing a 75-minute voiceover narration and became paralyzed. So, I booked a recording studio for 21 days in a row or something like that, and I would only go in for 15 minutes a day. I went in and promised myself that I would never stop talking—and those who know me would find that a pretty easy promise to keep. I would improvise the narration, then keep the best stuff, and we worked our way through the story this way, just me and a recording engineer. 

The very first thing I could think to say was, “Winnipeg.” Then, I promised myself not to stop talking, so I said it again: “Winnipeg, Winnipeg.” So, the first three words of the movie are “Winnipeg, Winnipeg, Winnipeg.” And I thought, “I can’t do this all day.” So, I said, “Snowy, sleepwalking.” Then, I thought, “OK, that’s enough for today.” I tried it a few more times and got into a rhythm. And it was very comfy in that recording studio. You’re surrounded with foam rubber, egg crate-like stuff. You can hear the moist whispers of your recording engineer in your head. And I decided, “I’m going to try to hypnotize my recording engineer, or maybe even put him to sleep.” Then, my editor assembled the audio first, like a radio play. We called it “The radio play cut.” So, it’s really interesting that you likened it to a radio show because it just existed for a while as a radio show. There were a bunch of images missing from what I was saying, so I went back and shot for a couple of more days. I even flew back to Los Angeles, where Ann Savage, the B movie femme fatale who played my mom, lived, and went to her house and shot a few more shots. And I had a train compartment set built and shot a little bit of stuff to fill in the cracks. I did all the research I needed to do in my heart and in my unreliable memory, then it took on the meters of a radio play set in a train. I don’t know. Very strange.

Reichardt: And when they did that cut, did they put sound effects in it, or was it just the voice?

Maddin: Just the voice. The music was added later, like most movies that have music. You didn’t have any non-diegetic music in the movie.

Reichardt: I did in this one a little bit, yeah. Because everything had such a ’70s vibe to it, the way kids dress today does, [and] the place we shot—this old school, the Oregon College of Arts and Crafts, which had just become defunct, as many art schools have. Because of COVID, the reshaping of the buildings got halted. So, I tried to counter that with a composer, Ethan Rose, who works digitally, to try to bring in some of those sounds. Then, the music supervisor, Dawn Sutter [Madell], turned me on to a ton of new music that I would never have come into on my own. That was hopefully helping to make sure it was a contemporary film.

Maddin: Forgive me for remembering it as not having a score because it just feels like you’re just in the situation somehow, without any phony help.

Reichardt: Well, it’s mostly over the credits in the beginning, and then André [Benjamin, who plays a fellow instructor in the film as well as contributing flute solos].

Maddin: Of course, the flute of André, yeah.

Reichardt: Yeah, I used André’s flute to cut at the end, which was really nice.

Maddin: And there’s a bit of diegetic flute in the middle of the movie somewhere off screen. You can tell there’s some movement class with flute just out of sight. I love the way you feel the wordless evaluation of the art that’s going on in there. You’re not led to believe the art is great or bad or not bad for art school. You just get to make up your own mind. You have these isolated close-ups of Lizzy’s works in progress, but they’re ambiguous in a way. You’re not exactly sure what’s going on. I’ve got a very hair-trigger dread mechanism, so I felt a lot of dread. Maybe I was picking it up from Michelle Williams’s performance, just in her body language. But a hilarious dread, somehow. I love it when I’m made uncomfortable. And what a great gag to set everything in motion when the maimed pigeon is found. Lizzy gets rid of it, like anyone would, and she ends up back with it within seconds. It’s almost like a Preston Sturges gag as directed by Kelly Reichardt. 

Reichardt: Yeah, Jonathan Raymond wrote that. It was fun to do. It is funny, that life imitating art and vice versa. I’m in New York right now, but in Portland this past fall, I was in my apartment and hearing this little “wah, wah, wah” going on through the wall all day long. And the next morning at six a.m., I woke up to it again, and I heard the door unlock. And I don’t know my neighbor at all—we’ve said hello over the years, but we’ve never even introduced ourselves. So, I got out of bed and ran out. My neighbor was standing in front of my door, contemplating maybe knocking at six in the morning. I said, “Did you get a puppy?” And she said, “Yeah.” I said, “Are you getting ready to go to work and leave that puppy alone all day?” And she’s like, “I have to go to work. My door’s unlocked if you want to say hello to it.”

Maddin: Hello to it for eight hours.

Reichardt: Yeah. So, she left and I went into her apartment, and there was this little three-pound fluff ball of a puppy barking in a cage. I picked her up, and she immediately just stopped barking. I brought her next door. What was I going to do? I brought her to my apartment and wrote with her on my lap for the next two months and fell in love with her, of course. But I was just like, “How did this happen just now?”

Maddin: After you wrapped. Unbelievable.

Reichardt: Friends are telling me to get a dog constantly, and I’m like, “I just don’t know if I could do it again. I’m never getting a puppy.” Then suddenly, I have a puppy. This is not even my puppy? So, this began this relationship with this neighbor, where I suddenly know everything she’s doing and she knows everything I’m doing because we’re timing out where the puppy’s going to be, and we’re having this constant conversation about where the puppy shat all day, you know?

Maddin: Yeah, I know. I share my dog with another family, and we spend all our time talking about bowel movements. Maybe that’s the best way to have a dog, where you share it. 

Reichardt: It really is. A shared dog is pretty good. What have you got there, dogwise? Do you have a bulldog?

Maddin: Sleeping right there. A French bulldog. Her name is Aunt Lil. 

Reichardt: Oh my gosh. She’s almost starving to death.

Maddin: She looks like a French bulldog piñata.

Reichardt: The building I’m staying in in New York is all French bulldogs. The dog walker comes and collects all the dogs in the building, and he walks out of the building with, like, eight French bulldogs.

Maddin: Yeah, they have really kind and loving hearts and breathing issues. I spend all my time worrying. I just listen to her every breath and wonder if she’s OK. But I think I’m getting in touch with my guilt and dread and worrisome side, the stuff that started me on my filmmaking career in the first place, so maybe I’ll have a big second wind thanks to my constant helicoptering over this Frenchie.

Reichardt: Yeah, I mean, Lucy, my old dog, kind of directed 14 years of filmmaking. OK, I’m going to bring it all together, Guy, right now.

Maddin: OK.

Reichardt: I was in Mast Books on Avenue A, sitting on the floor, and there was a book on Kuchar’s writing that I couldn’t really afford, but I should’ve bought anyway. And I was reading about when his dog died and the woman behind the counter said, “Excuse me, are you a filmmaker?” I thought, “Ah well, I’m caught.” And I turned around, and you were standing at the counter, and she was talking to you. She said, “I’m a big fan.” And I was like, “Ah yes. Hey, it’s Guy Maddin.” So, there. I’ve tied you and Kuchar and myself together in the Lower East Side.

Maddin: Crazy. You and Kuchar remind me of each other, too. He arrives at the truth through the mundane—people eating, people just doing things. 

Reichardt: Why are his films so sad to me? They’re so funny and so sad?

Maddin: For the longest time I preferred his films to his videos, but his videos are kind of miraculous, especially those edited-in-camera ones.

Reichardt: I need to get back to those. I saw those many years ago, and I haven’t seen any of them since. What do you have?

Maddin: Some stuff from various dubious sources, I guess, and I cherish it. Some of the really early twin brother work [made with his sibling Mike]. Lust for Ecstasy is one of my favorite movies. A great title, and it’s just pure cinema. It’s just action. There isn’t any dialogue in it or anything.

Reichardt: You know those guys?

Maddin: I knew George a bit. He would come out to a movie of mine if it was playing in San Francisco, and he came to Winnipeg for a week once and taught a workshop, and we hung out a bit. He even made a movie about me, which I haven’t had the nerve to watch. We went out for lunch, and he was videotaping me talking and eating, and I’m sure he went in for some great, grotesque close-ups of me chewing. Then he disappeared into the bathroom for a while. And I thought, through the magic of editing, he would cut the contents of my bowels into that toilet shot he was invariably shooting in the bathroom. I just don’t like watching myself. I’m saving it for when I’m much older and am amazed that I actually had some dark hair. It’s my retirement nest egg. 

Reichardt: You have it?

Maddin: Oh yeah. I just haven’t watched it yet. He made this the year before he died, so 2010. And he taught, too, of course, like you and I do. I enjoy teaching. I don’t know about you?

Reichardt: I do. It’s like anything if you find the right place, and Bard has been a really great place for me, and I’ve had really wonderful colleagues there. When I’m up there, I stay up there one night a week in a boarding house that’s become the place that I’m very attached to, [as well as] the owners of it. It’s just the train tracks separating the house from the Hudson. The train, it’s almost like it’s going to slam into your bedroom. I like my routine there. I take the train up and stay up there one night a week.

Maddin: So your class is once a week?

Reichardt: Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Maddin: It’s important that I keep teaching. Not only do I like it, but it’s what I do to support myself. 

Reichardt: Me, too.

Maddin: And I’m a little worried because now I’m retirement age, but I can’t retire. Luckily, I like doing it, but I’m only 66. When I’m 70, people are not going to keep hiring 70-year-olds to teach.

Reichardt: God, I hope so, though. I enjoy it, but it’s also my health insurance and how I can manage to make films on the scale that I’m making them. I mean, I do have well-known actors in my films, but I think people would be surprised at the budgets we’re working on. I’m grateful for the budgets, but still, I need the teaching. And it’s a refresh, you know? For one thing, now I’m living in Portland, so it brings me back to New York. But I don’t know. I just wouldn’t really know what 20-year-olds are thinking or what they’re like if I didn’t teach. I’d be completely disconnected from that besides a few friends’ kids. So, I like the energy of it, and I like to take movies apart and watch them try to redo stuff. Also, they can fix anything you can’t because they’re so not overwhelmed by technology.

Maddin: Right. They’ve been editing since they were six on their phones. I would need to do both, still. I like to keep in touch with multiple generations. But then, I feel I have to keep making films to have any credibility as an instructor. So, I have to just keep doing that.

Reichardt: You have to keep making films for us, for everybody.

Maddin: For the benefit of the world, that’s right.

Reichardt: That is right.

Maddin: I liked the sculptures in your movie.

Reichardt: Yeah, they’re great. That artist is named Cynthia Lahti. [She] and Jonathan Raymond go way back. I’ve been going to look at her work for 15, 20 years now, but I’d never gotten so entangled with her. The script came about with her in mind. Hilariously, when we very first started out on this project, we were going to make a biopic about Emily Carr and the 10 years where she took up landlording in hopes it would free up her time to be able to make more paintings. But in fact, her life revolved around all her tenants and less painting. So, that was our intention, and we thought Emily Carr was this incredibly obscure painter, as she is in America. And then, we got to Canada and realized that—

Maddin: Everything is named after her.

Reichardt: Yeah, there are statues everywhere. We stayed in the Emily Carr Hotel, then we went to the Emily Carr this and the Emily Carr that.

Maddin: My sister lives on Emily Carr Drive.

Reichardt: I knew we were in trouble when the passport guy asked us what we were doing, and we said, “We’re coming to research a painter named Emily Carr.” And he goes, “Oh yeah. We learned about her.” That took the wind out of our sails, that she was so famous. We did ultimately have Cynthia Lahti’s sculptures in mind when writing the script [for Showing Up].

Maddin: I know we’re probably running out of time. We never did get to talk about Jim Broadbent’s sculptures, which are really amazing.

Reichardt: Aren’t they great?

Maddin: Yeah, let’s talk about them briefly.

Reichardt: Previous to First Cow, I had been in England trying to make a film with a writer friend of mine, Patrick DeWitt. Broadbent was going to be in the movie, which was a dream come true, but I could never get it together. The budget was too big for what I could get. But I got to meet with him once, and he showed me these sculptures he works on. Then recently, out of the blue, he wrote me and sent me a link. There were so many of them, and they’re so great. 

Maddin: You can always tell they’re made by Jim Broadbent, you know? They’re extensions of himself, somehow.

Reichardt: Completely. It’s the way the clothes hang on them and his posture, which took me back to A Sense of History. Incredible film, right? 

Maddin: And it’s online. Everyone should watch A Sense of History. It’s directed by Mike Leigh but written by and starring Broadbent. He looks like one of his sculptures in it. That facial hair that’s coming out of his cheek, at first I thought it was a VHS artifact or something like that, but no. About halfway through the 25-minute movie, you realize it’s sprouts of hair coming in off his cheek. They’re just British aristocratic hair sprouts. Really hilarious. Maybe just a reminder, in addition to A Sense of History, for everyone to rewatch Kuchar’s Hold Me While I’m Naked, one of the great movies about creating. 

Reichardt: Here’s a good double feature for process and making things: Hold Me While I’m Naked and Topsy-Turvy.

Maddin: Let’s end with that selfless recommendation.

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