Christine Smallwood’s new book on Chantal Akerman’s Proust adaptation, La Captive, is, among many things, a meditation on the act of criticism. Published as part of The Decadent Editions series from Fireflies Press, this slim, pocket-sized volume takes Akerman’s year-2000 film as a jumping-off point for an exploration of the great Belgian filmmaker’s monumental career and life, Marcel Proust’s autobiographical tendencies, and Smallwood’s own turbulent, pandemic-era homelife. Blending criticism, biography, and memoir, Smallwood beautifully shows how watching, reading, and writing are inextricable from lived experience.

On today’s Podcast, Film Comment Editors Devika Girish and Clinton Krute sat down with the writer to talk about her book, the role of memory in their watching and reading, their favorite Akerman films, and, of course, La Captive itself: a brilliant, ambiguous, and Vertigo-inflected interpretation of what might be the most disturbing volume of In Search of Lost Time.