Cannes 2023 is here—and as news of standing ovations and walkouts, throwaway raves and pans, spit takes and hot takes flood the feed, we’ll be reporting on all the cinematic goings-on, with our on-the-Croisette crew of Film Comment contributors ready to cut through the noise with a series of thoughtful dispatches, interviews, and podcasts.

On today’s episode, FC co-deputy editor Devika Girish sat down with Oscar-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen, whose new documentary Occupied City was one of the early standouts at the festival. It’s a more than four-hour opus that combines a voiceover drawn from a book written by Bianca Stigter, McQueen’s collaborator and spouse, about the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam, with footage of the city shot by McQueen in the last three years. The result is a haunting superimposition of the past and the present that makes us think about the ways in which the spaces we occupy today are resonant with history. Devika talked to McQueen about the genesis of the film, the experience of making it during the pandemic, and why it feels so crucial to revisit history right now.  

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