The Film Comment Podcast: Todd Haynes on May December
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 is joined by Dennis Lim, artistic director of the New York Film Festival, for a special interview with filmmaker Todd Haynes about his fest hit, May December. Inspired by a real-life scandal from the 1990s, the film stars Julianne Moore as Gracie, an older woman who, a couple decades ago, was convicted of having an affair with a 13-year-old. Gracie and her younger lover now share a seemingly cozy married life that starts to fracture when an actress (Natalie Portman) arrives at their home to do research for a movie based on the affair. As she starts probing into the couple’s lives, she slowly pulls apart both their and her own façades. The tabloid-fodder source of the script becomes, in Haynes’s and the actors’ hands, a remarkably witty, dark, and intelligent meditation on the ways in which we construct and consume identity. Devika and Dennis talked to Haynes about his references for the movie, his thoughts on camp, the film’s use of the zoom lens, and much more.