Eliza Hittman explores male sexuality in ‘Beach Rats’

“I’m not aspiring to explain the psychology of the character to the audience,” says Eliza Hittman of her style as writer-director. “That’s not my job. In a way, I’m more interested in exploring the complexity and contradictions in our behaviour. And the audience can think about why. I’m not trying to answer those questions.”

We’re on the phone to the New York-based filmmaker about her sophomore feature, Beach Rats, for which she picked up a directing award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Hittman’s intimate 2013 debut, It Felt Like Love, made some waves on the festival circuit, but Beach Rats has already picked up the kind of acclaim, and subsequent international distribution deals, that one hopes will lead to more consistent opportunities for the rising talent, who also currently works as a film professor…

Full interview for The Skinny


‘The Square’ star Claes Bang on Ruben Östlund’s intensity, winning the Palme d’Or, and condom fights

A late addition to this year’s Cannes competition, Swedish director Ruben Östlund’s satirical drama The Square ended up a surprise winner of the Palme d’Or. The follow-up to his well-received Force Majeure, the film’s cast includes Elisabeth Moss, Dominic West and Terry Notary, best known for his motion capture work in Kong: Skull Island and the recent Planet of the Apes films.

The main star of The Square, though, is Danish actor Claes Bang, who plays Christian, the respected curator of a contemporary art museum. His next exhibition is “The Square”, an installation that invites visitors to remember their role as responsible human beings, inviting them to be altruistic (“The Square is a sanctuary of trust and caring, within it we all share equal rights and obligations”). Despite the thesis of his show, and his public commitment to good causes, Christian finds it difficult to live up to those same ideals in his personal life. Following a misguided response to the theft of his phone, he’s dragged into a series of strange and shameful situations; some of which are brought on by him, others by outside forces like a PR agency creating a disastrous viral campaign for “The Square.”

While he was in London for the film’s UK premiere, I spoke to the charismatic and entertaining Bang about Ruben Östlund’s intense directionhow he thinks he’d react in a Force Majeure situation, the feeling of being part of a Palme d’Or winner, having to share a scene with an intimidating ape, and filming a particularly funny sex scene with Elisabeth Moss…

Full interview for The Film Stage