James Gray

“If everybody loves it when they first see a painting, read the book, or watch a movie, there’s something wrong. It means that it went down too easy. You need a level of provocation for the work to simmer in the collective unconscious for a long time.

-James Gray, episode 302 of Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso

Today, director James Gray is back! We start by diving into the aftermath of Ad Astra (7:25), returning home to Queens with Armageddon Time (12:00) and the historical context of this new picture (15:18). After watching an early scene from the film (18:33), we discuss what the story reveals about race and class in America (20:35), his family’s personal experiences with those divisions (22:50), and the painful timeliness of Gray’s 8th film (25:39) as anti-semetic rhetoric continues to surge (29:51). 

We also wrestle with the economics of moviemaking today (31:37), lessons learned from his directorial debut, Little Odessa (33:22), and how the words of novelist Marcel Proust (36:03) and photographer Susan Sontag (38:14) shaped his most personal effort to date, Armageddon Time.

Original illustration by Krishna Shenoi.

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