Today’s episode of Someone Else’s Movie has been marinating on a hard drive for almost a year and a half. Nicole Dorsey and I recorded it at the Frequency studios barely a week after she brought her excellent first feature Black Conflux to TIFF 2019. The expectation was that I’d bank it until the movie’s theatrical opening in the spring. That … didn’t happen.
But Nicole picked Joyce Chopra’s Smooth Talk, and that unnerving 1985 adaptation of the Joyce Carol Oates short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” is joining the Criterion Collection this month, so this felt like the perfect time to release the episode — both to mark the occasion, and to put Black Conflux in my listeners’ heads now that it’s locking down a release plan for later this spring.
Modest warning: If you haven’t seen Smooth Talk, maybe don’t listen to this episode until you have. I don’t know that anything that happens in the film can be spoiled, exactly — the whole point of Oates’ story, and Chopra’s adaptation, is that certain things are simply unavoidable — but you should experience it with as little preparation as possible.
Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Stitcher and get the episode immediately, or download it directly from the web. And try not to get all melancholy for the days when you could sit down in an airtight room with a stranger and talk for an hour.
And then you can snap right back to the present day with the new episode of NOW What, which was recorded as a Zoom call between myself in Toronto and Fabienne Colas, founder of the Toronto Black Film Festival, at her home in Montreal. We discussed how the festival has responded to 2020 — both in terms of the pandemic, and the inequalities the pandemic has triggered — and what Fabienne herself is doing to change the game with the Being Black in Canada project. It’s a good conversation. I hope you like it.
And one more thing: The Toronto Film Critics Association announced its awards yesterday, and Nomadland came away the big winner, named Best Picture, Best Director for Chloe Zhao and Best Actress for Frances McDormand. I wrote it all up here, and it’s maybe worth pointing out that I’m happy with literally every decision. How often does that happen? Like, never.