Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Michael Moore Says Clint Eastwood Threatened To "Kill" Him 10 Years Ago, Calls 'American Sniper' A "Mess" Michael Moore Says Clint Eastwood Threatened To "Kill" Him 10 Years Ago, Calls 'American Sniper' A "Mess" Woody Allen’s Next Movie With Joaquin Phoenix & Emma Stone Titled ‘Irrational Man,’  Sony Pictures Classics Nab Rights Woody Allen’s Next Movie With Joaquin Phoenix & Emma Stone Titled ‘Irrational Man,’ Sony Pictures Classics Nab Rights Paul Thomas Anderson Says 'Edge Of Tomorrow' Is "F*cking Great," Also Loves 'Grand Budapest Hotel'  Paul Thomas Anderson Says 'Edge Of Tomorrow' Is "F*cking Great," Also Loves 'Grand Budapest Hotel' 10 Unaired TV Pilots By A-List Directors That We Want To See 10 Unaired TV Pilots By A-List Directors That We Want To See The 10 Best Films Of 2007 The 10 Best Films Of 2007 'Kick-Ass' Creator Mark Millar Says A Hit-Girl Solo Movie Was Once In The Works With 'The Raid' Director Gareth Evans 'Kick-Ass' Creator Mark Millar Says A Hit-Girl Solo Movie Was Once In The Works With 'The Raid' Director Gareth Evans Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon & Leslie Jones To Lead Paul Feig's 'Ghostbusters' Reboot Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon & Leslie Jones To Lead Paul Feig's 'Ghostbusters' Reboot 30 Films You Forgot Were Oscar Winners 30 Films You Forgot Were Oscar Winners Watch: Tom Hardy & Gary Oldman Face Off In The First Trailer For Thriller ‘Child 44’ Watch: Tom Hardy & Gary Oldman Face Off In The First Trailer For Thriller ‘Child 44’ Review: Documentary 'Night Will Fall' Is A Powerful Reminder Of The Horrors Of The Holocaust Review: Documentary 'Night Will Fall' Is A Powerful Reminder Of The Horrors Of The Holocaust Harvey Weinstein Explains What Happened With 'Grace Of Monaco,' Says He Was Right About 'Snowpiercer' Harvey Weinstein Explains What Happened With 'Grace Of Monaco,' Says He Was Right About 'Snowpiercer' Harvey Weinstein Says Quentin Tarantino Has Changed The Last Chapter Of 'The Hateful Eight' Harvey Weinstein Says Quentin Tarantino Has Changed The Last Chapter Of 'The Hateful Eight' Sundance Review: ‘Slow West’ Starring Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee & Ben Mendelsohn Sundance Review: ‘Slow West’ Starring Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee & Ben Mendelsohn Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki Christopher Nolan Says His Howard Hughes Film Is Dead, But He'd Still Like To Do A Bond Film At Some Point Christopher Nolan Says His Howard Hughes Film Is Dead, But He'd Still Like To Do A Bond Film At Some Point

BAMcinemaFest: Craig Zobel Talks Conversation-Starting True-Crime Tale 'Compliance'

Photo of Cory Everett By Cory Everett | @modage June 28, 2012 at 2:45PM

As many festivalgoers know, attending a film festival can be both an exhausting and rewarding experience. Fortunately for those NYC-ers who don’t have the stamina to attend Sundance, Cannes or SXSW, BAM has culled some of the best of those lineups and selected a few dozen favorites, which are now playing during BAMcinemaFest. One of the films that we caught at Sundance that hasn’t eased it grip is Craig Zobel’s “Compliance.”
0

Craig Zobel Q&A
I know it got a very divided reaction at Sundance and seemed to get a warmer reception when I caught it at SXSW. Have you noticed audiences kind of responding differently as far as different screenings at different festivals?
I have, to a degree. It’s funny, the Sundance publicized reaction, I have never had except for that time. That’s the only time that experience happened. The majority was because no one knew what the movie was at all. It’s interesting to see different groups of people. The most amazing screening of the film was the Sarasota Film Festival. It was almost entirely an older-skewing crowd and I thought that would be a bad thing honestly, but it was the best. They were like, "That movie made me incredibly uncomfortable but I think it’s really interesting." I could talk with people for like an hour and a half about it afterwards. I do feel like it’s the coolest kind of movie to screen with a Q&A if you can. People want to talk about it. People want to talk. And they want to talk to each other.

The screening at SXSW was really cool in that it was smaller, with a theater with only forty people in it. Almost everyone stayed, only eight or ten people left and they were just talking to each other at some points like people were saying you should read about these [cases]. People were talking about the movie without me really doing anything. It was kinda amazing. And that is the best I could have ever hoped for with this movie, that [a screening like] that happened. It’s easy and it’s fun in the press to talk about the divided reaction, and I think it is obviously a challenging movie in certain ways, so I’m not disagreeing. People have strong opinions about it. Often though, they want to talk about it.

Do you have an expectation on how you think audiences will react? Another writer for the site saw a press screening last week and said that some people were laughing.
I think the laughing sometimes has to do with feeling uncomfortable. I mean when you are uncomfortable, you laugh. I do think that there is some sort of laughter to be higher than it. That happens too. It’s not something I thought was gonna happen. I guess I understand kind of why but it was something I didn’t think was going to happen. I had no idea of how it would be received to be honest so I had no expectation. In a way this was like a thesis. This is me asking a question of, "Is this something that you can recognize as not just this particular set of weird people but is part of a bigger [aspect of human behavior]?" That was my only question. I made the movie to have that conversation, to spark further discussion. The only thing that’s been outside of what I expected [were audiences] -- like at that Sundance screening -- who have a negative reaction to the film and didn't wanna have a conversation about it. They just wanted to tell me why it was bad and then leave. That was the only thing that was disappointing.

Why do you think that these sorts of incidents happened repeatedly over such a long span of time?
I’m completely conjecturing here but I am imagining whoever these people are, that they did not feel fully like they had full agency in their real life. And they could have this real power when calling people on the telephone, and in some sick way it helped their self-esteem. I think that is what was going on, on the side of the callers, is someone exploiting a chink in our humanity. I just read a Vanity Fair story on a guy who pretended to be a Rockefeller for years, and people just wanted to be around the Rockefeller. It’s a person finding and exploiting something that somehow we all kind of know, and exploiting it to a negative end.

This article is related to: Craig Zobel, Compliance, BAMcinematek, BAMcinemaFest, Interviews


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates