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Listen: 90-Minute Talk With James Gray About ‘Nights Of Cabiria,’ His Film Career, And More

Listen: 90-Minute Talk With James Gray About 'Nights Of Cabiria,' His Film Career, And More

It’s been over two years since “The Immigrant” made its world premiere at Cannes, and writer/director James Gray is hard at work getting “The Lost City Of Z” ready to shoot later this year. Nevertheless, he managed to find the time to stop by film critic Peter Labuza’s podcast “The Cinephiliacs” for a candid hour-long chat. The conversation covers Gray’s career in film, but what’s perhaps most revealing is hearing the two talk in depth about Federico Fellini’s 1957 classic “Nights of Cabiria.”

READ MORE: James Gray Talks ‘The Immigrant,’ Diving Into TV With ‘Red Road,’ And His Own Favorite Films 

Having talked about the importance of storytelling early on in the episode, Gray singles out “Nights of Cabiria” for its astonishing simplicity and how it still manages to evoke “a vaguely operatic silent film feeling.” The director notes Fellini’s obvious affinity for the works of Charlie Chaplin, namely “City Lights,” and how Fellini primarily uses images to tell this particular story. But there’s more than just a great story in ‘Cabiria,’ with Gray also noting its remarkable subtext. The poverty of post-war Italy is always in the foreground, as well as Italy’s current political situation and yet,  Fellini’s film is really about empathy in the end. Like Gray says “you cannot do much more than make a work of art that says, ‘I’m going to show you what it’s like to walk in another man’s shoes.’”

It’s a pretty fascinating conversation: one can especially see how “Nights of Cabiria” may have been a big influence on “The Immigrant.”

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