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November 10, 2006

Reeler Podcast: Steven Shainberg

The director of Fur discusses Arbus, Kidman and the art of breaking the biopic

As reported last week on The Reeler, there's been a lot of weirdness surrounding director Steven Shainberg's latest film Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus, which opens today in New York. There's lead actress Nicole Kidman absent at her own premiere, Robert Downey Jr. covered in hair, a combustible exchange or 10 between Shainberg and his critics, and God knows what else I'm missing. But set all of that aside for a second and just consider the film, which is actually a well-made little fairy tale about Arbus' transition from loyal housewife and her husband's photography assistant to being a internationally acclaimed photographer in her own right. It has its narrative flaws, agreed, but it also wields its titular imagination in wildly revealing and magnanimous ways, and should be considered on its own terms rather than those demanding a Behind-the-Musicesque concession to bloodless melodrama.

But enough of me: I asked Shainberg about where Fur came from, where he tried to take it and what he makes of the reaction it has received since its festival roll-out late last summer. It's an intriguing listen.

The Reeler Podcast: Steven Shainberg (15 MB)

Check back next week for a Reeler podcast double feature with Fast Food Nation director Richard Linklater and the ensemble behind Christopher Guest's latest, For Your Consideration. I have to take these headphones off for a while.

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