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Karyn Kusama Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (2)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Personal Quotes (9)

Overview (2)

Born in Brooklyn, New York, USA
Birth NameKaryn K. Kusama

Mini Bio (1)

Karyn Kusama was born on March 21, 1968 in Brooklyn, New York, USA as Karyn K. Kusama. She is a director and producer, known for The Invitation (2015), Girlfight (2000) and Æon Flux (2005).

Personal Quotes (9)

The problem with music videos is that first and foremost you're working in an environment where you're selling a product, ultimately. And I think that gets problematic because, with my brief experience in the studio system, it's so important to insulate yourself from those concerns. And if you know from the beginning that you can't insulate yourself, it infects you.
I don't think I'm ever going to work on a movie again where I don't have final cut. I've realized I'm a strong-minded director with a very clear sense of what I want to do, and I just want to be left alone to do it and I'm not sure the studios are necessarily the most instructive places for filmmakers to be, except to maybe to learn about the hard realities of commerce and art intermingling.
I found myself initially making sort of personal documentaries. I became very interested in the idea of experimental narrative. Documentary was really helpful to me at the time to understand the mechanics of storytelling. And I still find a good documentary feels as gripping if not more so than a good narrative feature, because you're still crafting a story.
[film she re-watched more than any other] I revisit Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby (1968) at least every year. That film is endlessly watchable: funny, scary, and a sly feminist fable about the pitfalls of the patriarchy. I quote it back to the screen as if in a trance. [2016]
When I saw Michael Ritchie's Smile (1975), I was humbled by its craft and style (because he makes it look so easy) - but Ritchie's cinematic interests were my own. His affectionate portrait of young girls in a local beauty pageant is filled with interesting faces, almost-too-big performances (Bruce Dern! Barbara Feldon!), and a genuine sense of beauty. The film has a gentle humor, a sense of its own politics and a real love of his characters. I was so inspired by it and I continue to watch it for its many lessons. [2016]
I was just starting film school when I saw Jonathan Demme's Something Wild (1986). That film, with its easy humor and screwball set-up (hapless finance guy Jeff Daniels meets wild bohemian Melanie Griffith: nutty road trip ensues) does something so unexpected and shocking with its third act that I had to watch and re-watch it to figure out how we got there. We hadn't been tricked though -just lulled into a false sense of safety by the expectations we have of genres. When a young and completely electric Ray Liotta shows up (pre-Goodfellas (1990)!), we should have known we weren't watching a comedy anymore. [2016]
Warren Beatty's Reds (1981) was a film I literally saw in the theaters 15 times as a 13-year-old. I still watch that movie to feel the star power of Beatty, Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson; to see what brilliant ensemble casting looks and sounds like; to watch a masterful interweaving of actual historical figures interviewed alongside the actors who played them; and finally, to feel an epic love story made relatable and human. The scene at the train station still makes me gulp with surprise. [2016]
[film that always freaks her out] Elem Klimov's Come and See (1985), which is about a young boy who joins the Soviet resistance against the Nazis in WWII. If there is a film that more incisively depicts the horrors and brutal absurdities of war, I can't think it. It's a surreal nightmare with hallucinatory passages that give me the shivers just thinking about them. [2016]
I think Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) is one of the greatest art films of all time. [2016]

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