Movie Playlist: Nanette Burstein

Welcome to another edition of Movie Playlist, where we talk to the writers, directors, and stars about their favorite films. I’ve always found the celebrity playlists on iTunes to be interesting. Most everyone in the film business moved to Hollywood after discovering their love of films. And I’ve always love talking to people about their favorite films. So talking to the people who make the movies about their favorite films just seemed like a natural idea.

Nanette Burstein is the Academy Award nominated documentary filmmaker behind On The Ropes and The Kid Stays in the Picture. Her latest film American Teen follows five high school students through their senior year. I hate to oversell the movie, but it’s literally one of my favorite films of the year.

Nanette Burstein: There are certain directors whose films, I could just watch them endlessly. Alexander Paine, I’m a huge fan of.

Peter Sciretta: You know, I saw a lot of like Election in American Teen…

Nanette Burstein: Yes, Election definitely influenced this film… Like the shots of the kids when you hear their voiceovers and they’re on the bed, I totally took that from Election. There was the night before election where there’s all these dolly shots into all the main characters and their thoughts and like they’re all crane…

Peter Sciretta: It was like those crane shots.

Nanette Burstein: Yeah, those shots are amazing, and that’s what inspired me to do that.

Nanette Burstein: There’s definitely different homages in this film, like Garden State which I love there’s this scene when Hannah goes to the party and she’s alienated and the way I cut that scene was completely influenced by that scene in Garden State where he’s alienated at the party.

Nanette Burstein: Paul Thomas Anderson is another director whose movies, I’ve seen Magnolia 20 million times, They also happen to be playing on pay cable all the time at one point when There Will Be Blood was out in theaters. Magnolia is just this ensemble film that’s even though it’s flawed in some ways, it’s so experimental and it’s so poignant and it’s so complex the way it can juggle all these characters and the direction is both the music and the camera work is so compelling to me, I never get bored by it and I don’t know I just thought it was a really daring film that he was able to pull off, but I also like all his movies a lot. I loved There Will Be Blood and then I’m a huge fan of the Coen Brothers.

Peter Sciretta: All of their stuff?

Nanette Burstein: I’ve seen – I’ve seen the Big Lebowski like, I don’t know 20 times, and I love Blood Simple and I love Fargo and I love Raising Arizona and their last one No Country for Old Men. They’re just incredible story tellers, you know, and they do these homages to genre pictures but they completely turn them upside down and so they don’t really exist in a reality. They exist in their own reality which is even more interesting and both their – it’s hard to find directors that are great story tellers and also great visual directors and they are so unique about the way they can do both of those, so there’s just always so much to learn from them, I’m always amazed and so impressed.

Nanette Burstein: And then all, there’s just so many great movies from the 70′s I mean dong the Bob Evans documentary I just watched all the, you know, like Chinatown and Rosemary’s Baby and Godfather and all these great films a million times in making that movie.

Peter Sciretta: What’s your favorite film of like that era?

Nanette Burstein: Harold and Maude is one of my favorites…

Peter Sciretta: That comes up more than any other movie…

Nanette Burstein: Really? It’s such a great film, it’s so perfect. And to pull that off to have like a poignant believable black comedy film about a young guy dating a grandmother or not a grandmother but an elderly woman is pretty amazing and then the Graduate is another favorite of mine from that era.

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