Throughout her four-decade career as a writer and director, Susan Seidelman has told complex stories about unconventional women striving to express themselves and maintain their autonomy. Her genre-melding films fuse a passion for the pleasures of Hollywood spectacle with a playful punk ethos informed by the years she lived in downtown Manhattan in the midseventies.
Like many of the heroines she has created, Seidelman left suburban life for the allure of the bohemian city. After high school, she enrolled in the film department at New York University, where she directed two short films that prepared her for making her debut feature, Smithereens (1982). A lo-fi blueprint for her subsequent portraits of women reinventing themselves, this gritty and glamorous 16 mm snapshot of a bygone era of New York life became the first independent American film to compete for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Its success placed Seidelman in the Hollywood spotlight and set her up for her next film, Desperately Seeking Susan (1985), a madcap New York odyssey that revolves around mistaken identity, starring a pre–Like a Virgin Madonna alongside Rosanna Arquette in her first leading role.
Wild Combinations: A Conversation with Matt Wolf
Combining a passion for preservation with a desire for experimentation, the documentary filmmaker creates portraits of visionary outsiders in a style guided less by narrative than by emotion.
Curator Jonathan Ali on the Cutting Edge of Caribbean Cinema
The programmer of Third Horizon, a series now playing on the Criterion Channel, discusses the challenges of cinematic representation and the need to think beyond its limits.
Through a Screen Darkly: A Conversation with Micaela Durand and Daniel Chew
In the work of this New York–based filmmaking duo, the internet is an omnipresent force in everyday life, warping our perceptions and desires.
Meaning in the Method: A Conversation with Ellen Burstyn
The award-winning actor talks about training with Lee Strasberg, her involvement in the Actors Studio, and her on- and off-screen contributions to two of her most important films.
You have no items in your shopping cart