Zoe Kazan‘s accomplishments include films such as Me and Orson Welles, Fracture, and Revolutionary Road, as well as Ruby Sparks, which also marked her writing debut.
When asked about her Five Favorite Films, she said, “That is so hard. I feel like, to make a list of five favorite films, it would take twenty years.” This week, she stars alongside Daniel Radcliffe in What If, an indie dramedy about the instant chemistry between two people and the friendship that bonds them. But first, read on for Zoe Kazan’s Five Favorite Films.
Contempt would definitely be on there. I’ll start by pitching that one out. I just think Contempt is one of the most perfect movies ever made. Just the blend of dark comedy and tragedy and the acting in it; the way it’s shot, I mean everything about it. I think I saw that movie for the first time maybe at twenty-two? And it just had my mind blown. It felt like I had never seen anything remotely like that before.
I’m going to put Hitchcock’s Notorious on there — the Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant film — because I think that was one of the first films that I saw as a child where I felt like, “Ok, that’s my favorite movie.” I thought it was the most romantic movie I had ever seen. It’s impeccably written, impeccably constructed, and her performance in it, I think, is really peerless actually. She’s so simple and detailed. It’s a kind of perfect spy movie. I really love that genre and I think she’s incredible in it. I actually think she’s a really under-rated actress.
I’m going to put The Apartment on there. Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon. You know, Billy Wilder is just one of my favorite filmmakers ever. That movie is one that has grown with me. That’s another movie that I definitely saw as a child and have felt differently about as I’ve gotten older. Its really about two lonely people and it’s so sweet and so funny, and the score — I think it’s the Charles Williams orchestra that does the score on that. I’m not going to get that right, but the score is just so, so beautiful. I feel like I can just hear the refrain of that and cry. I think it’s really a perfect movie.
I’m going to go with Murmur of the Heart, the Louis Malle film. That’s one that I’ve seen in the last couple years that has become a new favorite. It’s about a little boy growing up and his love for his mother and the complication of being a child and becoming an adult and living in that liminal space. That movie really broke my heart and surprised me in just one hundred ways.
I think that film is just one of the funniest movies ever made. The writing is impeccable. I don’t even think any other comedy has come close to being that smart and original and meaningful and funny. Bill Murray is just insanely good in that part and doing the same thing over and over again, but making every [scene] new. Tracking his progress in that film as he becomes a better person, it’s such detailed work. And we don’t often acknowledge comedy acting in awards or other things. I really think his performance in that is completely brilliant — everything about it. Even down to the stupid song that they sing on that little green in the center of the movie and the Sonny & Cher song that plays every time his alarm clock goes off. Every touch to it is clever and poignant. I genuinely think I’ve seen that film more than any other movie. That movie’s high on my list.
What If opens in limited release this week.