Craig Zobel, Compliance, Museum of the Moving Image
Museum of the Moving Image has added a special preview screening to its schedule this month, with a personal appearance by writer-director Craig Zobel to discuss his controversial and compelling new film Compliance on August 10 at 7 p.m. Zobel is a rising star who is following up his remarkable directorial debut, Great Wall of Sound (2007), with this ripped-from-the-headlines thriller.
Widely debated and discussed ever since its premiere in this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Compliance follows Sandra, manager of a fast food joint, as she interrogates a teenage employee by the demand of a man on the phone who claims to be a police officer. Inspired by a bizarre series of true events spanning the last twenty years in over thirty states, Zobel’s story examines our complicity to authority figures even when it goes against our better judgment. With an eerie and precise resemblance to the surveillance footage of one such incident in 2004, Compliance is photographed more disturbingly than some of the most graphic horror films. The Hollywood Reporter says the intensity of Zobel’s new film is “likely to spur discussions about workplace safety, employee rights, and broader awareness of sexual predation.”
Sparking impassioned discussion on ethics and sexual exploitation, Compliance became a cause célèbre at film festivals nationwide this year. Zobel will appear for a preview screening and discussion on August 10.
Dir. Craig Zobel. 90 mins, 2012. With Ann Dowd, Dreama Walker, Pat Healy. Director Zobel's second feature film is a tense psychological thriller, based on actual events, that reveals unsettling truths about our capacity for blind obedience to authority in moments of duress. With outstanding realistic performances from Dreama Walker as a young fast food worker accused of stealing and Anna Dowd as her supervisor unsteadily caught between doing what she thinks is right, and what she’s being told to do, the film enraged and enthralled audiences at its Sundance premiere earlier this year. Variety called the film "taut, gripping, and deeply disturbing…from its expert performances and carefully researched material to its dead-on evocation of life behind the counter at an average Middle American burger joint, this is intelligent low-budget filmmaking that handles its risky subject matter with taste and discipline."