RogerEbert.com editor-in-chief Matt Zoller Seitz was kind enough to interview me about Raves and my career as a film critic. We talk about Revenge of the Sith, the Wiesbadener Kurier, and why I quit reviewing after twelve years.
It takes a certain confidence to not just have an opinion but also deem it worthy of broadcasting. You have to muster this authority to say, this is worthy, this isn’t. And yeah, I found that more and more difficult, especially with the negative reviews. My attitude started to change to, who’s to say? It’s not for me, but hey, if someone likes it, that’s fine with me.
And once that starts happening, you’re probably finished as a critic.
Read the interview at RogerEbert.com.
Christopher Allen (Conversations with S. Teri O’Type) interviewed me for I Must Be Off! about being an expat, the speculative elements of Kino, white slavery, cyanide, and my time at Mississippi College. You can read the interview here.
Christopher also reviewed Kino for the Fictionaut blog. From the review:
Kino is, however, much more than an action-packed mystery page-turner. At its core, Kino is a complex family drama, a story of how the excesses—the sins?—of one generation poison those to come.
Read Christopher’s review.
Amber Lee interviewed me for the online literary magazine Necessary Fiction. I talked about what I learned from teaching, my experience of launching Der Brennende Busch, one of the first German web magazines, and the power of the movies:
Right after the Aurora shooting this summer, there was a flurry of articles online, mainly by film critics, assuring everyone that the Batman movie playing in that theater couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the killer’s motives. And I thought that was remarkable. If we knew that for sure, wouldn’t that mean that the movies were essentially powerless, that they could never have any influence on the world whatsoever?
Read the entire interview at Necessary Fiction.
Jordan Hoffman interviewed Jürgen at Badass Digest — “talking about all the things movie lovers love.”
You present the German studio Ufa as a drug-fueled carnival of innovation. How much of that is for real?
Some of it, maybe even most of it. When you read the histories, it really does sound like all of Weimar-era Berlin was a drug-fueled carnival of innovation (love that phrase.) After Germany lost World War I and the Kaiser was gone, the old ways were disappearing fast. The hyperinflation in 1923/24 got rid of lots of pre-war morals – apparently, cocaine was everywhere, and families pimped out their daughters to survive. After that, things never returned to normal. And I don’t know if it was a result of that, but the era truly had an amazing flowering of the arts, including film: Murnau, Dietrich, Brecht, Reinhardt, Klee, Gropius, Lubitsch, Dix, Weill, you know the names. As far as Fritz Lang goes, I’ve read that he was open to experimenting with whatever drugs were going around. My imagination did the rest.
Read the interview.
Gary Percesepe conducted an in-depth interview with Jürgen for literary site The Nervous Breakdown. Topics discussed include Hildegard Knef, truthiness in fiction, that guy in Sideways, perfection, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Godard vs. Truffaut, Occupy Hollywood, Paul Tillich, Citizen Kane, James Salter, athletes who train at high altitudes, and Aguirre, the Wrath of God.
Read the interview with Gary Percesepe at The Nervous Breakdown.
With a name like BookSexyReview, you could be excused for expecting talk about depravity and perversion in Weimar Berlin; instead, Tara Olmsted and Jürgen talked about ordinary people during the Holocaust, research for Kino, and the novel’s evolving structure.
It was a back and forth process — at first I just wrote, but as the story got more involved, I had to stop myself and attempt drafting something like an outline. I came up with a general shape for the story and a few central elements, without really knowing how it would end — it was more like a general roadmap, and it kept on changing as I filled it in.
Read the entire interview at BookSexyReview.