Discussing her documentary Arthur Miller: Writer, filmmaker (and Arthur Miller’s daughter) Rebecca Miller admits, “Personal documentaries are very difficult. You have an enormous amount of power suddenly, in a situation where you didn’t, especially if the film is about a parent. And that’s something that’s difficult to reckon with. You can only tell the truth as you know it, and let the story guide you toward what it wants to be.” To read the full interview, click here.
One of the great playwrights of the 20th century, Arthur Miller created such celebrated works as Death of a Salesman and The Crucible. He also made headlines when targeted by the House Un-American Activities Committee at the height of the McCarthy Era and entering into a tumultuous marriage with Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe.
Told from the perspective of his daughter, Arthur Miller: Writer combines interviews spanning decades with personal archival material.
Featuring previously unseen material, including in-depth interviews, candid photographs, private letters and journal entries, and home movies, the documentary reveals the man behind the icon, delving into his childhood, his roots as an artist and the ways major events of the 20th century shaped his life on a personal and political level.
In addition to Rebecca Miller’s interviews with her father and his readings of selected passages from his autobiography, Timebends: A Life, Arthur Miller: Writer includes interviews with those who knew the writer best, among them his siblings, his children, his third wife, Inge Morath, playwright Tony Kushner and director Mike Nichols.
“One of most enriching elements was the Super 8 footage that he, or that my mother or his first wife, had shot,” she tells Sandra Ignagni. “It was wonderful being able to see from different lenses while also getting a real sense of the [historical] period through the footage. And although we do use interviews in the movie, I tend to not like seeing a bunch of famous people talk about someone. I definitely tried to move away from that as much as I could. If I could find information from his voice or from his autobiography, or from an image, I’d use that, rather than just watching somebody talk.”
“I also wanted to find a way to make a personal essay in which I was determinately a minor character. At times, I tried to take myself out of it completely, and that just seemed false. Everybody was like, “Where are you? You’re hiding!” I had to bring my voice back into the film and admit that I was there, but at the same time not make all of the film’s observations.
“You’re the child of somebody and the reason that you have a privileged position is because you know them so well, so you can’t pretend that you aren’t there, that you’re not one of the siblings because that’s an important point of view. At the same time, you do not to want your own drama to become the foreground of the story. Every single day I asked the editor, ‘Am I in this too much? Can we take me out?’ Getting that balance right that was one of the things that took the longest.” To read the full interview, click here.