Many thanks to Melissa Merli of the News-Gazette for her superb coverage of Ebertfest, especially her fine pieces about the two events I moderated. She wrote about the discussion following “Higher Ground:”
Nell Minow, who with Michael Barker, co-president of Sony Pictures Classics, joined Briggs on stage, asked how the writer would now fill out a form asking her religion.
Briggs replied she would probably “leave that little box blank” and then quoted the poet Rainer Maria Rilke: “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves … .”
Now an associate professor of English at Marshalltown Community College in Iowa, Briggs decided to write “This Dark World” while working on a master of fine arts degree in creative writing at the University of Arkansas, where a professor told her it would sell if she told the truth.
When “A Separation” was announced as the Oscar winner for foreign film earlier this year, the four rows of other nominees for best foreign film all rose to give director Asghar Farhadi a standing ovation.
“He turned around and saw that, and he had tears in his eyes,” [Sony Pictures Classics president Michael] Barker related. “It’s such a testament to the power of the film.
“It defies all odds.”
Barker called the taut family drama a perfect film in every regard and Farhadi an amazing observer of social behaviors.