Welcome back to More of a Comment, Really…, a weekly interview podcast hosted by Clint Worthington! Every episode will feature interviews with actors, filmmakers, producers, and more, giving you the skinny on the latest films and TV.
Houston-born Patrick Wang has taken a decidedly unconventional road to his filmmaking career – an economist turned playwright turned filmmaker, Wang crafts (and self-distributes) works that are ambitious in scope, yet intimate in impact. His latest project is A Bread Factory, a two-part film series following a small arts community in upstate New York threatened by everything from bourgeois corporate-funded art to the invasion of deeply strange tourists with their own alien styles of communication.
Wang’s approach in both Bread Factorys hearkens back to everything from the loose, conversational ensembles of Robert Altman to the smooth casualness of John Cassavetes, punctuated with a surprisingly theatrical edge reminiscent of Ozu and New Taiwan Cinema. The residents of the town (and, occasionally, its invaders) are lovingly rendered with a vibrant, endearing cast including Tyne Daly, James Marsters, and the late, great Brian Murray, among other faces more unknown but no less gripping. Both films function perfectly well on their own, affecting two decidedly different tones – Part 1 more of a semi-realistic ensemble dramedy, Part 2 making room for greater musicality – but in concert they’re a beautiful treatise on the transformative virtues of art, and the value of community that shares those joys together.
This week, Wang braved the Chicago chill to stop by The Spool Studios for a fun, insightful chat about A Bread Factory Parts 1 & 2, discussing everything from Euripides to his affection for the two-shot, and the strange mixture of idealism and panic that happens in real, small arts communities.