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Costa-Gavras, director/co-writer of Capital

Cohen Media Group releases Capital at Regal Union Square 14 and The Paris Theatre on October 25th, 2013.

NYC MOVIE GURU: What do you think is the root cause of the protagonist's lack of a moral compass in Capital?

Costa-Gavras: You could probably say that it's society that permits those things because everything he does is legal. His actions are also admired by a lot of people. His ambition isn't to work at a small bank in the corner, but to go as high as he can. The occasion is there to go very high, so he grabs it and goes all the way up. When he's up there, he has to be much more cool with ethics because his position depends on the shareholders. If he doesn't do what they want him to do, he's out. So, he does what he has to do to stay there and puts the ethics on the side. Psychologically, he becomes like a great king or army chief.

NYC MOVIE GURU: Do you think that Marc will have a crisis of conscience when he's much older?

CG: You're absolutely right. I'm convinced that he would be like you said because the situation, the world and ambitions would be different.

NYC MOVIE GURU: Where in the spectrum of pessimism vs. optimism do you consider yourself?

CG: My generation went through a lot of good things and bad things also, so I'm trying to be reasonably optimistic. Things are changing for the better, but not quick enough.

NYC MOVIE GURU: How do you think the advancement of modern technology is affecting the quality of human relationships?

CG: There is no way to do it differently. The evolution of technology is something permanent. The problem is to control it in a different way. Modern technology is amazing. It's a huge revolution---for cinema and for the relations between people. Let's take the internet for example. There are great things there, but there has to be some control there. I think freedom is essential, but total freedom hurts a lot of people.

NYC MOVIE GURU: How dumbed-down do you think Hollywood is these days?

CG: There is no doubt that Hollywood is going through a situation which is quite unbearable and even stupid I would say. Fortunately, they make money, but not so much in Europe and the United States, but a lot of money in Asia and the rest of the world. It's something very disturbing.

NYC MOVIE GURU: If Z were to open today instead of 1969, do you think that it would've been as commercially successful?

CG: I don't know. Probably, not so much because the general relationship with politics isn't the same. People don't believe anymore in politics. People accept everything. Look what happened in Iraq. Today there are hundreds of people dead in Iraq and nobody talks about it or gives a penny about it.

NYC MOVIE GURU: What do you think are the basic elements that turn a thriller into a classic?

CG: I expect it to have suspense. When we deal with something important, we want to know what's going to happen the next day. I remember during the assissination of JFK, every day I used to buy a paper to see what's going to be next. This is the suspense. I don't believe that a director makes a movie knowing he's going to make a classic. I make the movie as best as I can.

NYC MOVIE GURU: Which foreign actor from the Golden Age of Cinema would you re-cast in the lead role?

CG: Marcello Mastroianni.

NYC MOVIE GURU: Who would play his wife?

CG: Jeanne Moreau or Simone Signoret.

NYC MOVIE GURU: Which American actor from the Golden Age would you re-cast?

CG: Jack Lemmon. When I asked Universal to cast Jack Lemmon for Missing, they asked me, "Is it a comedy?", and I asked them if they saw him in Save the Tiger or The Apartment. For me, The Apartment is, in a way, a tragedy.

NYC MOVIE GURU: Which films do you imagine Capital double-featured with?

CG: The Grapes of Wrath and some Hitchcock movies.

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