“How did we get here? How did we get here to where there’s like two people who own everything and there’s a bunch of authoritarians that are trying to take over the planet? I think we’re in trouble,” said James Gray in the press conference for his coming-of-age memoir Armageddon Time, which had its world premiere in the Palais on Thursday night.
Some answers, he suggests, lie in the changing political and social backdrop for his film, set in 1980, on the cusp of the first Reagan presidency. “It was the beginning of the ‘market is God’ idea, and if you look at the rise of inequality, it began around 1979 and 1980. So it’s an inflection point in history that I think is in some way quite underrated.”
Jeremy Strong, who plays Gray’s father in the film, connected the dots between Armageddon Time and the greedy, billionaire-run world of Succession, in which he famously plays media empire heir Kendall Jenner.
“It’s interesting, because you can find that thread connecting these two worlds,” he said. “The fault lines that we see [in the film] are starting to crack in small ways and are actually enormous and widen and widen and widen to become the new political, social and racial divisions in our society today.”
Strong added that in Armageddon Time, you could find the “genome” of the “late-stage capitalism” depicted in Succession.
Meanwhile, Anne Hathaway, who plays Gray’s mother in film, got teary when asked what it was like to play a Jewish mother, using the opportunity to play tribute to her Jewish mother-in-law, who passed away recently.
“It was an honor. My mother-in-law was simply the greatest mother and someone I’m truly grateful for, and the legacy of having a Jewish mother will guide the rest of my life,” she said.
In his review, The Hollywood Reporter‘s David Rooney described the film as “minor-key magic,” saying it was a “thoughtful film laced throughout with small ripple-effect moments that continue to resonate even beyond the end credits.” THR awards expert Scott Feinberg said the performances of Anthony Hopkins and Jeremy Strong could “generate some best supporting actor buzz.”