Todd Haynes joined us during a retrospective of his films to discuss his 1995 masterpiece 'Safe' starring Julianne Moore.
Haynes shot his second feature in 1994, but he set it at the height of the AIDS epidemic seven years earlier. The unnamed disease at the center of this indelible, shuddering movie—widely considered one of Haynes’s masterpieces—has taken on new, unexpected meanings since the film’s release, and yet much of what makes Safe revelatory to watch is the uncanny precision of its setting, look, and tone. Carol (Julianne Moore), whose mysterious breakdown from perfect housewife to cloistered invalid drives the movie’s plot, couldn’t live anywhere but suburban L.A. in the late ’80s—a landscape Haynes captures in a strange, piercing, hyperreal light. Jonathan Rosenbaum called Safe “the most provocative American art film of the year” in 1995. It’s hard to imagine any movie topping it were it released now.