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Michael Sragow

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The roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd
Director Mike Leigh gives Gilbert and Sullivan the Dickens in "Topsy-Turvy."

It's a boy's, boy's, boy's world (and a girl's)
"Liberty Heights" stars Ben Foster and Rebekah Johnson talk about race relations and "spilling seed" in Barry Levinson's latest look back at Baltimore.

Beautiful dreamer
"End of the Affair" director Neil Jordan talks about sex, Catholicism and why "God is the greatest imaginary being of all time."

The adaptation racket
"Mansfield Park" trashes Jane Austen's novel, but Von Stroheim's "Greed" masterfully uncovers creatures of the id.

"Toy" story man
Pixar whiz Joe Ranft explains the Buzz on "Toy Story 2" -- and gives voice to Wheezy the Penguin.

Johnny Deppth
The soulful-eyed star tells why he played Ichabod Crane as a "fragile young girl" in "Sleepy Hollow."

Inside the Head of Charlie Kaufman
The screenwriter of that Malkovich movie talks about being and nothingness.

All the corporations' men
"The Insider" director Michael Mann talks about corporate morality, muckraking and the drama of making real-life decisions.

"I want a dream when I go to a film"
David Lynch, the human tuning fork, talks about his most unusual movie -- a G-rated adventure about a man, a lawnmower and an emotional journey.

Kith and Tell
"With Nails" author Richard E. Grant on auteurs, actors and the importance of being overpaid in Hollywood.

The men behind the ballsy "Fight Club" talk about anti-consumerism, annoying boomerisms and how to make soap out of human fat.

Shadow boxing
"On the Ropes" co-directors Nanette Burstein and Brett Morgen follow three fighters into the "real" inner city.

Piper Laurie remembers the smoldering genius of George C. Scott
We saw his imperial bravado in "Patton" and his majestic cool in "The Hustler." She saw, late in life, a "caring, warm, funny and charming" maverick.

Ron "The Artist" Shelton
With his new boxing movie, "Play It to the Bone," the writer-director continues to work the "radical middle."

Welcome to ... the Godlight Zone!
"Stigmata," "The Sixth Sense" and "Stir of Echoes" give us that New Age religion.

Kevin Spacey knows our secrets
The enigmatic actor's roles embody manipulation and cunning.

A magical, movable feast
The Beatles live again in the eye- and ear- popping new print of "Yellow Submarine."

The art of survival
Oscar winners Freida Lee Mock and Terry Sanders salute America's Vietnam War POWs in the awe-inspiring "Return with Honor."

"It's about how much craziness you have to accept"
Director Paul Mazursky on Warren Beatty's relentless charm, Woody Allen's inferiority complex and Peter Sellers' maddening talent.

All in the family
Patricia Hitchcock O'Connell recalls working with her father, Alfred, on "Strangers on a Train" and "Psycho."

Iron without irony
With "The Iron Giant," cartoon whiz Brad Bird brings an elegiac Ted Hughes fable to life -- and he's not embarrassed about making you cry.

Eyes opening up
Flip Sam Peckinpah's "Straw Dogs" into the VCR after dozing through Stanley Kubrick's valedictory and it registers like the shock pads on failed hearts in medical shows -- suddenly, you can feel again.

Here he is
Michael Patrick Jann's beauty-pageant sendup "Drop Dead Gorgeous" lands the crown.

From "Tootsie" to "Eyes Wide Shut"
Sydney Pollack directed Dustin Hoffman romping around in a skirt. Now he's co-starring as the orgy master who guides Tom Cruise through the debaucherous center of Stanley Kubrick's final film.

Taxi Driver II
"My Son the Fanatic" director Udayan Prasad on Hanif Kureishi, the spiritual life of Pakistani cab drivers and the art of stealing ideas from those more talented than you.

"Making film is making music"
Director François Girard on the art of making art.

Big success on the small screen
Director Alan Taylor ("Palookaville") makes the leap to television -- and hits a high note with his episode of "The Sopranos."

Bertolucci's better half
Clare Peploe, one of film's finest female directors, talks about her rare collaboration with husband Bernardo Bertolucci on his first real love story.

America's red-hot sweetheart
Clara Bow biographer David Stenn talks about how this poor abused beauty from Brooklyn became Hollywood's first real sex icon -- and why she was so reviled for it.

Altman's fortune
Robert Altman finds his Paul McCartney in screenwriter Anne Rapp.

Joan Chen: Guerrilla director
"Xiu Xiu" director Joan Chen talks about the making of a subversive love story.

The biggest indie film ever made
Producer Rick McCallum reveals the filmmaking formula for "The Phantom Menace" -- and hopes Hollywood will follow suit.

Father figure
Director Irvin Kershner, the unknown wizard behind "The Empire Strikes Back," talks about being Darth Vader, working with George Lucas and making the best "Star Wars" film.

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