Ari Aster | Hereditary | Film Comment Talk

  • Published: 29 June 2018
  • For our latest Film Comment Free Talk, we head into the belly of the beast: Ari Aster’s terrific upcoming twist on the horror genre, Hereditary. If at times Hereditary feels more like an askew domestic melodrama than a horror movie, that’s not accidental: Aster’s new film is one of the most effective examples of the genre in recent years, terrifying in its refusal to shy away from difficult emotions. The filmmaker, a cinephile who counts Mike Leigh as one of his influences, sat down with Film Society Editorial Director and Film Comment columnist Michael Koresky to discuss how exactly he mixes the mysteries and traumas of dysfunctional families with his exquisitely controlled and cathartic filmmaking. A talent (and a film) not to be missed this summer!

    The Film Society of Lincoln Center is devoted to supporting the art and elevating the craft of cinema. The only branch of the world-renowned arts complex Lincoln Center to shine a light on the everlasting yet evolving importance of the moving image, this nonprofit organization was founded in 1969 to celebrate American and international film. Via year-round programming and discussions; its annual New York Film Festival; and its publications, including Film Comment, the U.S.’s premier magazine about films and film culture, the Film Society endeavors to make the discussion and appreciation of cinema accessible to a broader audience, as well as to ensure that it will remain an essential art form for years to come.

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Comments • 131

  • Jeremy Gann
    Jeremy Gann  1 weeks back

    I LOVE this guy's work, and I will tell the world what a brilliant, genius filmmaker he is, but my God - he is one wormy, odd little creature.

    • Asssquatch
      Asssquatch  1 weeks back

      I feel you have to be odd in some way to create horror

  • Frank Cruz
    Frank Cruz  2 weeks back

    I wish there was a prequel to hereditary. How ellen becomes queen and how she tried to use her son as the vesael for pagan and how and why ellen's husband committed suicide. And then cut to ellen being pushed away from having any contact with peter the first born son of annie and when charlie is born cut to next scence where ellen is breast feeding her grandchild charlie cut scene zooming out of baby closeup sucking nipple as ellen slowly looks up to camera with an evil grin then black screen with director name.

    • Gneel Costello
      Gneel Costello  3 weeks back

      Take a shot every time he repeats a word 4 times in a row

      • H. Ellis
        H. Ellis  3 weeks back

        I find the avoidance of the key element of the film being in the occult ODD. the family dynamic is the result of the dark art and cult manipulations. why is this not being addressed????

        • Asssquatch
          Asssquatch  1 weeks back

          I think it's because the film is based around the manipulations of Ellen and the cult and that would be a bit of a spoiler. I've seen a lot of people who have seen the movie didn't really enjoy it as much as they thought they could have because before they watched it, they heard that it had cult business going on in it.

      • House RN
        House RN  1 months back

        The family's reaction to Charlie's death in Hereditary and the murder/suicide in Midsommar are both such gut punches that it's really difficult for me to go through. This is pure horror. It makes me think twice about seeing these movies a second or third time, even though I own both of them.

        • megan byrne
          megan byrne  1 months back

          Why would you go see a film commentary about a movie you haven't seen yet

          • jskd2953
            jskd2953  1 months back

            Ari Aster gets major points for talking about "Return to Oz". Hereditary was a genuinely intriguing, impressive, original and finely constructed work. Look forward to more from him.

            • WilliamGarland
              WilliamGarland  2 months back

              Jesus, this man has tiny hands.

              • Born Yesterday
                Born Yesterday  3 months back

                We finally get to see a genius work a horror film. Ari is up there with Kubrick.. Argento..Blatty.. Hooper.. my all time favorites

                • Glenn Davie
                  Glenn Davie  3 months back

                  The rapport between these two is unreal.

                  • Tom Linnestad
                    Tom Linnestad  3 months back

                    I too have always found Return to Oz horrifying, glad I'm not the only one with those images stained on my mind 😅

                    • vince guzman
                      vince guzman  3 months back

                      mulholland drive shout out!!!!

                      • Jor-Els Alexandria
                        Jor-Els Alexandria  3 months back





                        • Andres Sandoval
                          Andres Sandoval  3 months back

                          Jor-Els Alexandria Been watching your hereditary reviews. I can tell it’s still with you huh? 😂 rightfully so of course

                      • Kristen Waterton
                        Kristen Waterton  3 months back

                        “ Stately disturbing artifice “ 🤣 is there any end to creepy pretentious gay men ? And Oliver Twist ? Lmfao yeahhhhhh

                        • Funky Chicken Films
                          Funky Chicken Films  4 months back

                          think Michael Jackson's stuffed, bloated scarecrow in The Wiz might have inspired Midsommar

                          • Andrew Clunie
                            Andrew Clunie  4 months back

                            When the wonderful Walter Murch is credited as a sound designer 8:39 :(

                            • kidd venison
                              kidd venison  4 months back

                              Absolute genius.

                              • swimoneare
                                swimoneare  4 months back

                                Am I the only one that wants homegirl to get off her fucking phone?!?

                                • Crooked Roof Films
                                  Crooked Roof Films  4 months back

                                  40:00 with "Sweden's history" cough cough midsommar

                                  • Flush Fries
                                    Flush Fries  4 months back

                                    LordMalice6d9 It’s good I recommend it if you’re depraved.

                                  • LordMalice6d9
                                    LordMalice6d9  4 months back

                                    Haven't seen that one yet.

                                • James DeLeon
                                  James DeLeon  4 months back

                                  God he’s so right though, the pacing of Hereditary is so integral to the movie. Would have loved to see the 3hr footage anyway

                                • James DeLeon
                                  James DeLeon  4 months back

                                  I feel awkward becuz i can hear the people in the room who haven’t watched the movie

                                  • inferno0020
                                    inferno0020  4 months back

                                    American God of Horror has spoken.

                                    • desmonheck
                                      desmonheck  4 months back

                                      Adding him to my list of favorite directors.

                                      • Eimear O'Connor
                                        Eimear O'Connor  4 months back

                                        Return to OZ is so insanely disturbing, if you saw it as a child this movie stays with you its so freaky!

                                        • Ollie Fellows
                                          Ollie Fellows  5 months back

                                          Christ I hope these people saying how this film is crammed with subliminal messaging with nefarious aims have seen Hereditary. Whilst it may be a twisted horror film with themes of the occult, get past that and it is an incredibly powerful and visceral depiction of how a family deals with loss, surely if it was a propaganda/brainwashing then there would be a massive influx of satanic worshipers considering the films grossed close to $80 million world-wide.Take a look at Aster's short films, they do not have anything to do with the occult, or satanism. Just get a grip and think about how the real world really works, think logically; if Aster wanted to convert thousands to Satanism, then I'm almost positive that there would be an easier way to do this than getting into the AFI Conservatory (often cited to be the number 1 film school in the world), pay all those tuition fees, have all the stress that goes along with higher education, graduate, and then go on to make a slew of short films to then finally at the age of 30/31 to make his debut feature length. People just need to use their brains. By all means practice a religion, thats great, but stop trying to commandeer the movie and try to find words which simply aren't in the text, after all its just a movie.

                                          • megan byrne
                                            megan byrne  1 months back

                                            There is a luciferian conspiracy in Hollywood. I enjoyed this movie and didn't think he was trying to convert anybody but after the film was released there were lots of mainstream articles talking about how to summon paimon and how he can help you ect.

                                          • tonywords
                                            tonywords  1 months back

                                            Films are essentially sorcery in the classical sense especially when you get into animation, its origins are steeped in esoterica. Look at the influence Nazi propaganda and American westerns have had on molding the thought forms of the collective unconscious. It’s an extremely visceral and powerful art form. That being said these primitive superstitious types really bug me as well. It is interesting that they changed the sigil and pronounciation deliberately “to not take any chances”.

                                          • Caleb Tuper
                                            Caleb Tuper  2 months back

                                            Ollie Fellows You can’t fix stupid :/

                                        • M V
                                          M V  7 months back

                                          I want my 2hrs back!!!! Eff this movie SUCKS!!!!!!

                                          • Michael T. Paulo
                                            Michael T. Paulo  2 months back


                                          • Mike Kish
                                            Mike Kish  4 months back

                                            @M V Wahhhh. I saw a movie I didn't like so I'm gonna find videos about the director giving input about said movie that I don't like and tell everyone that I didn't like it. Grow up.

                                          • stcrude
                                            stcrude  5 months back

                                            @M V stop being a dumbcunt

                                          • M V
                                            M V  5 months back

                                            @Flora Posteschild 🖕🏿🖕🏿

                                          • Flora Posteschild
                                            Flora Posteschild  7 months back

                                            I don't know about your two hours (and seven minutes) but you might save some time by quitting complaining about this movie. Or you could shorten your comment to "this movie sux!" That would also save time.

                                        • Anti World
                                          Anti World  9 months back

                                          Whatever satanist. And I see your hand. Stop trying to put sublimal spells on people. I send it back to you in the name of Jesus Christ.

                                          • tonywords
                                            tonywords  1 months back

                                            Born Yesterday not backing up what the fringe guy is saying about the director. Just saying the occult and secret societies are real and a very serious thing and the “conspiracy theorist” equivocation is simply a naive, uninformed dismissal honestly. As usual, the truth is somewhere in the middle of the two extremes.

                                          • tonywords
                                            tonywords  1 months back

                                            Passion Acid you guys know Paimon is an actual thing from Ars Goetia and the Lesser Key of Solomon, and they changed the sigil and pronunciation to “not take any chances” (according to the director). Whether or not you believe it is entirely meaningless information when there are others that do. Typically Jinn and demons are seen as thought forms that work to the extent you believe in them or allow them to, much like a placebo effect (you could say), not as actual physical entities.

                                            Also the 666 hand sign is a pretty well known thing. Other famous ones are the “hidden hand” which Masons have long used to identify each other. Other examples being -The Nazis were big on appropriating occult iconography because they too started as a secret society. The KKK a secret society that still exists. And the Cosa Nostra (Mafia) which was so secret no one knew its name until the 1990s.

                                          • Born Yesterday
                                            Born Yesterday  3 months back

                                            Anti World lol you need to be evaluated

                                          • Kristen Waterton
                                            Kristen Waterton  4 months back

                                            Joe Spears fer sure

                                          • Kristen Waterton
                                            Kristen Waterton  4 months back

                                            Joe Spears 👍

                                        • Otto Castillo
                                          Otto Castillo  10 months back

                                          The music on this film which sets up a lot of the suspense, owes a lot to The Shining by its way of pacing and setting up the scenes.

                                          • Skullkan6
                                            Skullkan6  5 months back

                                            Which takes a lot from Eraserhead.

                                          • Stranger Jones
                                            Stranger Jones  8 months back

                                            All A24 horror film use music the same way that "The Shining" did. I couldn't have bigger praise for these movies.

                                        • Maurice Gilbert
                                          Maurice Gilbert  11 months back

                                          I think "HEREDITARY" is nothing but 3:17m short of a master-piece ! Why 3:17 minutes, you ask ? That's the lenght of "CLOUDS" as sung by Judy Collins, that closes this otherwise perfect movie - much of which (or witch) rests on the very competent shoulders of Toni Collette ; over and over in my head (which I haven't lost yet, no thanks to the movie), I've tried to make sense of the insertion of that otherwise beautiful song at the very end of that beautifully-dreadful movie... but to no avail ; let's say it's what the director wanted and that's that ! But still, I think he should've listened to Joni Mitchell's "CLOUDS" before making his final choice ; Judy Collins' 1967 cover sounds muffled and dusty, while Mitchell's (original) version, re-released in 1969 on REPRISE records, sounds crisp and truly stereo, as if recorded recently ; now there are songs on that LP that might, I say might, have made more sense for the movie's awkward ending ; for instance "THE FIDDLE AND THE DRUM" ; Mitchell's alluring voice has even chilling "over-tones", as they say, in the business ; but it is the way she plucks at the guitar that draws the most attention ; even the album's cover, a Joni Mitchell self-portrait (yes, she also paints), is premonitious : she somehow looks like Toni Collette... and get this : Joni and Toni (LOL) Is it too late to re-release the movie with Joni's song dubbed on ? Oh, but ask Joni's permission first... I've read she wasn't too keen about Collins' rendition (LOL) !

                                          • Tom Dickenharry
                                            Tom Dickenharry  4 months back

                                            Read the lyrics to ‘Both Sides Now (Clouds),’ and they can very easily be about a dissociative disorder, much like when a cult takes away Annie’s control of the fate of her family; while Annie, herself, is losing absolutely all control, as dissociative disorders tend to feel like.
                                            ‘I really don’t know clouds/love/life, at all..’

                                        • Mandelen Mandelen
                                          Mandelen Mandelen  11 months back

                                          This dude is a kabbalist Jew, even though he tried to deny it on Reddit, it is very clear that he is lying. He used the symbol of the Tree of Life from the kaballah (Jewish occultism and magic) as the icon for his movie, and in one of the commercial posters for the movie (the one with tree house) he added the Seal of Paimon, it is almost hidden but you'll find it. He admitted himself that he used REAL occultist symbols and rituals in the movie, the name "Paimon" is the name of a real demon too.

                                          The satanists modus operandi has been the same since the rise of occultism's popularity: through disturbing images ( for example, making you watch satanic ritual decapitation) he is not only casting spells on viewers, he's CURSING YOU. The same shit is happening in art and music, they cast spells on naive people through their lyrics and ugly ass "art". A fucking urinal won the price as "the most important artistic creation of the century"!
                                          No one, I repeat, NO ONE who is mentally and emotionally stable can find this movie enjoyable, because sane people tend to be attracted by BEAUTIFUL THINGS, while twisted people like this Ari Arter and those who praise this movie are atracted to excrement just like flies.
                                          Many of these degenerates in Hollywood worship the Jewish kaballah, which is nothing but occultism and magic.
                                          By the way, this weirdo has drawings of penises shooting cum in his own official website, isn't it nice? I'm sure his fans wouldn't mind using those images as wallpaper in their children's room.

                                          • Илья Слукин
                                            Илья Слукин  2 weeks back

                                            damn, you just made me want to check out the dude's website.

                                          • Marianne Martin
                                            Marianne Martin  3 months back

                                            This comment is so amazingly stupid that it's actually kind of beautiful... like a rare stone of stupidity. Thanks for the laugh.

                                          • Doublediamond92
                                            Doublediamond92  4 months back

                                            Mandelen Mandelen Hail! Hail Paimon!

                                          • Passion Acid
                                            Passion Acid  4 months back

                                            You’re actually insane and should probably get some help.

                                          • Lost User
                                            Lost User  4 months back

                                            "it's almost hidden" m8 it's an integral part of the film.

                                        • Daniel Villalobos
                                          Daniel Villalobos  1 years back

                                          I was just thinking about movies that truly upset me right around the time that I watched this director's remarkable film.
                                          I think I may understand and/or agree when he talks movies like "The Cook, The Thief" etc. — the movies that I really don't want to watch are ones that have really nihilistic points of view, like all of humanity and existence is totally pointless and kind of despicable. I get it that some people may feel this way; in fact many of us feel like this at least sometimes. I just don't want to see movies permeated by this vibe of the bleakest nihilism. I thought Hereditary was like gothic horror, it was fairly horrific but also obviously fantasy, and beautiful in its depiction of human grief and empathy.

                                          • Kristen Waterton
                                            Kristen Waterton  5 months back

                                            Daniel Villalobos yr desire is pure amigo...... run with that ......

                                          • Kristen Waterton
                                            Kristen Waterton  5 months back

                                            Alex Furnas ...... there’s something about the most satanic presentation of Satanism and the way he frames the satanists in such a classical and baroque extra evil way is so cool and aestectically grotesque yet special and cool it’s empathetic but in a not really kind of way yet beautiful and brave it makes for an integration of Satan and ism but not just yr usual boring evil irony this one is different it’s better .....

                                          • Kristen Waterton
                                            Kristen Waterton  5 months back

                                            Alex Furnas what a bunch of horse shite

                                          • Kristen Waterton
                                            Kristen Waterton  5 months back

                                            Alex Furnas omg that’s hilarious

                                          • Alex Furnas
                                            Alex Furnas  10 months back

                                            There's something about the presentation of that nihilism in Peter Greenaway films too. The way he frames it in such classical and baroque ways with the music and visual aesthetic, and not just as an "ironic" juxtaposition either - the grotesque and disgusting is fully integrated into that classical aesthetic. It makes for an overwhelming and truly unsettling experience.

                                        • Marcus Black
                                          Marcus Black  1 years back

                                          Ari Aster talking about films is one of the most interesting things ever tbh

                                          • Deepa Lall
                                            Deepa Lall  1 years back

                                            Hereditary was heavily influenced by 'The Sixth Sense'.

                                            • Neo Official
                                              Neo Official  5 months back

                                              @Jajackboss woah there lmao relax

                                            • Jajackboss
                                              Jajackboss  5 months back

                                              Fuck you

                                            • omni6us
                                              omni6us  6 months back

                                              Thumbs down.

                                            • M Zarcone
                                              M Zarcone  11 months back

                                              I just watched it and besides the easter eggs didn't really see the Sixth Sense influence.

                                          • Lewie Kloster
                                            Lewie Kloster  1 years back

                                            Fantastic editing!

                                            • Niu Jingmei
                                              Niu Jingmei  1 years back

                                              Was waiting for this, thank you. Ari Aster is a quite interesting person.

                                              • Doublediamond92
                                                Doublediamond92  4 months back

                                                Kristen Waterton hail King Paimon!

                                              • Kristen Waterton
                                                Kristen Waterton  5 months back

                                                Niu Jingmei super interesting Satanist lol

                                                That new movie is just gross

                                                But then - all of them lol

                                                Poor guy

                                                It’s just sad, like they live
                                                Some kind of tragic life to
                                                be into this, an aesthetic
                                                or value ....

                                              • Marcus Black
                                                Marcus Black  1 years back

                                                We need more Ari Aster interviews