You know," says James Schamus, leaning in, "in Hollywood, there are a few of us Jews around!" He breaks into an infectious laugh. "You know, there are a couple! But Hollywood doesn't make Jewish movies! Think about it! It's bizarre!
If the Nazis had had their way, the Franco-Australian film-maker/painter Philippe Mora, like so many Jews, would never have been born. His mother, Mirka, her two siblings and his grandmother were arrested in Paris during the Roundup (Rafle du Vel' d'Hiv), in 1942, and sent to a transit camp in Pithiviers, from where they'd expected to be transported to Auschwitz.
Let's be frank," says the Israeli director Amos Gitai, "cinema is not the most effective way to change reality. As my film shows, one gun with three bullets is a much more efficient way to change reality. But for me, cinema is a better way. It's making people think."
Charlie Kaufman, neat and tidy and with his shirt tucked in, is talking about the Oscars, where he was nominated for his latest film, Anomalisa. "It was a thoroughly miserable occasion," he wails. "There's all the neuroses, the anxiety and competitiveness, all in one room. I hated it." You wouldn't want Charlie Kaufman any other way.
The adjective most often used to describe JG Ballard's literary genius is "dystopian". Many of his novels are frightening portraits of how a group of people attempt to create a better world and, instead, end up on a self-destructive orgiastic path to a man-made hell.
At last, the misery-fuelled rom-com we've all been waiting for. Not for Charlie Kaufman the Pixar-style life lessons smothered in upbeat bounciness. His new release is a bizarre, serious and at times engrossing study of the male mid-life crisis.