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51st Directors’ Fortnight May 15-25, 2019

Tell Me A Riddle

Fortnight 1981, Feature film,


I made « Tell Me A Riddle » for my first film because I read Tillie Olsen’s novella and I was moved. This is a story about an alienated old couple who, after forty seven years of marriage, wants to separate. Through the accident of the woman’s illness, they rediscover the passion of their youth, and their love for each other.
Audiences go to the theatre to feel. « Tell Me A Riddle » forces people to go to their deeper feelings, maybe ones they would prefer to avoid. By the end of the film, however, I think they have an affirmative sense of their own lives, through the life on the screen. Lee GRANT


Lee Grant

Born in New York, she studied drama at HB Studio in Greenwich Village. She made her stage debut at age 4 at the Metropolitan Opera, playing the abducted princess in L’Orocolo. After graduating from high school, she won a scholarship to the Neighborhood Playhouse of the Theatre where she studied acting with Sanford Meisner. When she was a teenager, Grant established herself as a formidable Broadway talent when she won The Critics’ Circle Award for her potrayal of the shoplifter in Detective Story (1951). She re-prised the role in the film version, a performance that garnered her the Cannes Film Festival Citation for Best Actress as well as her first Academy Award Nomination. Immediately following her screen debut, she became a victim of the Mc Carthy blacklists. In 1966, she had resumed her acting career in TV series for wich she won an Emmy Award and other prizes. Since 1980, she has been concentrating on her directorial efforts which began as part of the Women’s Project at The American Film Institute; her adaptation of Strindberg’s was selected as one of the 10 best films ever produced for AFI. In 1987, she received an Academy Award for the HBO documentary Down and Out in America. She received the Directors Guild Award.

Title in Original Version : Tell Me ... David Et Eva