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Lili Taylor: Independent Spirit

Dubbed the “first lady of the indie cinema” by Variety and “irreplaceable” by Roger Ebert, actress Lili Taylor has helped shape the American independent film movement. During a career encompassing nearly 40 films as well as notable TV shows and plays, she has worked with today’s most innovative independent directors, from Abel Ferrara and Emir Kusturica to Robert Altman and Nancy Savoca. From the start, Taylor would only accept roles she believed in—compelling characters in films with a measure of artistic integrity. Referring to mass-market Hollywood films, she says, “I just found that I couldn’t do it. I’d read the script, and even if you forced me to say the lines, the words just wouldn’t come out.” As critics endlessly debate the definition of “independent film,” her work embodies the spirit of the term with an astonishing range and vitality.

As mesmerizing in ensembles and cameos as she is in starring roles, Taylor inhabits her characters with intensity, honesty, and vulnerability. Easily caricatured personalities, even the quirkiest shy loners or outspoken oddballs, are given complexity by her nuanced performances. Among her numerous accolades is the Sundance Film Festival’s inaugural Special Grand Jury Prize for her exceptional performances in three distinct 1996 films: Cold Fever; I Shot Andy Warhol; and Girls Town. The retrospective includes eight of her most stunning onscreen performances—including the soon-to-be-released Factotum—as well as a Regis Dialogue with Taylor and B. Ruby Rich.

Unless otherwise noted, films are $8 ($6 Walker members) and are presented in the Cinema. Factotum and Regis Dialogue tickets are available only to members January 3 – 22; remaining tickets go on sale to the public January 24. Seven-film package (does not include Factotum or Regis Dialogue): $30 ($20).