Joe Gould's Secret

Director: Stanley Tucci
Screenwriters: Howard Rodman

Institute History

  • 2000 Sundance Film Festival


Joe Gould's Secret is a film of imposing scope and extraordinary subtlety that manages to attain the sublime both in its pursuit of artistry and its grasp of the always-ephemeral nature of truth. Sweetly poignant, yet simultaneously serious and intricate, the film is a consummate accomplishment for its creators and a resonant reflection on the difficulties of artistic conception.
Director Stanley Tucci has crafted an evocative excursion into Greenwich Village of the 1940s, a period when artists and writers established genuine community and a place where an intellectual misfit named Joseph Gould (Ian Holm), an eccentric, Harvard-educated, social dropout stalks the streets. Gould is working on his magnum opus, an epic oral history of the world, twenty-six years in the making and still nowhere near finished, and living on the largesse of the locals. One day the legendary New Yorker writer Joseph Mitchell (Stanley Tucci) sees Gould eating his free bowl of soup, adding as much ketchup as he can get away with (a disgusting concoction), lecturing to customers in a cafe, and collecting donations to the Joe Gould Fund. Mitchell decides to make him the subject of a piece in his Profiles column. The appearance of the feature gives Gould a legitimation he has never had, and and a reluctant but decade-long association between Gould and his "biographer" follows.
Superbly produced, with flawless writing and exquisite performances, Joe Gould's Secret is a work were form and content have melded to produce inspiring results, creating an unforgettable film experience.

Screening Details

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