In 2010 Philip Roth agreed to conduct a series of interviews in his New York apartment and in his country home in Connecticut with documentary director William Karel and journalist Livia Menra. The result is ten hours of raw footage in which Roth speaks candidly about his upbringing in Newark New Jersey, his Jewish immigrant parents, sexuality, love, psychoanalysis, celebrity, politics, the success and scandal of Portnoy’s Complaint, the literary process, the creation of American Pastoral and the development of Nathan Zuckerman, and of course, reflections on aging, death, and mortality: “Time is running out,” Mr. Roth says sardonically. Interwoven throughout are insightful interviews with friends and colleagues, including an army buddy and actress Mia Farrow.
For those of you who may not be aware of Philip Roth’s notoriously private character, this interview was an unprecedented and surprising event. The American literary master “is known to be a difficult interview” and “his laconic answers can stop conversations cold” (Celeste Bohlen, The New York Times). Philip Roth, Without Complexes is an illuminating documentary and surprisingly intimate portrait of a major author who changed the face of the American literary experience.