Happy Birthday Philip Roth

March 12, 2013 | By Kathryn Hamilton
Philip Roth by François Reumont

Last year Philip Roth made the announcement in the French magazine, Les Inrocks, that he was retiring from writing. At 79 years old, and after 31 books – among them American Pastoral, The Human Stain, and Sabbath’s Theater - Roth had decided it was time to lay down the pen.

No longer working, Roth has become the subject of other peoples work instead. He has been working closely with his appointed biographer, Blake Bailey, and, in a rare move for this notoriously reticent interviewee, he collaborated with a journalist and director on a 90 minute documentary about his life and work. The journalist is Livia Manera, a literary correspondent for the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, who had interviewed Mr. Roth five times after his work was published in Italy, and the work is directed by French filmmaker William Karel, whose credits include The World According to Bush.

The documentary Philip Roth, Unmasked opens at Film Forum on March 13, and will run through March 19, the writer’s 80th birthday.  It will then premiere nationally on PBS, March 29.

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