Batmanglij and Marling came to the Washington Post last week to talk about the film and its provocative ending after a screening at Georgetown University, their alma mater. They’re currently at work on “The East,” a drama about a woman (Marling) who infiltrates an anarchist cell and finds herself drawn to its members in unexpected ways. The film co-stars Ellen Page and Alexander Skarsgard.
Batmanglij, who was an anthropology major at Georgetown, admitted that he’s drawn to stories about group dynamics and psychological ambiguity. “I don’t know if I’ll be done with it even after [‘The East’],” Batmanglij said, noting that he’s “still fascinated” by the experience of encountering new communities and collective spaces. “Often you’ll feel this judgment from the people and from the space. Like, ‘Oh, I’m not part of this’ or whatever. But give it a week in that world and all of a sudden you become obsessed with their rituals and how they do things and how they’re communicating through body language with each other. Then you want to fit in. . . . Just one week later you feel this need to join it and be a part of it and be accepted in it.”