Craig Zobel, the director of Compliance, explained what had inspired him to film one of the most controversial pictures of 2012 in a Q&A session after the film was screened at Moscow's 2-in-1 film festival on Oct. 20.
The film explores the real-life implications of Stanley Migram's famous experiments into the nature of obedience, which found that ordinary people could easily be persuaded to seriously harm others if ordered by an authority figure.
The film explores human behaviour, and although it is based on media reports of an incident in the US, Zobel believes it is universal, not specific to any one society."I think that this can happen anywhere," Zobel said. "I do recognise that the Russian relationship with the police is different than in America, but the core problem is not in that relationship."
The harrowing action takes place in a fast-food restaurant, and for Zobel that is not a coincidence. "In any country, you go to McDonalds and it looks the same, you order the same food and it's all the same experience," he said. "It creates a top-down culture, and I think it helps [the film]."
When the film premiered at the Sundance Festival, Zobel found that the initial reaction focused on whether or not it was misogynistic. "It is very interesting, because I spent a lot of energy and time with actresses, asking and making sure picking out shots for the film they were comfortable being there," he said.