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A film by Ariel Kavoussi

The Poet and the Professor is a dark comedic short about Ariel, an insecure writer tortured by her own desires. Ariel can’t seem to stop seeing “The Poet,” an older, volatile cinematographer who pursues his ‘art’ while taking full advantage of his rich girlfriend’s beautiful New York apartment. Ariel also can’t stop herself from loving her own professor, a depressed, married, struggling adjunct obsessed with postmodernism and addicted to pills. In this short film, Ariel must overcome a proclivity for dysfunctional affairs to find a healthier, more sustainable relationship.

2017 | 22 min | Color | USA | 1.78 | In English

Screens as part of the shorts program Love, or Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now.

Director Biography

_MG_7371Ariel Kavoussi is an artist, writer, filmmaker, and actress based in New York City. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art’s Documentary Fortnight, Dia: Chelsea, Anthology Film Archives, Louis B. James, The Williams College Museum of Art, and elsewhere.

Ariel had the starring, titular role in the comedic punk odyssey, THE DEFLOWERING OF ARIELLA VON, a feature film by Marianna Ellenberg and David Louis Zuckerman. New York Times’ film critic Miriam Bale premiered the film at The 2015 La Di Da Film Festival and indie ingenuous, Kentucker Audley featured it on Nobudge.com, a page that NoFilmSchool has referred to the “premiere website for true independent films.” THE DEFLOWERING OF ARIELLA VON also had a full page spread in the September 2014 issue of “Cahiers Du Cinema” Magazine, France’s largest and most prestigious film publication.

Ariel can next be seen opposite Anne Heche, Sandra Oh, & Dylan Baker in Onur Tukel’s dark comedy CATFIGHT which premiered at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival.
She graduated from Williams College in 2012.


Ariel Kavoussi, Director, Writer
Valerie Steinberg, Producer
Charlotte Hornsby, Director of Photography
Emma Zbiral-Teller, Production Design
Sean Hanley, 1st AC
Carmen Hilbert, Gaffer
Jarrett DePasquale, Production Sound
Zach Clark, Additional Editor
Jenny Montgomery, Color Correction


Ariel Kavoussi
Kevin Corrigan
Bob Byington

Director Statement

tpatp_thefilmThe title of my film is a play off of Jean Eustache’s 1973 film THE MOTHER AND THE WHORE, a movie that explores the relationships between three characters in a love triangle. While significantly inspired by Eustache and numerous other filmmakers of the French New Wave, I am likewise bored by their frequently reductive depiction of women. My film is radical, only in that I reverse these gender stereotypes – my “whore” is a chubby cinematographer, and my “mother” is my mentor.

These two male characters personify archetypes of masculinity, but they also represent the yin/yang of what it means to be human. The Professor is a creature of language. He surrounds himself with books and it is his profession to think. The Poet, on the other hand, is defined through his physicality. These men represent two sides of a person that Ariel thinks she needs to be with in order to be whole. However, by the end of the film, Ariel learns she is a complete being on her own—she is an artist, a thinker, and her own person.