Julie Delpy Rocks New York

Always more than an ingenue, she's taking on everything that's wrong with movies -- and she's bringing Chris Rock.

We're interrupted by a male executive from a distributor, a competitor of Magnolia Pictures, which is releasing New York in theaters and has already made it available on cable video on demand.

Delpy and the executive kiss hello. "What's going on, darling?" he asks.

"I'm OK. My film's coming out in August," Delpy says.

"Who bought your movie?"

"Magnolia. You guys didn't buy it." She smiles. "You'll regret it!"

"I want to see it! Why didn't we buy it? It's not me. I would have been all for it."

Delpy says, deadpan, "Because there's a black man with a white woman."

She's joking — sort of — but maybe there's a kernel of truth to the accusation, because instead of quipping back, the exec gets slightly defensive. "No, we did, we did, um . . ." He names a Chris Rock film his company distributed, in which there is no interracial relationship.

"Why, then, didn't you do me?" Delpy asks.

I realize she's doing something kind of incredible, in playfully nudging this mundane kiss-kiss Hollywood run-in into the realm of interrogation. The exec is smiling tightly, trying to keep the encounter light, clearly frustrated that she's pressing the issue. It's almost turning into an echo of Marion's conflict with the critic in Delpy's movie: Confronted with an opportunity to help herself via schmoozing, Delpy can't resist a potentially damaging confrontation.

"I don't know, I didn't see, because you didn't . . . when did you show it? In Sundance? I wasn't there," the executive says.

"In Sundance," Delpy confirms. "It was the day Bingham Ray died, so basically no one showed up. And Magnolia was so happy, they bought the film right away. But I'm happy it's Magnolia, actually. I'm very happy. We'll see. Inshallah, like they say in Algeria."

The exec repairs to his table, and Delpy turns back to her vegetarian couscous. "Inshallah, like they say in all those countries that hate Jews."

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