From David Lynch to John Cassavetes, Here’s What You Should Be Seeing This Weekend in New York

Sundays may be a "wan, stuff shadow of a robust Saturday" or a day of "forced leisure for folks who have no aptitude for leisure," according to Tom Robbins, but a weekend is still a weekend. The pleasure of a Friday night, the knowing the burdens of work week have a brief respite carry themselves into the following two days of leisure, and what better way to indulge in that leisure than heading to the cinema.  

And this weekend, there are more than enough wonderful films showing around New York for you to disappear into. Whether it’s your favorite Cassavetes or Lynch, the best of NYFF, or some of the most stunning new releases, there’s surely something to satisfy every cinematic appetite. I’ve founded up the best of what’s playing around the city, so peruse our list, and enjoy.  

 

IFC Center

Mulholland Drive
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
Blue Caprice
Frances Ha
Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean
Dario Argento’s Dracula 3D
Muscle Shoals
The Getaway
I Used to be Darker
A River Changes Course
A Touch of Sin
Una ncohe
Walter
The Big Lebowski

BAM

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie
Enough Said
Gravity
Blue Jasmine
Opening Night
A Woman Under the Influence

Landmark Sunshine

A.C.O.D.
We Are What We Are
In a World…
Short Term 12
The Summit
Monty Python
The Room

Film Forum

The Young Girls of Rochefort
Newlyweeds
After Tiller
Let the Fire Burn
Une chambre en ville
Lola
West Side Story

Nitehawk

Deliverance
Don Jon 
In a World… 
Legend
Bloodsucking Freaks
Muscle Shoals
Brazil

Film Linc

Inside Llewyn Davis
Burning Bush 
The Wind Rises
American Promise  
NYFF Live: Claire Denis
L’Age D’Or
The Lusty Men
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
They Live By Night
About Time
Abuse of Weakness
Bastards
Gloria
Jimmy P.
Written on the Wind
The Immigrant

Museum of the Moving Image

All Cats Are Brilliant
Man’s Favorite Sport?
Tiger Shark
Today We Live
Hello Anatolia
One Step Ahead
The Tree and the Swing
Kiss the Children

MoMA

An Autumn Afternoon
The Dead Man and Being Happy
The Garden of the Finzi-Continis
Casino
The Night in Varennes
Shutter Island
Hugo
The Name of the Rose

From Scorsese to De Palma, Here’s What You Should Be Seeing in NYC This Weekend

We’ve finally reached the last stretch of our summer days, and although the beaches my be closing, there is plenty to look forward to on the film front. And whether you’re BBQ’ing your way through the weekend and relaxing on beach outside these humid streets or hiding away in your apartment savoring that extra day of doing absolutely nothing, you can always find the time to head down to the cinema and enjoy something wonderful.

This weekend there’s a generous plenty to choose from, whether you’re in the mood for classics or the summer’s best premieres. Take a look at the evil inside with Rosemary’s Baby or torture yourself with Taxi Driver and then discover the power of connection with Short Term 12 and fall into feeling with Ain’t Them Bodies Saints—just to name some options. But whatever your film fancy, there are a number of wonderful worlds to escape into this weekend. We’ve compiled the best of what’s playing in the city, so peruse our list, grab yourself a large box of candy and enjoy.

 

IFC Center

The Wild Bunch
Passion
The Canyons
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
El Topo
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Frances Ha
Jaws
Museum Hours
Our Nixon
Prince Avalanche
Rio Bravo
Una Noche

BAM

Blue Jasmine
Enter the Dragon
Fruitvale Station
The Spectacular Now
The World’s End
The Grandmaster

Film Forum

Rosemary’s Baby
Tokyo Waka: A City Poem
Demon Seed
Alien
Aliens
Total Recall
The Howling
Starship Troopers
Village of the Damned

Film Linc

Passion
Short Term 12
Twenty Feet from Stardom
Singin’ in the Rain
Re-Animator
In a World…
Far From Vietnam
Blackfish

MoMA

The River
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
Never Fear (The Young Lovers)
Limelight
Steel Helmet

Museum of the Moving Image

Dog Day Afternoon
The Taking of Pelham One Two
Three Born to Win
Taking Off
The Panic in Needle Park

Landmark Sunshine

Taxi Driver
Short Term 12
Drinking Buddies
In a World…
The Spectacular Now
Afternoon Delight

Nitehawk

Moulin Rouge! Sing Along
In a World…
The Grandmaster
Drinking Buddies
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
Frankenhooker
Car Wash
Rushmore

From Wong Kar-wai to John Waters, Here’s What You Should Be Seeing in New York City This Weekend

If Wong Kar-wai has taught us anything from his films, it’s that love is all a matter of timing. What we hold in the grandest of proportions can be unhinged from the smallest fraction of time, whether we’ve met the right person too late or allowed moments to slip through our fingers in an earlier life. But as tomorrow begins the start to another weekend, you’ll have two days of relaxation to reflect on the myriad ways time has put a expiration date on the many loves that pass in and out of our lives. 

Or, if you’re looking for a more productive and pleasurable way to spend your time, you can head down to the cinema and dive headfirst into Kar-wai’s world with two of his best films as well as his latest. But if you’re looking for something more, there’s plenty of classics invading our cinemas this weekend—from British psychodramas to sci-fi thrillers and chillers. And alongside, we’d got some of the best premieres of the summer that show just how amazing some of independent cinema’s new talent truly is. So whatever your film fancy, peruse our list, find yourself a king size bag of candy and curl up in a darkened theater tomorrow night. Enjoy.  

 

Film Forum

The Servant
The Patience Stone
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
The Fearless Vampire Killers
Blacula
Creature From the Black Lagoon
The Incredible Shrinking Man

IFC Center

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
The Canyons
The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
El Topo
The Happy Sad
Prince Avalanche
A Perfect World
Una Noche
Devil’s Pass
Frances Ha

BAM

Blue Jasmine
Odds Against Tomorrow
Black Natchez
Fruitvale Station
The Spectacular Now
The World’s End
Nothing But a Man
Two Thousand Maniacs!
A Raisin in the Sun

Nitehawk

The Jerk
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
Fruitvale Station
In a World…
Caddy Shack
New York Ripper
It

Film Linc

Pink Flamingos
Short Term 12
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
Game Change
Therese
The 17th Parallel
Blackfish
La Commune
The Pirate
Attica 

MoMA

Shadows
Old Cats
The Student

Museum of the Moving Image

2046
In the Mood for Love
Midnight Cowboy
Coogan’s Bluff
The French Connection
Across 110th Street

Landmark Sunshine

Drinking Buddies
Cutie and the Boxer
In a World…
The Spectacular Now
Short Term 12
Footloose

Angelika Film Center

The Grandmaster
Therese
Lovelace
Austenland
Blue Jasmine

Go Deeper Into ‘Ain’t Them Bodies Saints’ With Director David Lowery at Lincoln Center + More

As one of the most thrilling new voices in cinema, director David Lowery’s Ain’t Them Bodies Saints has been capturing audiences with a sense of palpable beauty since its premiere at Sundance back in January. Sure, I’ll take a well-scored Casey Affleck-led southern crime drama love story any day, but this is truly something special. Harkening back to the Westerns of a bygone era of film and the American folklore that lives in the whispers of land, Lowery is certainly proving himself a filmmaker to be excited about. As Ben Foster referred to him when we spoke, he’s a man “not of this time,” antiquated in his sensibilities and possessing a great emotional intelligence, as well as the sharp articulation of someone who knows his craft.

Last week, when we spoke to Lowery, he told spoke about his love of cinema, saying:
 I initially got into movies because I loved Star Wars—so special effects and the wonder of that and seeing an illusion that feels completely real and the storytelling side of things. But now, it’s what you said about when you have you physical reaction. I go into movies hoping to have that—whether it’s an emotional experience that is very wrenching or something that feels like an assault or being provoked in some way, I really respond to that. I love movies that challenge me and push me around and that are difficult to digest—that’s something I value.
 
The movies that I hang onto the most are the ones I can’t quite get out of my system because they’ve dug their claws into me. It’s something about the synthesis of all these mediums that are coming together in one. And then the one pure thing that is explicitly cinematic is editing, and that’s why I think I’ve gravitated towards that,  because unlike every other art form—music is just auditory and paintings are visual, but you can look at a painting for however long you want—with film, you’re taking an image and explicitly saying, look at this shot for this long and then this one because the juxtaposition of those two are going to matter. It’s like alchemy, it excites me and fascinates me to no end. And whether it’s a romantic comedy or a really obscure experimental film, they’re both using the same language and I love seeing the interplay between those. 
But now, you can watch a 30-minute conversation with the director that took place at Lincoln Center this week as part of their Summer Talks. And if you’re looking to head even deeper into Lowery’s world and go behind the scenes, head over to Film.com to check out Bill and Turner Ross’ wonderful 13-minute film about the making of Ain’t Them Bodies Saints.
 

Actor Ben Foster on Becoming a True Gentleman in David Lowery’s ‘Ain’t Them Bodies Saints’

“I prefer not to have to make any movies, just prep,” says Ben Foster, whose dedication to his roles has made him a uniquely intense and sought after actor for quite some time now. Since his teen years, the now 32-year-old actor has navigated his way through the worlds of teenage romantic comedies to an award-winning stint on Six Feet Under to films like 3:10 to Yuma and Rampart—and with his latest turn, we get a glimpse at Foster as an old-fashion gentleman rare to appear on our screens in Ain’t Them Bodies Saints. As sheriff Patrick Wheeler in David Lowery’s beautifully textured ode to American folklore and the lovelorn Westerns of a bygone era, he fully immerses himself in the quietly passionate skin of his character who Lowery calls “a romantic, but is also more complex than that.” 

Telling the story of Ruth and Bob, a feverishly in love outlaw couple, the 1970s-set story kicks off after Ruth has accidentally wounded an officer in a Texas hills shootout. But rather than letting his love take the fall, Bob places the blame on himself and is sent away to prison. As the officer shot, Wheeler develops a keen interest in Ruth and her daughter, looking to protect them and care for them in a way that’s selfless and entirely decent. “He’s an old-fashioned romantic, and slightly shy,” says Lowery. “The kind of guy who might love a girl deeply, but wouldn’t think to impose those feelings on her if the time and place weren’t right.” And in order to play the role, Foster put in the time and research to give a fantastic performance alongside Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck, and Keith Carradine.
 
Earlier this week, I sat down with Foster to discuss his love for preparation, the lost tradition of gentlemen, and our love for A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

So I actually saw the film in February or March and that weekend I saw you in the plays section of Shakespeare & Co. I hadn’t had a chance to talk to anyone else about the movie yet, so I was going to see if you wanted to chat but by the time I did you were walking back up the stairs.

Well, hello now then. That’s a great book store.

 
Well, this was a great film. How did you come onboard and was there something that immediately attracted you to it?

My buddies produced it. I was thinking of doing a movie that’s also coming out called Kill Your Darlings, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to, and so I called up Jay and Lars and asked what they had going on. They’re my pals and I love what they’re after and they said, well actually, there’s a short film we want to send you called Pioneer by David Lowery and then they sent me the script. I read it that day and wanted to do it.
 
Had you been familiar with David’s work prior to that?

No, but I really responded to the short and loved the script. It felt to me an unreleased Willie Nelson record.
 
Oh, I like that. Did you two work together to bring Patrick to life? He’s someone that seems to devour films and I imagine is pretty wonderful to collaborate with.

Good choice of words…devour…Yes, he’s very well-read and versed in film. He’s collegiate. In terms of prepping, I took my pick-up and drove from New York through Texas. I drove through Texas for about a month to get the feel for it. I hadn’t been to Texas before and I just wanted to get a sense of the land. And then I ended up in midland, just looping back. They called the sheriff’s department there and they let me into the department and set me up on some ride alongs and I just became real friendly with them.
 
Had you done anything like that before to prepare for a role?

Oh yeah, sure. Not Texas sheriffs, but that’s the best part of the job—the prep. I prefer not to have to make any movies, just prep. 
 
Right, yeah getting to step into all of these different lives and be these people for a short while, I can’t imagine anything more fun.

It’s immersion journalism, except the end result isn’t an edited bit of language, it’s scenes that are cut together. But getting to spend time with these men and their families, you see what seems to be lost today is a traditional gentleman. I don’t read many scripts where we’re dealing with gentlemen. I see a lot of leading men, I see a lot of bad guys, but I don’t see gentleman, and I like that a lot. I met some true gentlemen down in Texas, and they carried guns and that didn’t make them bad either. I was so moved by being in that part of the country and seeing those values, which have been really bastardized in the media as of late. So being able to bring that back and bring that to David, we were able to fill in some things and take some things out and then you’re just cookin’ with people, you know?
 
I read that he saw your role as a surrogate for himself? Do you find him to be this kind of antiquated gentleman?

Yeah, he said that. He is a gentleman. He seems to be out of time, he’s not of this time.
 
How was acting opposite with Rooney? You two had a really strong presence on screen together.

I think she’s just a lovely actor, very strong and vulnerable, very present. I enjoyed very much working with her. You give something and some people just act at you and she’s with you. And that’s all you can really ask for with a partner.
 
Was there anything that struck you differently while working on set of this film? It seems like it was a pretty intimate and passionate experience.

I enjoyed it. I like this size film. It was a healthy-sized budget for an independent and we had trailers. We didn’t have trailers for Kill Your Darlings, so you know, it was kind of luxurious that way. It’s a sweet thing. I get to work with my buddies and learn about Texas and have my heart broken a little bit. It was nice.
 
You’ve been acting for a good number of years now. Do you find that you take something away from each role and lend it to your own life, or do you find life is the ultimate learning experience for your characters?
It’s both. Anything you put your attention on, you’ll effect it and it will effect you. It’s quilting. The best part of the job is researching and then you take a little bit of that and hopefully keep that light in your heart for the rest of your days—you keep the good parts. And then there are other gigs that wear on you in different ways and hopefully you can find the gift in that.
 
Are you able to shake off your character at the end of the day and get back to you?

Harder gettin’ out than gettin’ in.
 
When I was about eleven, I was a pretty huge fan of Get Over It. I suppose that was the first film I saw you in.
It’s cute, right? There’s singing and dancing.
 
It’s pretty funny to watch now because of how much you all have changed as actors but also how much culture has changed in terms of teenage portrayals and “teen movies.”

I liked that script too because it was sweet—initially it was sweet. But then it got less sweet as we were shooting. What it felt to me was more a traditional romantic comedy, but then it started getting punched into teen film and then you’ve got the fake tits and the stupid references but it was a really sweet script to begin with. Aesthetically,  it’s colorful.
 
Well, if anything it was my introduction to A Midsummer Night’s Dream and probably Shakespeare, because what else are you going to want to read when you’re eleven?
Well that was the first play I saw as a kid that made me want to act, so that was probably one of the reasons why. I never did it but I always wanted to do Puck. Maybe some day.

Capturing the Essence of a Feeling With ‘Ain’t Them Bodies Saints’ Director David Lowery

Reflecting on 2013 thus far, the world of independent cinema has given us some truly fascinating and entertaining films. But when it comes to the personal cinematic experience and the emotional drive I crave when viewing a movie, there have been two films which sparked up my nerves in just the right way and cut deep enough to bury themselves under my skin: Amy Seimetz’s expressionistic drama Sun Don’t Shine and Shane Carruth’s confounding love story Upstream Color. Potent with visceral feeling and rife with texture and tone, both films possess a tactile quality that’s presented through the juxtaposition of images and sound to create an emotion beyond words. And although Seimetz and Carruth carried their respective films as writers and directors, the two were linked by the one person who figured out just how to transpose their complex narratives to the screen, editing the pictures with delicacy and incredible attention to detail—and that, of course, was David Lowery. 

As an editor, director, writer, and general renaissance man of the artistic world, the Texas-born filmmaker has moved into territory of his own with his latest feature Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, proving he is well on his way to becoming a modern cinematic treasure. With a title that sounds as delicious rolling off the tongue as the film does unfolding moment by moment before our eyes, the richly textured picture plays out like an ode to the lovelorn Westerns of days gone by. Harkening back to cinema of the 1970s and American folklore of centuries past, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints tells the aching and poetic tale of Bob Muldoon (played by Casey Affleck) and Ruth Gutherie (played by Rooney Mara), a young couple in love and living outside the law. But after finding themselves in a Texas hills shootout—in which Bob takes the blame for Ruth’s accidental wounding of a sheriff—the two must face the expansive emptiness left in the wake of their separation as he’s incarcerated and she’s left to raise their daughter alone. 
 
When speaking to actor Ben Foster, he referred to Lowery as a man “out of time,” a gentleman “not of this time.” And with its slow-burning and beautifully flickering essence that entrances you into the screen, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints is a film haunted by the past. And as one of the most anticipated and beloved premieres to emerge out of Sundance this year, Lowery has made himself present as an incredibly refreshing and wonderful new voice in filmmaking. But for all his admiration of mythology and bygone eras of cinema, Lowery has created a film that not only reminds us of what we love and feel nostalgic for, but what the future can hold.
 
Earlier this week, I got the chance to sit down with Lowery to dive deeper into his desire to capture the essence of a feeling, not wanting to out his actors in a box, and his deeply passionate gravitation towards cinema.
 
Before going into the film, I hadn’t seen you previous shorts but must admit have been quite obsessed with the films you’ve edited. Sun Don’t Shine, and Upstream Color—which I’ve seen many, many times—are what initially drew me to this because I assumed it would have to be good if you were responsible for those.

It’s easy for me to say I’m more proud of that than anything else I’ve done because I didn’t direct it, but I am so proud of that movie.
 
So expanding from your short films to a larger narrative feature, what was the initial spark of the film for you? Did it come from one theme or image that struck you?

Thinking back on it, there are so many things that came into play. I have so many ideas all the time, and sometimes they just stick around your head a little bit longer and they’ll just hang around, and then they accumulate other ideas. This was one of them. It started off with this lark or this notion that I would write an action movie. I started that and it never went anywhere, but the seed idea, which was a guy breaking out of prison and going to look for his wife, that hung around. The things it accumulated in my head were a lot of classic narrative tropes, especially the archetypes of Westerns and old American folklore. It seemed like a good opportunity to explore those things, especially in music. I love folk songs and I love murder ballads and all the media that made America distinct in the earlier parts of the century. So it was really an accumulation of things.
 
I had that seed of a story, and I liked the idea of telling a really simple story and dealing with consequence and aftermath. The theme of growing up is something that’s always prevalent in everything that I do, so that was in there as well. And then more than anything else, it was trying to capture a tone. And part of it was a tone of old movies that I liked—1970s movies that are obviously a reference point—and trying to capture what those movies made me feel. But also trying to capture the way a lot of my favorite music makes me feel and to explore and luxuriate in a tonality that mattered to me.
 
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I was going to mentioned that the film felt so tone-heavy and the language it worked in was feeling, which is very much something that has a musicality to it. The dialogue wasn’t filled with exposition and what was said was only of importance.

Exactly. There’s really like no exposition in the movie whatsoever. 
 
Was that desire to tell a story through tone and emotion something that you initially sat down to write and how do you translate that sentiment onto the page?

It really came about when I as writing it. I would be writing it and I would get to a point where I could have made a conscious decision to go in a plot-heavy direction and have a plot mechanic take over, or I could just spend time hanging out with the characters. The first draft of the script took place over six months and Casey’s character just spent time at that house fixing it up—and that’s something that interested me. Ultimately that was pushing things too far but I just liked the idea of a guy in an old house and just watching what he would do there. But also the texture of that house, letting that be part of the story as well, and letting all those things that when you dial back the plot, all the little details and tones that can emerge in place of major plot points or tricky exposition.
 
I really loved the way you opened the film. Not only did it dive you right into the narrative and their relationship, but it also was so gorgeously composed and shot and drenched in the emotion that was at the core of the story.

That was something we came back to. When I wrote the script, it started off with a scene between them in the car, in the truck before a robbery. And that scene was written to be longer than what’s in the movie, but when we shot it, that was the first time Casey and Rooney had acted together, they’d barely met prior to that. So we shot it really late one night and the chemistry was just so strong immediately that I felt that it wasn’t enough. I felt like I wanted more time with these characters, so I wrote this new opening sequence that we didn’t actually have time to shoot until a few months later. We went back to Texas in October and shot a few new pieces and that was one of the things that we were dead set on getting—a new scene that would just drop you right into the relationship and get a sense of who they are separate from the crimes they were doing or anything like that. It was just like, here are these characters in a moment, let them fight, let them be fiery, let them run the gamut of emotion. It was a really fun scene to shoot and a really fun scene to come up with and was indeed the little bit that the movie needed at the beginning to really kick things off.
 

 
And speaking to the cinematography, whether it was the vast landscape or the overwhelming darkness, did you have any visual references that you went back to when creating the aesthetic language of the film?

With the cinematography, Bradford and I really turned to still photography a lot. It wasn’t so much that we had specific still photographers we would look at—although there were some—but we would look online and just find lots of things on Flickr that we thought looked right. We had this huge board filled with tons of pictures and we started to pick out ones where the colors or shadows worked, and gradually distilled it down to five or six that we felt represented the movie and those were really our reference points. We did look at movies, we talked about Heaven’s Gate and how that was so richly textured ad how the light was so defuse, and we talked about the darkness in Claire Denis movies, that exquisite darkness.
 
Also McCabe & Mrs. Miller in terms of Vilmos Zsigmond’s use of natural light and a textured darkness in order to bring you into the past.

Yeah, that too. We wanted the movie to look like an old piece of wood, that’s how we always talked about it, and that was a movie where they did that. They flashed the negative, they screwed up the negative to make it look as old and textured as possible—but we didn’t want to replicate it, we didn’t want to just do what they had done. We thought, okay we’re shooting on 35mm, we’re going to use old movie lights and old movie lenses, we’re going to use a lot of filtration, but we’re going to try to take it in a direction but use it as a starting point. We have this image that’s going to look old and let’s see where we can push it into new territories. And that’s were we came up with the idea of making the movie really, really dark and really pushing how far we could get the exposure, how low we could get the exposure while maintaining an image that is clean and pristine and beautiful and varnished. So we wanted to have an image that harkened back to these other movies but also went off in its own direction.
 
From watching your earlier work and reading your blog and learning more about it, you seem to not only be someone who loves to create films but envelops yourself in cinema entirely.

I try to!
 
What always interests me about filmmakers is their connection to film and why they’re so drawn to this medium above everything else. Whenever I go into a film, whatever it may be, I’m always looking to have a physical reaction to it and that’s a way for me to gage how I truly feel about it and love that experience. So what’s your personal relationship with cinematic experience?

It’s changed as I’ve gotten older. I initially got into movies because I loved Star Wars—so special effects and the wonder of that and seeing an illusion that feels completely real and the storytelling side of things. But now, it’s what you said about when you have you physical reaction. I go into movies hoping to have that—whether it’s an emotional experience that is very wrenching or something that feels like an assault or being provoked in some way, I really respond to that. I love movies that challenge me and push me around and that are difficult to digest—that’s something I value.
 
The movies that I hang onto the most are the ones I can’t quite get out of my system because they’ve dug their claws into me. It’s something about the synthesis of all these mediums that are coming together in one. And then the one pure thing that is explicitly cinematic is editing, and that’s why I think I’ve gravitated towards that,  because unlike every other art form—music is just auditory and paintings are visual, but you can look at a painting for however long you want—with film, you’re taking an image and explicitly saying, look at this shot for this long and then this one because the juxtaposition of those two are going to matter. It’s like alchemy, it excites me and fascinates me to no end. And whether it’s a romantic comedy or a really obscure experimental film, they’re both using the same language and I love seeing the interplay between those.
 
Film is such a new medium. I often think what would I have done if I’d been born 100 years ago, and I think that people have always thought cinematically. You listen to composers whose music lends itself so well to movies and it’s because they were thinking cinematically before cinema existed, and that’s really exciting to me. I think poetry is the same way, it’s a very analogous medium to cinema and there’s very cinematic poetry out there that functions in its rhythm and its meter much in the same way that film does and the way it plays out over a period of time. There’s so much opportunity in the medium and so much room to try out things and use that language in new ways, it’s great to have an art form that can grow with you as you discover new things and it can change as well.
 
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So do you find yourself gaining most of your emotional insight for a film through poetry or literature, things outside of film to inform you?
Yeah, I really try not to think too much about other movies when I’m making a movie. When you’re in such a fast-paced emotional, arduous situation, it’s very easy to just fall back on things you seen before and what I try to do more than anything else, is just use feeling and gut instinct to guide my way. So a lot of that comes from music or literature or other art forms, and rather than trying to copy or transpose, say, a song into the movie, I could quote lyrics—and I’m not above that because I did that in this movie—but more important than that is trying to approximate the way that song makes me feel. If that song makes me feel a certain way, I want to find a way to use the medium of my choice to use that same feeling and that same tone in the form of a movie. I read books while I was shooting, I listened to music, I’m just always trying to wrap myself around…
 
A very particular feeling.

Yes, a feeling that I’m trying to communicate. And to me, that’s more important than storytelling. I love stories, I love characters and they certainly take precedence, but in the perimeters of the beginning and the end of the movie, I want there to be this beautiful arc of tonality that is just something you can experience and luxuriate in.
 
Well that’s certainly something you helped weave into Upstream Color and Sun Don’t Shine, which are two films completely told in texture and feeling in a way that’s almost overwhelming but speaks so loudly and lends itself to allowing you to really succumb to them.

It was really great to get to work on those movies at the point that I did because it was the perfect marriage of my own sensibilities developing to a point alongside these other filmmakers that wanted to push boundaries or make an experience like that. I consider myself very lucky that they both asked me to work on their films because it was a wonderful opportunity  to dive head first into a mode of storytelling that I was very interested in and already leaning towards. And with Upstream Color that’s a case where I was really able to jump in and push things further than I would have done in my own work, and that’s what Shane wanted, and it was a joy.
 
When you were writing the film, did you have anyone in mind for the roles? Casey seems like an obvious choice in retrospect because he’s so much of that world. But Rooney, this was a different role for her and we haven’t seen her be this maternal before.

I wrote it thinking that I would make it for no money and I wasn’t going to cast anyone reputable—they’d be good actors but they’d be unknown. I felt that was the most efficient way to make the movie because I didn’t want to wait until an actor said yes to get to make it. So when the opportunity came up to get it to other actors, the most important thing was that not only they be great actors but that they not feel like modern actors sticking out in a period piece. Casey instantly I wanted. He can be in any time period, and I just love listening to him talk. He’s got these letters, he’s got this storytelling he does in the movie, and it was a great opportunity to just listen to him speak at great length and he has a wonderful presence and wonderful voice and he’s so idealistic and he has such a  youthful quality to him that I thought he’d be perfect. 
 
I’ve had him saying “And someday, it will be so,” stuck in my head since I saw the trailer—but go on.

Well, then with Rooney, we sent her the script, I thin,  the week Girl With the Dragon Tattoo came out and I thought there would never be a chance in a million years that she’d read it let alone respond to it. But she did and she read it and watched my short film and wanted to do it. It wasn’t so much a case of whether I thought she could be maternal or not, I was interested in how she handled having to be a mother. She could have either come to set and said—I don’t feel comfortable with being a mother and I don’t want to engage with this child. And if she did that, we would have just gone in that direction because I’m always interested in what an actor is going to bring to a part, rather than forcing them into a box.
 
I’ve known plenty of people like that, that didn’t expect to have a child and don’t quite have that relationship that you always hope to have with a child, and that’s not a happy situation but if that had been the case, I was totally prepared to make that part of her character. But the little girls who played her daughter, they just bonded so quickly and so instantly and she was so sensitive to them and so instantly maternal that it was wonderful to watch them bond over the course of the shoot.
 
Do you feel like you learned a lot as a filmmaker through the making of this? You mentioned something on your blog about never being more naive then in the beginning of shooting the film.
Yeah. I’ve always had confidence what I’m doing and where I’m going—I’ve never known completely where that is, I’m always fumbling in the dark, but I’ve had confidence in that fumbling. But with this film, what I really learned was how to take those little instincts and those things I can’t quite quantify or explain and those feelings and apply them to a major motion picture production. Everything I’ve made in the past was so small and so handmade and that process was always so important to me, to get that same effect and that same methodology to work within the confines of a movie set. This is still a tiny budgeted movie, but for me this was huge and you’ve got trucks and lots of crew that you have to communicate to. So learning how to get what I want out of that situation is what I learned the most. There are plenty of cases where I fell short on the set because I didn’t know to handle it or didn’t know when I could say yes or no—I didn’t realize that I could say no to things if I didn’t want them, I thought everyone knew more than I did in this situation. But in fact, everyone’s there to make the movie that they signed on make based on the script and they’re trusting me to do it, and I realized that I can stand my ground and say this isn’t working and it will be okay, no one will get mad at me. I’m always worried people will get mad at me. So going forward, whether my movies are bigger or smaller, regardless of how much personal confidence I have in what I’m doing, I have a great deal more know-how in terms of how to get that in the machine of a motion picture shoot.

From David Lowery to Werner Herzog, Here’s What You Should Be Seeing This Weekend in New York City

Now that it’s neither raining nor swelteringly humid, this weekend is the perfect time to indulge in your favorite sumer outdoor activities. But really, why would you when you could spend your lazy days curled up in a darkened cinema diving into a world outside your own? And with a generous helping of fantastic films screening and premiering this weekend, there’s certainly something to tickle every film fancy. 

From David Lowery’s poetic ode to to lovelorn Westerns and Zachary Heinzerling’s meditation on love and art to Woody Allen’s most compelling film in years and Michelangelo Antonioni’s subtle killer, there’s really no reason to not shell out the money to get yourself into a theater this weekend. And to make your decision easier, I’ve rounded up the best of what’s playing around New York, so grab yourself a large bag of Twizzlers, and take a moment to breathe.

IFC Center

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
The Canyons
Crystal Fairy
Drug War
Frances Ha
Jaws
Museum Hours
Prince Avalanche
The Searchers
The Swarm
This is Martin Bonner

 

BAM 

Blue Jasmine
Crisis + The Children Were Watching
Portrait of Jason
Shaun of the Dead
Hot Fuzz
The Learning Tree
To Kill a Mockingbird

Nitehawk 

I Spit on Your Grave
Fruitvale Station
In a World…
Only God Forgives
Prince Avalanche
Beautiful Losers

FilmLinc 

Aguirre, the Wrath of God
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
Lovelace
Our Children
The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser
The Manitou
Too Big to Fail
Heart of Glass
Signs of Life
The Three Musketeers
Fitzcarraldo

Film Forum 

Computer Chess
Intolerance
The Patience Stone
Godzilla
Mothra
Psycho
Peeping Tom
The Magician
The Tingler

 

Museum of the Moving Image 

The Grandmaster
My Blueberry Nights
Superfly
Rosemary’s Baby
Little Murders
The Landlord
The Angel Levine

MoMA 

L’Avventura
Until the Light Takes Us

Landmark Sunshine 

Cutie and the Boxer
Videodrome
In a World…
The Spectacular Now
The Act of Killing
Blackfish

Watch the Gorgeous First Trailer for David Lowery’s ‘Ain’t Them Bodies Saints’

This spring has been rife with fantastic films, and with summer on our heels it looks as though we’re in store for some truly great cinematic moments—from both directors we worship and those who are at the precipice of their careers.  And when it comes to the latter, David Lowery is one of the most refreshing and wonderful new voices in filmmaking to appear on our radar in recent memory. After editing the stunningly brilliant Upstream Color with Shane Carruth,  Lowery blew everyone away at Sundance with his crime drama / tragic Texas romance Ain’t Them Bodies Saints which will roll into theaters come August. The lens-flared and sun burnt film is as aesthetically alluring and well-crafted as it’s moving performances from Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara, and Ben Foster who take on the story of:

Bob Muldoon (Casey Affleck) and Ruth Guthrie (Rooney Mara), an impassioned young outlaw couple on an extended crime spree, are finally apprehended by lawmen after a shootout in the Texas hills. Although Ruth wounds a local officer, Bob takes the blame. But four years later, Bob escapes from prison and sets out to find Ruth and their daughter, born during his incarceration.
 
Set against the backdrop of 1970’s Texas Hill Country, first time director David Lowery paints a poetic picture, evoking the mythology of westerns and saturating the dramatic space with an aching sense of loss. Featuring powerful performances by Affleck and Mara as well as Ben Foster and Keith Carradine, AIN’T THEM BODIES SAINTS is a story of love, motherhood and searching for peace while faced with an unrelenting past. 
And with a first trailer for the film we get an lovelorn voiceover from the always wonderful Affleck, set against the sun-drenched Texan landscape and the action that follows, as well as a taste of the sweeping yet delicate score. See the beautiful first trailer for yourself HERE.
 
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Getting Excited for Our Most Anticipated Summer Films

With Memorial Day sneaking upon us this weekend, summer is right on our heels. And as is traditional for the cinematic season, our theaters are about to be inundated with a slew of big-budget blockbusters, dominating the box office and luring in crazed audiences around the world. But if that’s doesn’t seem to tickle your film affinity, between the cracks of massive Hollywood studio pictures, are some of the year’s most-anticipated and brilliant features from Xavier Dolan and David Lowery, to Joss Whedon and Pedro Almodovar, to Sofia Coppola and David Gordon Green—to name a few. So as we get closer to June, July, and August’s wonderful releases, let’s get excited about what will be premiering this summer. Enjoy.

Mucho Ado About Nothing, Joss Whedon

Laurence Anyways, Xavier Dolan

I’m So Excited, Pedro Almodovar

Dirty Wars, Ricky Rowley

Violet and Daisy, Geoffrey Fletcher

The Bling Ring, Sofia Coppola

Berberian Sound Studio, Peter Strickland

The Way, Way Back, Nat Faxon & Jim Rash

Fruitvale Station, Ryan Coogler

Only God Forgives, Nicolas Winding Refn

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, David Lowery

Prince Avalance, David Gordon Green