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.
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.