Friday, April 25, 2014
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
|Macon Blair (left) and Jeremy Saulnier (right) at the New York premier of Blue Ruin at BAM|
When I first met Jeremy Saulnier, he was selling me shoes at a stoop sale on our block Brooklyn. He told me they were props in a movie he made called Murder Party, and that as such they were very valuable. I bought the shoes, and later rented his movie and I loved it. I saw Jeremy walking his dogs a couple weeks later and chatted him up and somehow after that we became friends.
In the years since Murder Party, Jeremy has shot tons of stuff for other people, most notably pairing with Matt Porterfield as the Director of Photography on a number of his films including Putty Hill and I Used To Be Darker. The New Yorker described those efforts thusly:
“...their collaboration is as fruitful and as essential as that of Jean-Luc Godard and Raoul Coutard in the nineteen-sixties, in that it’s not about lighting but, rather, about light. Saulnier’s daring attention to light and acceptance of shadow (no mere stunt but an essential aspect of Porterfield’s compositions and, for that matter, emotional world) should be a model for young directors of photography everywhere.”
After many years of making other people’s films, Jeremy set about making another of his own. He says it was a last-ditch effort to prove he belonged as a filmmaker. He would serve as writer, director of photography, and director. He cast his lifelong friend, Macon Blair, as the lead. He shot the film on a tight budget, cleaning out his savings and calling in favors. He bet the house to make Blue Ruin, and his gamble has paid off.
Blue Ruin debuted as Cannes as part of their Directors’ Fortnight and within hours of its first screening was acquired by a major distributor. After almost a year on the festival circuit and a steady stream of awards and feature articles, the film had its New York premier last night at BAM in a theater filled with cast and crew, family and friends.
I was thrilled to be there and to get to finally see the film I’d been hearing about for so long, and it exceeded all expectations. As expected for Saulnier, it looks absolutely gorgeous, and at times, delightfully gory. Blair is amazing as Dwight, the ungainly assassin. A revenge genre film at its core, the story is kept tight and tensions run high from beginning to end, but it’s not without moments of poetry and dark comedy and thoughtful introspection.