Visiting “The Beautiful Place”: An Interview with Lian Lunson, director of Waiting for the Miracle to Come (2019)

“If only our parents were born at the same moment we were. How much heartache would be spared. But parents and children can go only go after each other, not with each other. And the distance always lies between us, which nothing but love can change.” – Waiting for the Miracle to Come

Director and producer Lian Lunson has made a number of piercing and poignant documentaries/concert films featuring legendary singer-songwriters, like Willie Nelson: Down Time (1997), Leonard Cohen I’m Your Man (2005), and the gorgeous concert film Sing Me the Songs That Say I Love You: A Concert for Kate McGarrigle (2012), where Lunson filmed the tribute concert for Kate McGarrigle at Town Hall in New York, hosted by McGarrigle’s children, Rufus and Martha Wainwright. (I wrote about Sing Me the Songs for my site.) Lunson’s style is meditative and dreamy, passionate and gentle. She allows space for the audience to enter into the music, the words, the experience. Lian has just directed her first feature film, Waiting for the Miracle to Come, starring Willie Nelson and Charlotte Rampling, to be released on April 29th (which also happens to be Nelson’s 86th birthday). Lunson’s connection to Nelson goes back decades (her 1997 documentary was her first directing job). Waiting for the Miracle to Come was filmed on Willie Nelson’s ranch in Texas, a place steeped in history, his and ours. The film, too, is soaked in that history. You can feel it in every frame.

Waiting for the Miracle to Come is a dream-like story, literally sprinkled with gold dust, shimmering across the screen. A young woman named Adeline (Sophie Lowe) follows the instructions in a letter from her dead father to go to a town called Ransom and find The Beautiful Place. The Beautiful Place is a “museum” in the middle of nowhere, a small oasis where a pink house and a little blue trailer sit, twined around with Christmas lights. Off to the side is a small barn which has been transformed into an old-timey “dance hall.” A neon WELCOME sign perches on the roof. Living there are Jimmy (Willie Nelson) and Dixie (Charlotte Rampling) Webb, who take in horses, welcome people who show up wanting to look around (as they do to Adeline) and who appear to exist in a state of tense waiting, staring down the dusty drive for someone they long to see again. Dixie lives her life as Marilyn Monroe, giving occasional performances in the dance hall, where people drive in from all over to see the show.

Like Alice in Wonderland, Adeline steps through the iron gates into The Beautiful Place, a world where time has stood still, where Jimmy and Dixie wait. Adeline doesn’t know why her father sent her to this place. Jimmy and Dixie both say they don’t recognize her father’s name. Waiting for the Miracle to Come casts a spell, where you feel like you have stepped through the Beautiful Place gates into a space where past and present co-exist, where the barrier between life and death is porous. For some people, like Adeline’s anguished mother Betty (Sile Birmingham), pain is ruinous, contracting all possibility. For Jimmy and Dixie, pain has resulted in total stasis: they are afraid to move forward because only by standing still in the same spot will their “miracle” happen. They look at the gleaming-eyed Adeline, who shows up out of nowhere, with wonder.

Lunson, as a director, is drawn to lights. Every frame glimmers and twinkles. She’s sensitive to the way air moves, lifting hair up, ruffling bird feathers. There’s space in her work. There’s breath. When gold dust shimmers across the screen, you step into the dream with Adeline, with the audience at Dixie’s show, with the onlookers watching Adeline soar by on the trapeze in the air. Dreams can have more reality than reality. Dreams can literally keep us going. Dixie dresses up like Marilyn Monroe because in so doing she enters a dream of light, a dream of being someone else.

Comfort like this is not to be mocked. Tennessee Williams’ heroines understand this well, clinging to their “illusions”, insisting the world can still be beautiful, even with all its pain, unfairness, and cruelty. Such people are called delusional, silly, childish – then and now. Waiting for the Miracle to Come is extremely delicate material, and Lunson proceeds with the perfect touch. There’s a sweetness here, but it’s sweetness pierced by loss, compromise, suffering. When Adeline climbs the ladder to the trapeze, her hair whipping in the night wind, her torso wrapped with a string of blinking white Chirstmas lights, she is a figure from a fairy-tale, a myth, a legend … filled with power, touched by grace.

There’s magic in Waiting for the Miracle to Come. Not manufactured magic, not trite magic. But the real deal.

It’s in Charlotte Rampling’s eyes, deep pools of torment gleaming over her gracious smile. It’s in Willie Nelson’s eyes, too, big and haunted, just like Rampling’s, big sad eyes sparked with hard-won humor and kindness. The magic is in Sophie Lowe, too, standing between these two icons, vibrating with openness to them, alert with natural curiosity. The magic comes from Lian Lunson’s sensibility and her ability to translate it to the screen, her care with the details, her love for these characters.

I’ve been a fan of Lian’s work for a long time. She came into my personal orbit through my writing on Elvis. She is the biggest Elvis fan I know, so her support of what I was trying to do and say in my Elvis essays meant a whole lot!

It was a great pleasure to talk with Lian about Waiting for the Miracle to Come.

Your film is like going into a dream. There’s something very magical about it but at the same time it is very very grounded. The way dreams can be. I want to ask you about the genesis of this project, but first, could you talk a little bit about the dream-like quality?

I think that when you’re dealing with subjects that are difficult, it’s easier to do so through a fantasy dream-like world. There’s a lot of Me in this film. My father left when I was 2. I didn’t contact him until I was an adult. There is such a terrible terrible fear, like “What if he says no to me? What if he rejects me?” It’s paralyzing. When I used to fantasize about my father, when I wondered what he was like and where he was, it was always in a beautiful place. And so The Beautiful Place in the film is that place when you dream about something that you want. When we dream about something we want, it’s always beautiful. People are broken inside of the beautiful place, but it’s where dreams go.

For me, the two men in the film sacrifice themselves subconsciously – by choice – to bring these women together. Charlotte’s character looks at it that way as well. I do believe that when somebody passes, someone you really love, if you can get past the grief, you can almost see an avenue line up that is new and different. It’s almost like some people can do only a certain amount here as a soul, but they can do more on the other side. My father died not long after I met him. I felt him very much in my life then.

I love the moment where Willie sees Adeline walking and talking with her father. She thought she was the only one who could see her father.

Let me say something about Willie and that moment: The other dimension is that Jimmy is seeing into his future. He’s seeing her father because he’s getting close to that point himself.

The veil.

Yes. He sees through it on his last day.

We must talk about Willie Nelson and the fact that you filmed it on his ranch.

I shot a documentary with Willie in the mid-90s (Willie Nelson: Down Home) and I filmed it all there. I was a huge fan of Red Headed Stranger and that set was built for Red Headed Stranger on his property, and rather than burn it down when the film was over, Willie said, “Leave it.” It’s so beautiful to be in that world, with so much history. He created his own little town on his ranch. I really wanted to shoot the film there and I didn’t think I could, for tax breaks or other financial reasons. One of our investors was from Texas, though, and everything sort of lined up so I could shoot there. It’s such a magical place. To drive through those gates every day was such a gift. I remember Charlotte on her last day just walking around the property and taking it all in before she left. There’s just some sort of energy there. It’s Willie, it’s the history of what they tried to do in Red Headed Stranger, the movie and the album are there. We built the pink house in Willie’s field, but we did the interior house in one of the Red Headed Stranger buildings. I am so happy we got to do that. It’s very personal to Willie as well.

That little town is also on his ranch?


With the chandeliers as streetlamps?

Well, I added the chandeliers.

You love light.

I love light so much! I have to have lights wherever I go. My house is lit like a circus.

Tell me about bringing Charlotte Rampling on to play Dixie. She was magnificent.

I have been a huge fan of Charlotte Rampling’s since Georgy Girl. I fell in love with her as a little kid, and I followed her career as I grew up. Charlotte is such a brave brave actor and I think she is under-appreciated in America in that way. She’s appreciated in Europe. She’s gotten every award there is to get. To see a woman like this, who was such a beauty, let herself age – and of course she’s still beautiful – but it’s such a great example to women. What I love about Charlotte is she’s brave and she supports filmmakers like me. This was my first feature, and she said Yes. This was something different for her. The idea of playing Willie Nelson’s wife, or that she would get to dress up like Marilyn Monroe – that was so different for her, and she really wanted to do it. That’s the beauty of Charlotte. It’s not about her career. She doesn’t try to maneuver her career. If you look at her movies, it’s about the work and taking risks and experimentation. That’s what’s so wonderful about her.

I imagine you had no rehearsal.

I had no rehearsal and also I had to shoot the film in 18 days. I only had time for 1 or 2 takes. What I did was I let the actors do what they instinctively felt they should do. I wanted them to be authentic. I kept saying, “Just do this the way you feel you should do it.” I didn’t want it to feel like it’s a performance in any way. And that’s all I really said. I didn’t really direct them at all.

The second you see Willie and Charlotte together, you know they have been together forever. They almost looked alike, too, with their big sad beautiful eyes. When he would say the word “We” – it was never “I” – it felt so natural. They were totally a “we”.

The weird thing was, that just happened. They had such incredible chemistry right away. I felt that it would happen but I didn’t know it would happen like that, that they would be so comfortable with each other. They were able to connect to this love between the characters, they created it in a way that was very authentic. They were very natural together. It felt like they had known each other forever.

And how did you find Sophie Lowe, your wonderful young ingenue.

I had seen Sophie in a brilliant Australian movie directed by Rachel Ward called Beautiful Kate and it stars Ben Mendelsohn and Sophie. Ben was living in my guest house at the time and I asked him if he could reach out to Sophie Lowe, because I thought I wanted her for my movie. He emailed Sophie and we set up a Skype call, and that was it for me. She was perfect. Also, she had done gymnastics. She could do trapeze! I was sort of pressured to put a star in the role but I needed someone who didn’t have anything in their face, no other associations. What is so wonderful about Sophie is – she’s such an innocent girl, and when she acts, there’s no judgment. She’s this vessel who keeps taking everything in, but she’s very strong about it at the same time. I wanted her to be strong because the character had to overcome things. But I also wanted her to be innocent and vulnerable and open. Accepting.

And Sile Birmingham was amazing. In the character of Betty, you see what life can do to people, how it can destroy. You have the innocence of Adeline, and the open faces of Jimmy and Dixie, but then you have Betty, this raw nerve walking around …

Sile really fought for the role. She heard about it, heard I was casting it out of LA, and reached out to me on Facebook. She kept sending me tapes, and then one day, I was coming out of Trader Joe’s and I saw her driving into the Trader Joe’s parking lot, and I recognized her from all the tapes she sent. I was like, “Okay. It’s meant to be. I have to talk to this person.” She really came after the role. She did a wonderful job.

There was such a poignant quality to the scenes at The Beautiful Place, Dixie’s Marilyn Monroe act, Adeline on the trapeze, and something about it made me think of Tennessee Williams’ characters. His characters are often tormented by the past, but there are precious things in the past, too. You managed to capture that feeling.

What Betty goes through is exactly what you go through when you go to face a parent who has left you. Most adoption stories are very happy but a lot of them aren’t. The rejection you feel at an early age is very deep and the fear of reaching out is so traumatic. Sile’s portrayal of that – I mean, that’s what it’s like. You’re so scared. What I wanted for Willie and Charlotte was that the characters’ real-ness and authenticity and faith worked together to bring this reunion about. I think magical things can happen like that, and they do happen in a strange way, and you think “How did I get myself here?” And you realize it’s the thoughts and energies of different people all around who have guided you to this place.

Everyone in the film – even the smaller characters – all feel very real. The people who show up for Dixie’s show, the boy Adeline talks to in town, they all had a very human quality, but they were part of the magic, too. They were inside the dream.

It’s really hard these days to get actors not to act. That’s how I tried to cast it as well because I knew I wouldn’t have time to break any bad acting habits. Actors learn all these bad habits and when they get nervous in front of the camera, those habits really show themselves, and I didn’t have time to deal with it. When I was casting, I kept that in mind the whole time. Everyone was very authentic and I was very grateful for that.

I realize I have a one-track mind, but there was something about the opening of the gate, and the little hearts lining the drive, and the lights everywhere – that made me think of Graceland.

Well, you got that right!

People who call Graceland “tacky” don’t understand.

They don’t at all. If you are bonded to Elvis, like we are, it comes through everything. It just does.

Could you talk to me about Wim Wenders’ and Bono’s involvement as exec. producers?

Wim has always been my mentor. He’s been involved in all of my films. He came on board and he was really helpful. He helped me reach out to actors. He didn’t have anything to do with the shoot, but he was very encouraging. Bono didn’t have a really big role, but he introduced me to Mark Rodgers, who’s this beautiful man who pulled the financing together for the film. Rodgers worked on The Hill for 16 years, and now he’s all about raising money for good causes and he saw this film as a good cause. He’s been its champion all along. Bono introduced me to him and then Bono also wrote a song for Willie to sing at the end.

Hearing Willie Nelson singing that song written by Bono over the end credits was just goosebump-worthy.

Mickey Raphael is one of my best friends and he helped pull it all together. He said, “You know, Willie has never sang in this key before.” It’s so beautiful, very broken and beautiful. Bono is a very dear friend of mine. And here’s a story about how things sometimes happen. Many years ago, I was here as an actress. It must have been 1986 or 1987. We were all in the Sunset Marquis – Bono, me, and Michael Hutchence was with us – and Bono was playing a song on the piano. It was about 4 in the morning and it was such a beautiful song, and I asked him what it was. Bono said, “You’re gonna love this story, Lian. I wrote this song for Willie Nelson.” We all loved Elvis and Willie Nelson. I said, “What? What happened? Did he record it?” He said, “It’s a very embarrassing story. I sent the song to Willie Nelson and I never heard back. He didn’t respond. And I felt so embarrassed because here I was, this upstart rock star, sending one of the greatest songwriters of our time a song.” He was appalled at what he had done. He was so appalled he could barely talk about it. Cut to years later, I had been asked to make a video and an EPK for Willie Nelson. Willie Nelson was my first directing job, which is ironic. His manager called me and asked me where did I want to shoot it? Willie was touring Europe. We could shoot it in Amsterdam, Ireland. I said, “Let’s shoot it in Ireland.” The manager didn’t know that I knew Bono, didn’t know the whole story, but he said, out of nowhere, “You know, Bono wrote Willie a song once and sent it to Willie and Willie just didn’t know what to do with it.” I hung up the phone, and immediately called Bono. I said, “Willie knows about the song! Willie remembers the song!” So I meet Willie in Ireland and I take him directly to U2’s studio. They’re all nervous, and Bono keeps saying to everyone [whispers], “Don’t mention the song, don’t mention the song…” During dinner, Bono brings up the song, and Willie said, “It’s a great song.” Bono said, “Do you want to sing it now?” And Willie said, “Sure!” And I had my camera downstairs, and I shot Willie recording Bono’s song, and I put it in the documentary. The weird symmetry of all this is – I didn’t know Willie Nelson at the time. I was an actress back then. I brought Willie Nelson to Bono to do the same song that Bono had played for me on the night at the Sunset Marquis years before. Bono was sitting across the table from me looking at me like, “How did this happen?”

There is something about the way you love what you love – like Elvis, or Willie Nelson, or Leonard Cohen – it shows up in your other films, too … it brings people together. It’s not just about being a fan. It’s something else.

When I was a child, I was very religious. No one else in my family was. The first time I saw Elvis was his Hawaii special. I was about 10. When he sang the spiritual songs, I saw in him what I was feeling. I had never seen it before. I could see in him what I felt inside. It was shocking to my core. From that age, he entered my system as somebody that I related to, and had come to relate to me, when nobody else did at that time. When I go to work on projects in my career, if I’m not going to learn something, or spiritually grow in the experience, then there’s no point in me doing it. I have done all of these projects with deeply spiritual people, and I’m drawn to those people because they have something to teach me, and as I’m making the project, I’m taking in what they share and I come out of it a better person. Making Miracle was like that. It was a leap of faith, in a lot of ways. I am really interested in trying to capture the unseen in all my projects. It’s quite hard to do. The symbols of the unseen world – the unseen world that I know – are there in The Beautiful Place.

Speaking of capturing the feeling of an unseen world: How did you work with your cinematographer, Kimberly Culotta? And how did you gather together your team, in general?

Most of my keys were women. I didn’t choose them because they were women. I chose them because they were good. I think it’s demeaning to women to hire them just because they’re women. You hire them because they’re good at what they do. Kimberly had never done a film like this. I looked at her reel and her reel was exactly what I didn’t want. I had a choice of either going with a big DP who was fatherly and telling me what to do because it was my first film – or going with someone where we could jump in together, and I chose that. I chose to take a risk with her. In pre-production, she did a huge book of storyboards. I am not one of those people who works like that, set up this shot, get this shot here, switch around and get the other way. I’m not going to cut like that, either. So the first day, I tried to do it her way, and I tried to follow her storyboards. It just wasn’t going to work, though. We only had 18 days. The other thing was, the lighting was very tricky in the beginning. Everyone over-lights things. I told them to take all the lights down, they just needed to use a soft pink light. I said to Kimberly after the first day, “The only way we’re going to get it done is if we shoot hand-held.” And she did it, she carried that camera the whole time. And she was so tiny. She did such a great job.

I would never have guessed this wasn’t her natural style. She really got your vision.

We put a black net – like they used to do in old Hollywood films – over the camera. Everything is shot through a black net so it gives the image a dreamy old-Hollywood look. I knew what I wanted and Kimberly was there and went along with me and that was the best way to do it. You have to take a risk. And to hire people – to give them a break in their career – you have to take a risk. It’s like any person’s career. Someone has to give you a break. So I gave her this break. And now she’s a gardener. She hasn’t shot anything since. She’s a very interesting person which is why I liked her. She was a bit eccentric. I thought, “You know what? That’s my gal. We can do this together.” We took a leap, and it worked.

I imagine part of the struggle of being a director – especially on a first feature – is to get everybody on the same page.

People are trained to do things a certain way because that’s what most people want. I came in, and didn’t want any of that. It was hard for some people, which wasn’t their fault. They were trying to do their job as well. Willie had the SXSW Luck Reunion about 5 days into our shoot, so we were not allowed to build anything on his ranch until that was over. So for those days, I was shooting one person in a scene, but then I couldn’t shoot the other person until about 5 days later because we had nothing built behind them. I didn’t see the interior of the Beautiful Place until we were ready to shoot. They did a brilliant job. They pulled the whole interior – the floor, the paint, the pictures – together in one evening and half a day.

And the props person – he created Jimmy’s book, and he created the whole thing, every page of it, and authenticity like that really comes out, you can feel it. It’s hard to ask people to do something completely different from what they know. And even our AD wanted to quit halfway through because I wouldn’t give her an update every morning of what I was going to shoot. I told her, “I need to feel what I need to do in the moment, and I know that’s going to make your job a little harder, but if the light is good out there, we have a handheld camera and you just have to work with me.” I had directed documentary films, and in documentary, you have to let the magic happen, you have to let the film dictate itself in a way. You feel certain things and you know you’re meant to do it a certain way, and you need to be ready to catch moments, and that’s the way I work. It was challenging for her. But then there were moments when we were going to shoot a scene, a scene I had worked on for 2 years – and we’d only have half an hour to shoot it – and I was in tears, honestly, and she’d say, “We’ve got to get started, let’s shoot it, let’s go” – and she was brilliant in that way. Without her doing that, pushing me, I wouldn’t have got it done. I hope that it was good for her in the end, that she got to work with someone who did things differently.

The proof is in the result. It’s a beautiful film. Something like this could have been very precious. There wasn’t a moment, though, that I didn’t feel every character’s unfinished business. Even Sophie’s character. Her innocence has secret and loss in it. Unfinished business is why we have art.

When Dixie and Betty meet for the first time, I didn’t know what Charlotte was going to do in that moment, I just said, “Go for it, do whatever you want” – and then she put her hands up to Sile’s face in that beautiful way. I didn’t tell her to do that. I didn’t tell her to do anything. It’s been a really difficult experience in a lot of ways but also a very beautiful one. The beauty of Mark Rodgers was that he had such faith in the film and continues to have faith in it. You don’t often get to work with people in that capacity who have faith in you, a spiritual faith in you. Willie came to it spiritually and Charlotte got it spiritually, too. Charlotte kept saying to me, “The spirituality of this is just so beautiful.” She said in an interview, “It’s very hard to find stories like this that aren’t sappy, or trying to convey a message.”

The spiritual aspect is obviously a huge part of the film, and not just in the “miracle” part of it. I am thinking of Charlotte’s line – which is also a tribute to your writing, by the way – about Marilyn Monroe: “She was a bright bright light dressed as a person.” I don’t know if Marilyn has ever been described so perfectly.

When you grow up and you don’t have a dad, you put on a shield, you become a different person to deal with your reality. If you imagined yourself with a big strong dad who was there to protect you, you would honestly feel different. And so there’s a little bit of that in Charlotte’s character. People often do that. They pretend to be somebody else because it’s better than being who they are. I was really inspired by this story – and it’s so strange beause it’s unrelated – but it’s a story about a woman who was homeless and this writer became fascinated with her. She told a tragic story about how she came to be living on the streets. She had come home one day and found that her husband had hacked her children to death. This writer found out that it wasn’t the real story: she was living with that image because it was easier for her to live with than to acknowledge that she’d left her children. She’d walked out on them. This story has always stayed with me. You can understand it. Something as traumatic as that … The guilt was so much that her punishment was living on the streets and telling people this other story. You don’t know what’s in people’s pasts. They tell you stories, and often you don’t hear the real story. I think that’s important to portray in some way. Dixie sees Marilyn as a bright bright light. She wants to cling to that light and it’s why she becomes somebody else. She can’t be who she is. And I love that Jimmy just goes along with it. He loves Dixie so much that it doesn’t faze him at all that she wants to be Marilyn Monroe.

I feel very honored and privileged and lucky that these people allowed me to make Miracle. It’s very hard to make a film like this these days. The films I love – films like Ponette and Baghdad Cafe … these films leave you with something. The people who allowed me to make Miracle knew it would be a challenge, but they helped me to do it. That doesn’t happen very often. Without them, I would never have gotten to do it.

It’s so great that the film is being released on Willie Nelson’s 86th birthday. I saw him at Outlaw Fest a couple of years ago, and, as you know, he is even more extraordinary live. It was like he cast a spell on us, especially with his guitar-playing. It’s otherworldly, almost like jazz.

He’s such a genius. One night when we were shooting, I took Sophie and Charlotte to go see Merle Haggard and Willie play together. Merle got really sick right after that, so we were so grateful we got to see him. It was not lost on me how amazing a moment it was. I will always remember that precious precious night. The night I went to see Merle and Willie with Charlotte Rampling.

Waiting for the Miracle to Come arrives tomorrow, April 29, on VOD and DVD/Blu-Ray, including a Special Collector’s Edition. Look for it on iTunes. More information on the film’s site.

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6 Responses to Visiting “The Beautiful Place”: An Interview with Lian Lunson, director of Waiting for the Miracle to Come (2019)

  1. mutecypher says:

    This sounds wonderful, just pre-ordered it on iTunes. It seems a shame that it won’t be projected on a big screen.

    I love Lian’s beautiful images on Instagram! They are ethereal and filled with light. I can easily imagine that she had chandeliers put on streetlamps.

    Very cool that this is coming out on Willie’s birthday. I loved the story of Bono writing the song for Willie.

    And the description of MM – wow!

    • sheila says:

      Mutecypher – thank you so much for reading. Let me know your thoughts once you’ve seen the film!

      I adore Lian’s Instagram too – all those sparkling lights and hummingbirds. She’s such a thoughtful deep person. And she brings that to her love of Elvis too. I love her “bio” on her Twitter page. “I love God and Elvis.” It’s just like that Tom Petty song. That’s who she is. (Although she’s Australian, not American!)

      // I loved the story of Bono writing the song for Willie. //

      Isn’t that fantastic??

  2. mutecypher says:

    I really enjoyed this film. It was so evocative. I was reminded of a quotation by Lord Dunsany, “Bricks without straw are more easily made than imagination without memories.” A museum is, from the Greek, a shrine to the muses. A place for thought, a place for memory (Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory – the mother of all nine muses). Faith and belief require imagination, to bridge the gap from today to the hoped-for.

    What could be more idiosyncratic than our memories? Yet Lian has a way to call them up and seduce the imagination and put the viewer into a very open and suggestible state. I realize that other folks who watch this will tune into other things, but for me some of the things pulled from memory were Pamela Des Barres and her dad (from I’m With The Band) searching for gold together, like Adeline and her father; Adeline’s legs on the trapeze coming down into the screen like something from REM’s Losing My Religion video; Adeline and her dad having “secrets” like Laura Palmer and Leland (though not the same sort).

    I liked that the third time Adeline visited The Beautiful Place, she didn’t wear gloves. And that was when she confronted the men from the bank. I liked that her collars were different from scene to scene – it helped with the dreaminess to have that non-continuity. I also loved the Lynchian Americana of Ransom, but without any hint of creepiness. The difference in soundtracks, I suppose.

    I also really enjoyed Willie’s Jimmy. It doesn’t seem like he has any falsity in him, any duplicity. He’s certainly not all surface, but there’s nothing that misleads in his surface.

    There was just a lot to like in this, a lot to ruminate over afterwards.

  3. Nina says:

    Almost from the first frame, when I saw how the cinematographer and the director use use the light I understood that I was about to see a genuine poetic and beautiful movie.
    It is so high in a spiritual ephemeral world, at the same time the core of the story is so real and poignant. The actor’s ensemble is absolutely superb and sincerity and naturalness of their acting along with the spiritual and poetic quality were fabulous!
    It felt like all of them came from the same school. They were “on the same page” all the time.
    Thank you so much for this beautiful fable and for bringing it to life now. I thought that such directors do not exist anymore. It was a wonderful experience!!!

  4. S. Winchester says:

    Lian sounds typically self-centered for a newbie, like she’s patting only herself on the back. In reality, even a film created in 18 days takes many many people. She seems to think she did it all by herself. Not a single mention of producer Molly Mayeux, without whom the film would probably not exist, as she is always the stability on any film she works on- everyone’s port in a storm.

    This is an interesting film, but much too doddling in pace for most viewers’ tastes, I would imagine. Feels like a ‘Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean’ wanna-be.

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