The charming façade of a young sociopath slowly unravels in this provocative and visually arresting drama.
Even if a screening is sold out, tickets are often available 30 minutes before the start of the film at the box office at each venue.
Simon, a recent college graduate, escapes to France after a complicated break-up with his long-term girlfriend, seemingly intent on regrouping and coming to terms with his recent loss. One evening, while roaming the Parisian streets, Simon meets Victoria, a young prostitute with whom he begins an unexpected relationship. As Victoria welcomes the enigmatic stranger into her life, things appear to be going well for Simon, until his charming facade starts to slip, and slowly a dark side emerges, with disturbing effects. As the young sociopath at the film’s centre, Brady Corbet’s performance is one of unsettling moral ambivalence, initially calm and cunning, but increasingly unhinged as his barriers begin to break down. The film’s arresting sound design punctuates the action with strident bursts of music, and as with his previous film Afterschool, director Antonio Campos’ (who produced Martha Marcy May Marlene) highly stylised, occasionally abstract framing creates an air of cool detachment and sly unease.
Much of the film takes place around notable Parisian landmarks. What was it like to shoot these scenes? Did the actors have an organic process of interacting with their environment and thereby developing their characters?
Shooting in the museums was a great pleasure because we were shooting when they were closed. An empty museum is one of the coolest places to be. It’s one of the most peaceful places to work. On the other hand, shooting in a place like the Gare du Nord was completely chaotic. We obviously could not shut down the station, so we had complete access to a certain area that was still busy with commuters coming and going. You find the rhythm and flow of traffic eventually and adapt to it. Brady [Corbet] knew the city well from his previous trips and work there, so he was completely comfortable in the environment. And the other actors were all living in Paris so it was their home. It was when we did a scene in a location like a seedy motel or the basement of the brothel where the energy of the space certainly affected the performances in the best possible way. In the same way an actor can transform when they get into costume, being in a real location – the smells, the sounds, the texture of the material – allows them to sink into the world almost effortlessly.
Born in 1983 in New York, to an Italian mother and Brazilian father, he lied about his age to enter the New York Film Academy as a 13-year-old, and soon completed his first short, Puberty. In 2005, his short Buy it Now was selected to world premiere at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival, where it won 1st Prize in the Cinefondation, and in 2008 he made a feature bow with Afterschool, which played in that year’s LFF and earned him a nomination for an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature. A co-founder of Borderline Films with Sean Durkin and Josh Mond (both former fellow students at Tisch School of the Arts at NYU), he has also acted as producer on Durkin’s Martha Marcy May Marlene, and executive producer on Alistair Banks Griffin’s Two Gates of Sleep.
1997 Puberty [s]
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