Blogging about all manner of indie films and foreign films, and some Hollywood stuff, since 2006. Special focus on DIY (do-it-yourself)/ultra-indie filmmaking and distribution. Blog by Brooklyn based filmmaker Sujewa Ekanayake (new movie Werewolf Ninja Philosopher now in production, 2018 release).
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It’s not very often that I get to be
this excited over a indie feature, but the fine work of WHERE WE STARTED has urged me forward to give a shout-out. Working within the
tight parameters of low-budget, Chris Hansen has beautifully directed
his script of 30-something travelers, both married, meeting
inadvertently and hooking up at a motel where they happened to rest
for the night. Watching this slow slide into sexual intimacy –
breaking all the rules and oaths of their marriages for this future
love – is both terrifying and fascinating, a car-wreck of mores and
choices in modern society. Hansen offers us a close-up view of the
laws of attraction, soul-mate intrigue, coupled with cold-water
realism for what such decisions ultimately represent. Since over half
of marriages end in divorce, the subject of his movie couldn’t be
As this couple finds itself headed
toward an inevitable affair because of their close proximity, obvious
physical attraction and sexual hunger not fully met by their
respective households (chalk this up to the regularity of most
marriages?), we can’t help but put ourselves in their shoes. How
close to the line would we go if we found ourselves in a similar,
tantalizing situation? Would we enjoy intellectually jesting with a
member of the opposite sex? Would we flirt? Would we ‘accidentally’
drop our guard, set aside the pledge of our marriage for just one
night of orgasmic pleasure? What would we do?
Once, when I asked a college friend
what happened to his marriage he replied, “I blinked,” when
mentioning his one-night stand that ended things. Here’s a movie
that extends that ‘blink’ long enough to take stead of the
consequences. We get to have a ‘ghost of Christmas future’
glimpse of just how their relationship might proceed if each party
eradicated themselves from current spouses (and children). As our
couple hashes out the nuts-and-bolts of courtroom divorce, changing
jobs/cities from those already established, child custody confusion,
etc. (not usually a factor in deciding a momentary fling with a
stranger…), the movie becomes something of a cautionary tale, a
kind of wakeup call. My Feature Filmmaking at Used-Car Prices
book suggested that people should consider making “adult movies”
(not talking about pornos): “An adult movie will necessarily be
hard and challenging, just as all real adult relationships are,”
says the Preface. Hansen gives no easy answers. This is the value of
‘indie’ thinking and filmmaking, at its best.
From its opening shots, right up to the
end credits, the outstanding performances of Matthew Brumlow and Cora
Vander Broek, modeled expertly by director Chris Hansen, keep the
viewer absorbed as much as any recent Hollywood or top foreign film
fare. But unlike Hollywood movies that put special
effects/pyrotechnics first, only utilizing relationship-moments to
give their bloated stories a human face, to keep us invested in
characters caught in various digital dilemmas, WHERE WE STARTED
captures and holds the viewer without need of fictional warfare,
secret agents, or sailors caught bobbing on high seas in perfect
storms. For anyone who has spent time clicking away at their Netflix
queue, gathering up four-star movies, they’ll find that WHERE WE
STARTED will fall easily into that top list, quite comparable with
the best French, German, Swedish, and yes, American movies. See it!
-- Filmmaker/author Rick Schmidt,
Feature Filmmaking at Used-Car Prices, Extreme DV
(Penguin Books), Morgan’s Cake, Sticky Wicket, etc.
From a review of the movie: "Hansen’s approach, one would have to imagine, is closer to the reality of how true extramarital affairs work, that average American suburban married couples just don’t jump easily into bed with the first available complete stranger. Despite what statistics might say about divorce and infidelity in modern America, or what we see in any given episode ofMad Men, is cheating on a spouse such an easy emotional decision to make?
Hansen bets on that answer being “No,” and has crafted a simple, yet emotionally complex mini-drama."
After playing two festivals the film is searching for more great festivals to play US & world wide. Contact Chris Hansen here re: getting this awesome indie drama for your festival. The film is also searching for great distribution opportunities.
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