David Gordon Green’s visit to the Wexner Center brought his latest film Snow Angels, along with a chance to listen to the youthful director discuss his work and directing style. Snow Angels, adapted from the Stewart O’Nan novel by the same name, parallels the stories of two romances through which the deepest feelings of human emotions are explored; love, hate and uncertainty all intermingle as scenes shift and characters develop alongside stories about hopeful new lives and the tragic end of others.
The first of these two romances has a lively and quirky Lila (Olivia Thirlby) finding attraction in Arthur (Michael Angarano), a humble high school-age trombonist whose parents have recently been separated. These two teenage lovers awkwardly fumble to connect with each other throughout the movie and immaturely explore the unknown territory of love for the first time.
With the emergence of young, inspiring love, Green contrasts the dying of an old, weathered one. A forgotten romance surrounding the lives of Glenn (Sam Rockwell), a struggling “born-again Christian,” and Annie (Kate Beckinsale), a working-class single mother, focuses on the trails of old flames and a broken family struggling to achieve normalcy among ruin.
The ultimate comparison of these two vastly different relationships silently hints at love’s ability to change and perhaps die when the world envelops our lives. With blissfully colorful scenes ranging in emotion, Green has magical abilities to capture love’s innocence and ultimate complexity.
Snow Angels from the very beginning is undoubtedly a David Gordon Green movie. It has the atmospheric soundtrack and lush cinematography that that has come to define his style as we have seen in his other works, like All the Real Girls (2003) and George Washington (2000). The music-performed by popular outfits Mono, The National, A Silver Mt. Zion, and Explosions in the Sky (with whom Green has worked with often before)-complements the film’s multiple moments and moods. The absence of dialogue during the montages foregrounds the role of the music as the characters are absorbed in reflection, similar to certain aspects of music videos, yet without the choreographed kitsch.
The Q&A session after the film with Green was just as genuine and insightful as his films are. Rather than rigidly give out prefabricated responses to expected questions about the movie that is so common of art figures, Green answered questions slyly and creatively, without seeming the slightest bit pretentious. He gave good insight into his own unique way of making films and how he works with both his cast and crew.
Green explained that one of the most important tools he uses to connect with the people he works with is humor; specifically the little imperfections and accidents that call for a good laugh, like his example of “a fart in church.” He also emphasized that he often retains the little imperfections and accidents that may happen during filming for the final product. He prefers this to having perfect takes with no follies because it is more comparable to real-life.
After the discussion of Snow Angels, Green talked about what is on the horizon for him. Pineapple Express, his next film, has Green collaborating with Superbad writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. The film is scheduled for release on August 8 this year. He also mentioned four or five additional screenplays he’s considered bringing life to in the coming years.
It would be great if every filmmaker could come out and travel with their film the way Green is with Snow Angels, the introduction and Q&A really helped give direction to the viewer and answer questions that post-movie chatter never seems to resolve.
Thanks to the Wexner Center and David Gordon Green for a wonderful night!
-- Brian Asbury, Marketing Intern, Wexner Center