Sorry folks, but for the main editors of this site, James Gray is to us what Marvel movies are to others. We have no hesitation in saying he’s one of the finest American filmmakers working today, and when our man in Telluride caught early footage of his next effort, “The Nightingale” (aka “Low Life“), it was a lovely surprise. So it’s Friday, TIFF is winding down, and we’re gonna nerd out on our man Gray. Deal with it.
A new, longform synopsis, set photo, and cleaner version of an image that ran in earlier this year in the French press have arrived for the film. Once again, Gray has paired up with Joaquin Phoenix for their fourth collaboration, with Jeremy Renner and Marion Cotillard co-starring. The film chronicles the immigrant experience in what is the director’s first period picture. And Gray drew on his own family history to help weave the story together.
“I remember very well, my grandparents who spoke almost no English, who spent a lot of their time really wishing they were back in Russia, which I never understood. But they clearly had trouble fitting in, and I found that very powerful and very sad, and it’s a very emotional idea to me, and I know how lonely they were in many respects. And I suppose I’m trying to come to grips with that,” the director told us earlier in the year.
No word yet on a release date, but we’ll put money on it that Harvey Weinstein will bring the film to the Cannes Film Festival in May to screen for a French press and critical community that has made no secret of their adoration for the director. Synopsis below:
1920. In search of a new start and the American dream, Ewa Cybulski and her sister Magda sail to New York from their native Poland. When they reach Ellis Island, doctors discover that Magda is ill, and the two women are separated. Ewa is released onto the mean streets of Manhattan while her sister is quarantined. Alone, with nowhere to turn and desperate to reunite with Magda, she quickly falls prey to Bruno, a charming but wicked man who takes her in and forces her into prostitution. And then one day, Ewa encounters Bruno’s cousin, the debonair magician Orlando. He sweeps Ewa off her feet and quickly becomes her only chance to escape the nightmare in which she finds herself.