Just four days after making its Los Angeles premiere at the LA Film Fest, David Lowery’s “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” hit New York as the opening night selection for the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s fifth annual cinemaFest, co-hosted by The Cinema Society. Casey Affleck and Ben Foster joined their director for the screening of the Texas-set romantic western as well as the after party celebrating BAMcinemaFest’s fifth anniversary.
Foster, who plays sheriff’s deputy and southern gentleman Patrick Wheeler, spoke to Indiewire after the screening, saying it was one of Lowery’s short films that first sparked his interest in the writer/director’s work. “There are so few scripts that have characters that reach back to core American values,” Foster said before referencing his upbringing in a small Iowan town. “This gets back to the roots of Texas, and that’s because of David Lowery.”
Lowery, a Texas native, said the film had two parent locations, not just one. “It was kind of a nice homecoming because so much of our crew was from New York and so many people who worked on the movie got to see it for the first time,” Lowery said after the screening. “It feels like we grew the movie out of here just as much as we did in Texas.”
“It’s like going back to a camp reunion,” said Foster about the Brooklyn-based screening. “We lived and breathed with these people for three to four months, and now we [get to] relive these postcards on celluloid.”
And what beautiful postcards they were. “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” tells the story of two romantically entwined outlaws who are separated when Bob (Affleck) is sent to prison and Ruth (Rooney Mara) must raise their child alone. It’s set in the open plains of Texas and the midwest, with many scenes shot using natural light alone. The film won the Cinematography Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, making it the perfect debut film for BAM’s newly renovated Harvey Theater. The 35-by-19-foot Steinberg screen is the largest in Brooklyn, and it definitely got the venue off to a good start, earning at least one rave review.
“I vowed earlier that I would never watch the movie again because I’m tired of it, just having seen it so many times,” said Lowery. “This was the first time I had to pull myself away. It looked and sounded better than it has ever [before].”
BAMcinemaFest runs from June 19-29 and features films like “Short Term 12,” “The Spectacular Now,” and “Crystal Fairy.” The festival’s goal is to bring the best independent films from the festival circuit to New York for their first screenings in the city, including Indiewire’s list of five must-see discoveries. “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January before showing at Cannes. Indiewire’s Eric Kohn gave the film a glowing review at Sundance, and you can check out the trailer for yourself below.