Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 
Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable

In His Own Words: Frederic Lilien Shares an Exclusive Scene From "The Legend of Pale Male"

Photo of Nigel M Smith By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire November 22, 2010 at 4:28AM

Frederic Lilien's documentary "The Legend of Pale Male" documents a story dear to New Yorkers' hearts. The film, eighteen-years in the making, has gone on to win awards at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, and the Palm Beach International Film Festival among many others. In anticipation of the film's release this Wednesday, November 24 in New York, Lilien shared an exclusive scene from his documentary with indieWIRE.
0

Frederic Lilien's documentary "The Legend of Pale Male" documents a story dear to New Yorkers' hearts. The film, eighteen-years in the making, has gone on to win awards at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, and the Palm Beach International Film Festival among many others. In anticipation of the film's release this Wednesday, November 24 in New York, Lilien shared an exclusive scene from his documentary with indieWIRE.

THE FILM

This is the legend of an extraordinary hawk that comes out of the wild to live in the great metropolis of New York. It’s the story of how his very presence completes the world he has chosen and affects people from all walks of life. With the simple act of looking up, 'hawkwatchers' begin to open up, and in ways large and small, begin to change their lives. The story takes a dramatic turn when the hawk's nest is destroyed and his followers face losing their hero. They rally to save him only to discover that he has already achieved the ultimate success.

THE SETTING

Almost the entire film takes place in Central Park. In fact, the story might never have occurred any place else. It holds inherent and compelling contradictions – it’s both exclusive and accessible, civilized and wild. The model boat pond is a perfect oval reflecting a magnificent row of buildings on 5th Ave. In the center of the elegant skyline is the unexpected nest of our hero – the Red-tailed hawk Pale Male. As a filmmaker, I could not have designed a more theatrical stage. There's perfect seating on the benches at the boat pond, and with the reflecting mirror of the pond between us, we watch his story and he watches ours. In many ways, what makes the film satisfying and gives it depth is all the contradictions it contains, and the first of those comes up in our indieWIRE clip.

THE SCENE


This is the opening of the film and the introduction of the hero, Pale Male, and the filmmaker, me. The complete contrast in our characters sets the tone for the entire story. He's a powerful wild predator full of purpose, unencumbered by self-doubt. And he can fly! I, on the other hand, am completely lost and can’t even figure out how to use the camera. We had been struggling with the opening and were intent on starting with the dramatic protest scene from the middle of the film. Then, a la "It’s a Wonderful Life," we would go into the back-story of how Pale Male came to be. But try as we did, we couldn’t get it to work. We were almost two years into editing when I came across this old footage (my first day with the camera – and I can’t believe I kept it) and decided to give it a try. After struggling with how best to establish Pale Male, the contrast between us seemed to bring it all into focus. And right from the start Pale Male is seen as the architect of the story, the character that’s in control. The rest of us, in all our complexity and endless search for meaning, find in him a most unorthodox guru. This sets us off on a high/low, soaring and silly roller coaster of a story. And the fun, the friendships, the sorrow and hope spill out from there.

Pale Male’s entrance where he drops into the cityscape from above I shot from a small balcony just north of the nest a few floors below Woody Allen’s terrace. I knew Pale Male liked to perch up on Woody’s and spent days hanging out there. I always had a camera running in real-time getting material I could use for time-lapses and just got lucky when he flew into the shot.

This article is related to: Video: In Their Own Words, Interviews, The Legend of Pale Male






Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome



Awards Season Spotlight

Contender Conversations

Indiewire celebrates the best and brightest from Independent film, Hollywood, and foreign cinema.

More