Winner of the Grand Prix of the Tokyo International Film Festival and the C.I.C.A.E. Award at the Venice Film Festival for directors Josh and Benny Safdie, “Heaven Knows What” earned some solid street cred on the festival circuit last year. Now the gritty tale of drug addiction is coming to cinemas, but it’s one that has an interesting twist. It’s based on the experiences of Arielle Holmes, who struggled on the streets of New York City with her own heroin addiction just months before filming starting. The filmmakers encouraged her write her memoirs as she got clean, and they serve as the foundation for the movie. So yes, this has a degree of authenticity you won’t find elsewhere, but it didn’t phase Holmes, even with the added of pressure of acting in her first film role.
“I had fun doing it and it felt all very natural and it was exciting, but Josh said to me ‘Ari, do you remember the time we started filming and you said, ‘This feels like a dream?’ ‘ and so I guess some of it was surreal. That is was happening at all was surreal,” she told us in a joint interview with co-star Caleb Landry-Jones.
Tracking the destructive relationship between an addict and her lover, the movie is powerful stuff, and one we called “a unique melding of social issues drama, autobiography, arthouse experiment and music video, marked out by totally committed performances.”
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Check out the eye opening trailer below and look for the film later this year when it’s released by Radius.