Margaret Qualley and Joe Alwyn find love in the time of political corruption and international unrest.
The duo star in Claire Denis’ latest romance-thriller “Stars at Noon,” distributed by A24. Qualley plays a young American journalist who is stranded in present-day Nicaragua and falls in love with an enigmatic Englishman (Alwyn) who seems like her best chance of escape. However, she soon realizes that he may be in even greater danger than she is. Danny Ramirez and Benny Safdie also star in the film, premiering in theaters October 14 and debuting on Hulu October 28.
“Stars at Noon” won the Grand Prix at 2022 Cannes and screened at the New York Film Festival. Writer/director Denis adapted the screenplay from Denis Johnson’s novel “The Stars at Noon,” which is part love story, part political thriller.
Denis originally was set to collaborate again with “High Life” star Robert Pattison before he had to exit the project due to “The Batman” production delays. Denis wrapped filming “Stars at Noon” in Panama in December 2021, after making “Both Sides of the Blade” during the COVID-19 lockdown. “Both Sides of the Blade” cinematographer Éric Gautier also reunited with Denis for the Panama production of “Stars at Noon.”
Denis previously opened up about her doubts that “Stars at Noon” would ever come to fruition amid the pandemic. “I thought maybe ‘The Stars at Noon’ would never exist, so maybe this is my last film,” Denis told her friend, filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, during a talk at New York’s Rendez-Vous with French Cinema. “I don’t know, it was a weird thing.”
Yet once production did kick off, Denis flexed her unconventional directing techniques by shooting sequences out of the trunk of a car on set.
Actor Alwyn revealed earlier this year that “[Claire would] be in the trunk of the car. We’d be driving around town with her. She’d be locked in the trunk, screaming out instructions in French to us who were sitting in the car — crowded with like five other people filming us — and she’s just bellowing out what she wants. She’s just a force like nothing else. I’m really lucky to have gone on that mad ride with her.”
Alwyn added, “Everyone was brilliant, but Claire was at the helm of it. Seeing the way that she worked out how to work, and what she wanted, how she communicated with the heads of department around her, and how she functioned, was amazing.”
IndieWire’s David Ehlrich gave the film a B+ review, writing, “If the fuzzy sense of danger can have an emotionally distancing effect, the uncertainty that lingers behind helps fix ‘Stars at Noon’ to the shaky ground the movie needs to feel beneath its feet in order for its characters to question if they’ll ever be able to find their balance.”
Check out the trailer below.