Throughout the week, the Daily Planet will feature audio interviews with filmmakers discussing their films in this year’s Sound Unseen Film Festival. The festival, which kicked off this past Tuesday and ends Sunday and typically features films with a music theme, is in its 10th year. Check out the festival Web site to purchase tickets, view trailers and information for all the films, and explore what this cultural event is all about.
All the interviews were conducted over the phone, recorded on my computer. In this entry in the series, I speak with Damien Chazelle, director of the lovely little film Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench. (Click on the icon at the bottom of this article to listen.) Check out the film’s Web site for more info. Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench screens this Saturday (October 3) at 6:45 p.m. at the Trylon Microcinema.
The official plot synopsis (by way of the press notes) of Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench reads:
Writer/director Damien Chazelle combines the cinematic sensibilities of Cassavetes and Godard in a gritty, 16mm, MGM-style musical. Backed by an alternately rollicking and melancholy score by Justin Hurwitz, Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench tracks a pair of young lovers after they meet by chance in a Boston park and bond over a passion for old-timey music. But like his constantly searching camera, Chazelle doesn’t linger too long in any one place in the story. Soon Guy (Jason Palmer) and Madeline (Desiree Garcia) are separated and searching for new romance on city streets and in smoke-filled jazz clubs. Guy has an electrifying chance encounter with the lovely Elena (Sandha Khin), and Madeline entertains new suitors along with her own dreams of escaping to New York, but love may ultimately lead them back to one another. The song-and-dance numbers in this youthful and original take on the musical come as a natural overflow of the lovelorn characters’ emotions, allowing shy, doe-eyed Madeline to express what she can’t always say in plain talk. Guy, meanwhile, lets his trumpet (yes, that’s really pro trumpeter Palmer playing) speak for his heart, proving once again that artistic talent is exponentially related to sex appeal.
I begin every interview with the same question. Having seen nearly all the films in this year’s Sound Unseen Festival, a clear theme emerged. These are stories about people pursuing their dreams, consequences be damned. So I lead off asking the filmmaker about this theme as it pertains to their film.