Interview: Andrew Haigh On Directing The Year's Best Romance, Weekend
Ever since it debuted at the SXSW Film Festival in the spring and took home the Emerging Visions Audience Award, Andrew Heigh's minutely scaled romance Weekend has been breaking audience hearts, even those who thought they'd have no interest in watching two guys have sex, talk, and slowly fall in love for 90 minutes. In the model of Before Sunrise and American indies described loosely as "mumblecore," Weekend is a poignant but hyper-real portrait of a new relationship and all its complications, from never being able to quite say what you really mean to feeling anxious when separated for even a few hours. The fact that it all takes place over a weekend, and is mostly made up of long conversations in bedrooms and on long walks, makes the emotional impact all the more immediate and specific.
Haigh has one previous feature to his name, the documentary Greek Pete, and in making Weekend as a small-scale indie in England he was going up against an independent film industry that doesn't often reward projects that are daring or at all provocative. And though it's a sweet romance at its heart, Weekend is frank about both nudity and gay sex-- the sex scenes between actors Tom Cullen and Chris New are crucial to the development of their relationship, but also fairly explicit. And even though Haigh has yet to see his film open in the U.K., he said he anticipated a more open reaction here in the States, where filmmakers like Joe Swanberg and Kelly Reichardt have set the stage for small-scaled, hyper-real dramas like this one.
I talked to Haigh earlier this week, just before the film's big opening in New York this weekend. He told me about the struggle to find British financing for the film, how he made the film realistic but also cinematic and beautiful, and how much of themselves he and his actors had to put into the film as they shot it on a tight schedule and in sequence, so that each day's work would bleed into the next scene. Check out 15 minutes of our conversation in the video below, and please see Weekend, either in New York this weekend, starting in Los Angeles next week, or in many other places soon. You can find full release details here.
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