Won­der­struck packs 2 movies into 1

Movies Nar­ra­tives of a pair of deaf kids take place 50 years apart Week­end, October 27-29, 2017

Metro Canada (Calgary) - - YOUR ESSENTIAL DAILY NEWS - Steve Gow For Metro Canada

Ac­claimed film­maker Todd Haynes has fol­lowed up his Os­car-nom­i­nated 1950s-era les­bian love story Carol with an un­usual choice — an adap­ta­tion of a hit young-adult graphic novel about two kids lost in New York City.

“I didn’t find it to be such a de­vi­a­tion from things I’ve ex­plored in films,” ex­plained the direc­tor about his lat­est drama Won­der­struck. “It just hap­pens to be about younger char­ac­ters and some­thing younger au­di­ences can en­joy with their folks or on their own — but I did love the dual time pe­riod.”

That du­al­ity is what helps make Won­der­struck stand out from other fam­ily films to­day. Al­ways one to bust gen­res, Haynes cer­tainly breaks a few more this time around — be­gin­ning with the fact that Won­der­struck is ac­tu­ally two movies in one.

Un­spool­ing sep­a­rate nar­ra­tives of a pair of deaf kids search­ing for mys­te­ri­ous con­nec­tions in Man­hat­tan half a cen­tury apart, one of Won­der­struck’s tales al­lowed Haynes to shoot the 1927-set story as a silent black and white film.

“It was fun and it was fun to be asked to do the as­sign­ment,” ad­mit­ted Haynes, who’s home­work in­cluded scour­ing rare silent cin­e­matic clas­sics for re­search. How­ever, even div­ing into the by­gone era of silent cinema seemed oddly fa­mil­iar to the direc­tor be­hind such adult art-house fa­vorites as Vel­vet Gold­mine and I’m Not There.

“I think all my films sort of test how lit­tle needs to be said in any scene; just let things hap­pen out­side of speech (and) make those cin­e­matic mo­ments as rich as can be and that was just built into the con­cept of Won­der­struck.”

Per­haps the great­est chal­lenge for Haynes was cap­tur­ing the au­then­tic deaf ex­pe­ri­ence of his char­ac­ters with­out fo­cus­ing on hear­ing loss as the main plot point. He cast sev­eral deaf ac­tors in­clud­ing Mil­li­cent Simmonds — one of his young leads — to help in­form real-life deaf-cul­ture.

“We were try­ing to do a lot of dif­fer­ent things that aren’t done all the time and ex­plore this community with as much sen­si­tiv­ity as pos­si­ble,” said Haynes. “It was just great to have them all tak­ing part in the film with trans­lat­ing go­ing on con­stantly, sign­ing and the lan­guage all around us — it just made for the en­vi­ron­ment on-set re­ally dif­fer­ent from any movie I’ve ever made.”

Mary Cybulski/aMa­zon stu­dios

Jaden Michael, Oakes Fe­g­ley and Ju­lianne Moore in won­der­struck.

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