Los Angeles Times


The directors of ‘Lion’ and more detail the challenges.

- By Gregory Ellwood, Randee Dawn

It’s that signature moment in a movie. It’s the scene that brings all the dramatic elements together thematical­ly or allows the story to unfurl organicall­y. The Envelope spoke to several directors whose films span the globe from locales as far off as India, Romania and West Texas, but they frankly admit that if these particular moments didn’t soar, their movies wouldn’t either. So which scenes were key?

David Mackenzie | ‘Hell or High Water’

“The center of the film to me is the scene in which Marcus [Jeff Bridges] and Alberto [Gil Birmingham] are sitting on the porch outside the T-Bone cafe and Gil talks about how 150 years ago this was his people’s land. And there is a moment of resonance about the whole sort of narrative about the West being reclaimed by financial institutio­ns and multinatio­nal corporatio­ns. There is that moment of insight talking about that, and it sums up some of the themes of the film. And that kind of makes it a double porch scene with Toby [Chris Pine] and Tanner [Ben Foster] on their porch the last day before things kind of come to a head [coming immediatel­y after]. It’s the heart and soul of the film. And you sort of feel the connection between both sets of characters that have taken different sides of the law, but effectivel­y doing the same thing in the same sunset.”

Jeff Nichols | ‘Loving’

“I very much knew where I wanted to end the film, but there was really a question of what the climax was going to be. And it wasn’t until I found a quote from Mildred [Loving], shortly before she died, that I included at the end of the film, that said, “I miss him. He took care of me.” I was inspired by that to go back into the back third of the film and include a scene where Richard comes home from the bar after being challenged by a friend that he should just divorce her. And he comes home and tells Mildred that he can take care of her. And he repeats it over and over again. That really for me became the emotional climax of the whole film. You have a man telling his wife that he can take care of her at a point where we understand that that’s really not the case.”

Garth Davis | ‘Lion’

“Little Saroo [Sunny Pawar] trapped on that train had to be really powerful or we’d never have a second half of the movie. I decided we would make that the last scene we shot in India because I wanted him to have as much experience on set and build his confidence to that point. So, I never ever, ever wanted to do any trick performanc­es with Sunny. I always wanted to do it ethically and responsibl­y. To get that performanc­e a lot of it was literally that I would have to do it [myself]. I would show him how loud he had to scream. I would show him how to pull on the bars. I had to make him feel like it was OK and that anyone could do it. He loved the physicalit­y. I got really lucky with him.”

Tom Ford | ‘Nocturnal Animals’

“It’s the scene of the abduction on the highway. You get six actors and they’re all, ‘No, if she were my daughter I would come over here and I would stand in-between.’ ‘Yeah, but if you did that then I would come over here and I would go over there.’ It was absolute mayhem, so I finally just said, ‘Guys, you just all have to go away. Just go away.’ Then when we got there, set up the cars, blocked it out with them, we got it to a place where it felt natural for them. We also shot it handheld so it could be a lot looser, it’s meant to be visceral and raw and not so posed and so framed. It’s very long, and it was the most complex to shoot. It’s 17 1/2 minutes on screen.”

“It’s a sequence that starts with the boy [Lucas Jade Zumann] reading to his mom [Annette Bening] the essay ‘It Hurts to Be Alive and Obsolete’ by Zoe Moss. It’s from ‘The Sisterhood Is Powerful’ book that Greta Gerwig’s character gives him. It has a bunch of little elements that are kind of like the DNA of my favorite parts of my films. It’s this really kind of impossible attempt for this mother and son to understand each other across this particular­ly big generation gap. And the boy, the 15-year-old, is really trying to understand his middleaged mother who was born in the ’20s who went through the Depression and WW II and is now raising him in the ’70s. It does nothing but unnerve her, so it doesn’t work out, but I find it a really beautiful attempt from him to try and see her. Then there is a beautiful little montage of moments from her life and their life together while he’s reading.”

 ?? Lorey Sebastian ??
Lorey Sebastian
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The Weinstein Co.
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Focus Features
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Merrick Morton Focus Features
 ?? Merrick Morton ?? A24
Merrick Morton A24

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