Friday, August 14, 2015

'Ten Thousand Saints' opens today at the Village East Cinema

It's opening day for "Ten Thousand Saints," the low-budget film adaption of the Eleanor Henderson 1980s novel of the same name.

As you may recall, directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini filmed around the East Village in early 2014 for the movie.

Here's the official plot outline:

Jude (Asa Butterfield) is a teenage boy who is trying to reconnect with his father Les (Ethan Hawke) in 1987 Manhattan. When Jude's friend, Teddy (Avan Jogia), dies of a drug overdose, Jude finds himself befriending a group of friends who are against drugs, alcohol, profanity and sex and live for punk-style rock music. When he meets Eliza (Hailee Steinfeld), who is sixteen years old and is pregnant with Teddy's child, he and Les are forced to be her rock as she struggles through her pregnancy and early motherhood while Jude struggles with his feelings for her and his relationship with his father.

And here's the trailer ...

The Los Angeles Times has an interview with the filmmakers here. The the article, Spring Berman, who lived in the East Village during the Tompkins Square Riots of 1988, which serve as a backdrop to "Saints," discusses filming challenges and then vs. now:

The tops of buildings hadn't changed, and there are still street signs and a few landmarks that have not been turned into a Chipotle or a gourmet frozen yogurt shop. But they are becoming fewer and farther between. Even graffiti had become a scarce commodity — which led to some creative solutions.

"If we saw a graffiti-covered truck, we'd flag it down and give them 50 bucks to park in front of a Citi bike stand," Pulcini said.

The filmmakers did make use of one natural resource that always seems to be in abundance in the city. "I would often see our production designer picking up garbage," Pulcini said. "I'm not going to pay for garbage in New York," Springer Berman added.

"Saints" looks to capture both the beauty and messiness of the past, to walk up against a line of romanticization while being careful not to cross it. "I get irritated sometimes when people say how difficult it is in New York now and how much better it was then," Pulcini said. "Yes, it's hard because it's expensive and you're living with 13 roommates if you're in your 20s. But back then you were mugged and pulled into a stairway at gunpoint. There was a rat in every apartment. I don't know that it was easier."

As for the film, the Daily News was dismissive with a two-star review ... while The Village Voice praises Ethan Hawke and says "the movie has a lilting, generous spirit." And the Times says that "Saints" is "full of quietly impressive performances and young characters who register as authentic."

And the trades: Variety declared it a "warmly conceived dramedy [that] will likely resonate strongest with audiences who have a direct connection to the story’s place and time" … while The Hollywood Reporter called it "a sensitive but not overserious coming-of-age pic with a strong sense of place."

The Village East Cinema is on Second Avenue at East 12th Street. Find more info and showtimes here.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Filmmakers will recreate the Tompkins Square Park Riot of 1988 this Thursday night

Film crew recreates 'tent city' in Tompkins Square Park

Film crew uses 'D Squat' and phone booths to recreate an 1980s East Village on 6th Street

[Updated] First Avenue subbing for Avenue D today

Another 'riot' in Tompkins Square Park, this time for the cameras


Anonymous said...

A soap opera set in the gritty 1980's East Village is still a soap opera. Okay I have not seen it yet but why did the filmmakers go through the trouble with a storyline that could play out anywhere and time?

Anonymous said...

What's this movie - "Punkhood?"

Anonymous said...

Pretty in black, kids did not have tattoos back then, costumes looked my like Seattle 1990's, winy teens, I wonder if there are any people of color in this move, the trailer was more than I could take.

Anonymous said...

To 1:42 PM:

The only near POC billed in this is Avan Jogia and OF COURSE his character dies in order to give his white friend some "purpose." Anyone else you see is likely non-speaking uncredited background decor or foil.

eh, whatever. I don't much anymore fault white filmmakers from making nostalgic white-centric "urban" films from back-the-day NYC because they need to sell them to the impressionable demographic that will buy tickets, but I'm totally meh on them. Kids and Victor Vargas did this better a long, long time ago, even with their flaws.

Anonymous said...

I wanna see a film about the feud between Harley Flanagan and John Joseph of Cro-Mags.

4:00 P.M. said...

On March 15, 2016, ~ 8months later after it opened at Village East Cinema, it'll be on Netflix streaming. You're welcome.

Gojira said...

"There was a rat in every apartment" - uh, no, no, sweetheart, there were no rats in my apartment. You sound like a total tool, and your movie sounds like digital Valium. Next!