(This feature is part of an ongoing series of Reeler profiles of New York films and filmmakers at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. Click here for a complete list of this year's interviews.)
THE REELER: What can you tell me about A Relationship in Four Days?
PETER GLANZ: In a general way it's kind of a satire on the modern relationship. Today's society is so transient; everyone's got TiVo and ADD and all these things. I guess the same thing applies to relationships. I go through what would normally be a four-month relationship in about four days. I kind of parodied how quick all my friends' relationships were going. In some ways a day represents a month or a whole year; these [characters] fall in and out of love in four days. I guess some people find it tragic; others find it funny. It pays homage to French New Wave -- Truffaut, Godard, Rohmer -- and Woody Allen's Manhattan was obviously a big inspiration. I wanted to take the genre of New Wave -- the fun of it -- and exploit the modern relationship.
R: The Manhattan homage is conspicuous in the trailer I saw. With that in mind, how did you want to comment on New York -- and the New York relationship specifically -- in this story?
PG: I grew up here, and it’s one of the only timeless cities. And I have this whole idea of making movies timeless, whether it using a '40s clock and a '60s dress and then an '80s car drives by. In a sense, by referencing all times you're referencing no time, and it becomes more timeless and universal. I feel like New York City is one of those cities where we're blessed -- it doesn't look like Los Angeles, where they tear something down every five seconds. There are modernist museums next to old brownstones. It was the perfect place to tell this story -- this kind of timeless romantic comedy, in a sense.
R: What's your background? How did you come to filmmaking?
PG: I went to film school in Los Angeles, and then I've always been a huge Woody Allen fan; I always wanted to come back to New York, and I've always wanted to make movies here. I made several short films and I've been directing commercials for the last two years -- Marc Jacobs, Bergdorf Goodman, mostly fashion commercials. I've actually only made dramas, but it's been really hard to get movies going doing dramas. The first thing I did with wit and charm and was much lighter was a lot easier. It got into Sundance; I have a feature version of it that's being optioned. I got an agent. So that's the way to go.
R: So things are going well, but how are you anticipating Sundance -- showing the film to this kind of tough, sophisticated audience on this scale?
PG: I don't know. I'm looking forward to it; I'm one of the longest narrative shorts at Sundance, so I'm already asking a lot of people to sit through 26 minutes. I think the average short this year is six-and-a-half minutes. But if people are willing to go and sit down, I think they’ll enjoy it.
R: Do you allow for the audience reaction to the short to influence how you approach the feature?
PG: Originally it started as a feature, but since the whole Sundance thing I've adapted the feature to be a much more clear representation of the short. The audience's reaction could affect how I see the feature, but I don't know. But at this point, the film is doing well for me. I probably won't be able to watch it in the theater anyway; it's too stressful for me. I'll hide in the back in the shadows. I shot the movie this very time last year, its been a year, so obviously I feel like I'd do this different or that different. At this point I'm just grateful people are receiving the film well.
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