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The Sundance Blog

Broken Hearted: Posey Looks Inward After Premiere

Filmmaker Zoe Cassavetes and Sundance director Geoff Gilmore at Saturday's dinner party forBroken English (Photo: STV)

By S.T. VanAirsdale

Distributor/backer HDNet Films hosted a dinner for Zoe Cassavetes and her feature debut Broken English following Saturday's Sundance premiere; Cassavetes and actors Parker Posey, Drea Di Matteo and Justin Theroux were in attendance along with the film's producer Andrew Fierberg, festival director Geoff Gilmore, musician Shooter Jennings and world dramatic competition juror U-Wei Bin Haji Saari. Eclectic as hell, to be sure, but I stuck to the basics and caught a quick word with Posey, who told me why she had avoided the screening until the Q&A. "I didn't want to identify too much with my work in the movie," she said of her role as a 30-something woman struggling to find herself in New York and then Paris. "I didn't want to see it projected on a big screen. I saw the final scene."

Really? Identify with what?

"There are a lot of painful aspects of..." She paused a beat. "A few things are necessary to becoming a full human being that I didn't want to identify with."

Whoa. Like... life in the city? Relationships? Parent/child relationships? What in particular?

Long pause. Like she's-not-gonna-answer long. But she did.

"I've got a total crowd of ideas in my brain, so..." She shrugged. "But I will say this: The abandonment issues? Nora is waking up to her feelings; she has all of these things happening to her that are very specific, but still at the end of the film, she's just beginning to be ready to have a meaningful love relationship. I mean, it's painful, but it's beautiful, too. I feel for her -- there are parts of her in myself. And as an actor, you sometimes identify more with sad things than with good things. I'm so glad the movie got a good response, because its got a light touch in a very unusual way, but it's dealing with a very tenuous and soulful transformation and transition in a woman's life."

Posey halted again, clasped her hands, placed them over her mouth. "We're so work-obsessed as a country that these kinds of sentiments aren't expressed a lot or talked about a lot," she said. "As someone who wants beauty in her life -- as a romantic -- I think we live in cheap times."

Cheap?

"Cheap times. Do you agree?"

Well, I'm not sure. At risk of taking that too literally, one of the perpetual challenges of adult life is finding a ratio of work life to personal relationships that you can live with. Work should be fulfilling.

"It depends on what kind of person you are," Posey said. "I mean, Nora's an artistic type, and I think that writers, journalists, actors -- some -- are as well. We are creating new paradigms in relationships right now. I have my own thing -- my time to breathe, to think, to meditate on things and a certain kind of truth you want to express in relationships. Relationships are teachers; people are teachers, and sometimes you have to get derailed several times to come back. And then you have other relationships that are really supportive."

What about work as a consolation in a bad relationship, or becoming a relationship of its own?

"I also think that there's a shame of feelings in our culture," she said, and for whatever reason I would have to determine with some extended period of thought myself, I dropped the issue. Maybe it was that hard blink, or that sudden, forceful slouch. I couldn't tell you. Though, speaking of consolation, I did follow-up with an inquiry into the progress of Henry Fool, Part 3. (Posey is also promoting Hal Hartley's Fay Grim at the festival; Hartley discussed the prospect of a third volume in his Reeler interview last week.)

"We've talked about it, and I think we're planning a kind of Asian influence -- a very silent, meditative story."

I can see it now --Hal Hartley does Kill Bill.

"Not as violent, though," she said, shaking her head. "Hal doesn't like violence."

Posted at January 21, 2007 12:04 PM

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