Derek Cianfrance Breaks Down Scenes from 'The Place Beyond the Pines'
Derek Cianfrance’s followup to the extraordinary Blue Valentine comes in the form of a three act Shakespearian crime drama, The Place Beyond the Pines. Collider goes behind the scenes with the director to discuss the filmmaking and break down a few scenes, discussing camera placement, character choices, working with ‘movie stars’ and blending a performance together across many different takes. Hit the jump for the video and analysis:
Derek talks about his working style:
I don’t have a video village, I have a monitor that I walk with. I hate seeing trucks, I hate seeing the machinery of a movie when I’m shooting, it drives me crazy. When a photographer can’t go anywhere he wants to go, can’t go around the actors, it drives my crazy because it’s so limiting. I want the photography to be free, to be physically engaged with the people.
On the chronology of a shooting schedule:
I like shooting out of chronological order you can kind of organize your schedule in a way that doesn’t feel intuitive in terms of chronology but actually can really help actors. Because Eva and Ryan can go into this scene with a whole wealth of experience and knowledge to who their characters were. They knew where they got to in the film so we knew where we could start.
On screenplay length:
My script is 158 pages and my financier said they would give me the money if I could get it down to 120, so I found the ‘shrink font’ button. And I found out how to extend the margins. And no one caught on, and I’m in the editing room six months later and I’ve got a three and a half hour movie on my hands, and I couldn’t find the ‘shrink font’ button in the editing room. In the editing it became elliptical. Editing is like sculpture, you take things away and you reveal the shape of something.
Derek Cianfrance also speaks in detail about how his history as a documentary filmmaker has translated to his narrative work, and shares very lucid insight on how craft-based decisions match up with the story he wants to tell. I found it particularly of interest how he speaks about working with ‘movie stars’ and his desire to strip them down and display them in an ordinary light, versus showing ordinary people in an extraordinary light in documentaries.
Did you see the film? Share your thoughts and join the discussion in the comments below.