THE POPCORN REEL AT SUNDANCE FILM
By Omar P.L. Moore/The Popcorn Reel
PARK CITY, Utah -- January 23, 2008
Sean Ellis was on his way to catching a plane as he talked to a journalist here at the Prospector Square Theater, which was screening his new film "The Broken" -- the "o" in the title has a diagonal line through it -- which he said he had literally just finished.
"I wanted a female perspective, I wanted to work with a female lead and I thought that the story was going to be an interesting one from a very strong female character. Even though I imagined the idea in the first person, I never really imagined that it was going to be a guy as a lead," said Mr. Ellis, who hails from Brighton, in the south of England.
In "The Broken", Sean Ellis directs Lena Headey, the British actress American audiences know from the film "300". Ms. Headey is Gena McVey, a woman who sees herself driving past in her own car while walking along a London street one afternoon. In the true sense of the axiom "perception is reality", Gena has to confront her visions and what she thinks she sees, both within and without herself.
Mr. Ellis' new film could be categorized as a horror film at heart, but placing it in that genre isn't so straightforward.
"To be honest with you, I moved back towards the sort of films, the psychological horror films that I used to watch as a youngster, like "Rosemary's Baby" and "The Tenant" and "Don't Look Now" -- you know, more atmospheric and under the surface -- rather than waterskiing on a sea on gore and blood, which is sort of vogue right now," lamented Mr. Ellis, whose feature film romance drama "Cashback" (released in North America last summer) was based on his short film of the same title from 2005, for which Mr. Ellis garnered an Oscar nomination in the following year.
"Cashback" featured a male protagonist (played
by Sean Biggerstaff) as an insomniac artist and moonlighting Sainsbury's store
clerk who waxes poetic about his unabashed love of the female form, the beauty
that is woman and the yearning of turning back or freezing time to capture love
lost. "Cashback" has a strong feminine center to it, particularly in the
way that the male lead expresses his feelings, vulnerabilities and emotions
about the woman he truly loves.
"And the scares obviously work really well and you hear people scream or whatever, and you just think -- I guess it's like a comedian on stage getting laughs when he's on stage, you know. It's fulfilling."
"The Broken" plays on Saturday January 26 at 9:15p.m. at the Holiday Village Cinema IV, in Park City, Utah.
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