40 Shades of Blue
by Katie Rowlett
Ira Sachs, co-writer and director of Forty Shades
of Blue, accomplishes authentic realism with real style. The film,
which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance this year, screened at
Landmarks Midtown Art Cinema in Atlanta recently.
In Forty Shades of Blue, Laura (Dina Korzun)
is a young Russian woman living with Alan (Rip Torn), a legend in
the Memphis music industry. Laura endures the music industrys
racy lifestyle and Alans oblivious,
neglectful ways while caring for their three-year-old son, and is
thus alienated from all around her. When Alans son, Michael
(Darren E. Burrows), comes home to visit, he and Laura soon begin
an affair thats unrewarding and sloppy. What follows is a
series of desperate attempts for Laura to feel necessary, and we
can almost touch the realistic texture when Laura discovers that
whatever is missing, is still out of reach.
A notable scene with Alan and Laura lying in
bed is close to realistic perfection, combining Grade A performances,
bold camera framing, and genuinely raw dialog. Sachs understands
that along with dialog, the subtext and its truthful communication
are crucial to achieving realism. Korzuns performance is striking
and, although shes silent through most of the film, there
is an immediate and undeniable attraction to her demeanor. She is
chillingly truthful in her subtle executions of a wide range of
Although Forty Shades of Blue is full of tension
and anxieties, focusing on themes such as alienation and endurance,
the film still has some good laughs and even a sense of contentment.
The characters grow with their experiences but, as in real life,
they are still the same people in the end.