As I Lay Dying
Directed by: James Franco
Wednesday, March 5 - Thursday, March 6, 2014
James Franco in person Wed Mar 5 at 7:00! (SOLD OUT)
“James Franco has pulled off a devilishly difficult literary adaptation with this faithful yet cinematically vibrant version of William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying. Like the multiple English master’s degree holder he is, Franco, with co-scripter Matt Rager, has wrestled to the ground the author’s fragmented, multi-voiced tale of the ordeal an impoverished Mississippi family endures to bury its matriarch and emerged with something many have tried but few have delivered, a worthy screen adaptation of Faulkner. A rarified art film all the way, one that will divide even brainy students and specialized cinema types, this is by a long way the best of the eight features the mind-bogglingly prolific actor-director-writer has made and is, as such, a big surprise.
“[The narrative] concerns an effort of almost Biblical severity and suffering endured by the dirt-poor Bundren clan as it fashions a homemade wooden coffin for Addie, the mother of four sons and one daughter, and takes it by wagon down dirt roads and across a high river to a distant town. No one makes it to the destination in quite the same condition in which they left.
“So extreme is the hardship endured, and so stultifying the dull repetitions of physical labor, that one might have thought the only film directors capable of reimagining the story for the screen would have been Bela Tarr or the Dardennes brothers. But Franco, employing diverse cinematic techniques from split screen (mostly early on) to direct-to-camera address, makes the Bundrens’ time of trial more immediately coherent than it is on the page without disrespecting Faulkner’s oblique style… Franco’s storytelling is confident and sure-handed, both with the camera, which, in the capable hands of Christina Voros, roams around to capture privileged moments, and the actors, who all seem to have seized their characters with their entire beings.” – Todd McCarthy, Hollywood ReporterR, 110 Minutes