At the first in a series of BFI London Film Festival filmmaker's teas, we speak with Derek Cianfrance about the origins of his acclaimed film Blue Valentine, including his own parent's divorce. He also discusses the 12 years it took to come to fruition, and his desire to keep the work fresh despite the lengthy development period.
"One of the stand-out films in this year's Sundance and Cannes Film Festivals, Blue Valentine is an intelligent, heartbreaking story of a couple nearing the end of their marriage. Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams) are parents of a beloved young daughter, but their relationship seems set in a downward spiral. In flashback we see the pleasure and promise of their early relationship, and the film pulls us between past and present, giving us a subtly drawn, non-judgemental portrait of the ebb and flow of love. The film's emotional landscape brings Cassavetes to mind, not least because of the intense, intimate performances of the two excellent leads. Writer-director Derek Cianfrance confidently handles his themes, skilfully weaving ideas of memory and temporality into the couple's story, and into Dean's attempt to get their relationship back on track. The technical choices reinforce this, contrasting 16mm and digital stock for past and present, and the yearning melodies of Grizzly Bear provide a fitting soundtrack to this painful, beautiful film. "