Thursday, January 15, 2009

Honeymoon (1998)

"Honeymoon" is a film by filmmaker/critic Dan Sallitt. I'll lift the synopsis from the films press kit "HONEYMOON, written and directed by Dan Sallitt, is the story of Mimi and Michael, in their thirties, who marry suddenly after years of friendship and go on their honeymoon without having had a physical relationship. The honeymoon turns into a nightmare of sexual failure and conflict, which the couple seems powerless to resolve." I've been wanting to see this film for some time, and saw that it was available at "Createspace".

I ordered it the other week, and last week-end I sat down and watched it. The film is an interesting character study of Mimi and Michael. The way the film treats the subject matter is non-flinching. At times I thought I was watching a documentary. Both actors seemed to have slipped into the characters and become them. The camera lingers on Mimi & Michael as they discuss there problems in bed, and it is how the actors behave that makes this film. I've always been interested in getting good performances out of actors. My own film has made that even more of an obsession since I see where things went right and when things didn't work out the way I'd like. In Honeymoon the actors give a stellar performance. For a lot of the film the are in bed nude, and its as if we were a fly on the wall listening to their conversations. This is in large part due to Dan Sallitt's direction. Sallitt made the film for $60,000 from a gig he had in the computer industry. Sallitt shot it in NYC and in Northeast Pennsylvania where his parents had a house. This is from the press kit Sallitt has on his web site:

Sallitt, a former film critic for the Los Angeles Reader, financed HONEYMOON with $60,000 that he earned as a technician in the computer industry. Shooting took place in the summer of 1996, with the honeymoon scenes shot at Sallitt’s parents’ cottage at Sylvan Lake in Northeastern Pennsylvania, and the city scenes on location in New York City. Principal photography was completed in nineteen days. “I’m definitely not a one-take director--I think we shot at a 7:1 ratio, which is high for a low-budget film,” says Sallitt. “But we stuck to our cutting continuity, and I don’t shoot coverage, so I got away with doing the number of takes I needed and was still able to make a three-week schedule.” The completed film contains only 230 shots, giving it a much more leisurely editing pace than most films.

If you like good character studies then this is an interesting film for you to see. I was interested in seeing the film because it had received some festival attention, and I missed it one time at the CinemaArts theater in Huntington Long Island. I was a member there for awhile, and still love the theater. It's a good place to see independent films. I was envious in how Sallitt got his film into festivals. A hard thing to do these days. To say that this is my type of film would be incorrect, but I do like character studies, and enjoyed watching the actors Edith Meeks (Mimi) and Dylan McCormick (Michael) get into character. The subject matter is also interestingly dealt with. I am most certain that couples do talk about this and it happens more often then we are lead to believe. I'm surprised that a cable station such as Sundance channel, or IFC channel doesn't pick this up. They have shown a lot worse, but then again it's about politics I believe, and who you know. Yeah I know you're not suppose to say that, but come on. It's a reality, and its a shame since films like "Honeymoon" slip through the cracks.

If you are interested in Dan Sallitt visit his web site, and he even now has a blog. Sallitt has a second feature called "All the Ships in the Sea". It's available at CreateSpace. I wish I could be as cerebral as Sallitt, but I've been corrupted by too many B-movies, and exploitation films. It's neat to see such a masterful work that is both interesting in subject matter, and in viewing. At the end of "Honeymoon" I came away a little bit envious at how a good director can inspire his cast and create an interesting story that feels very real.

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