Thursday 10 October: Scott McGehee & David Siegel
Script writers, producers and directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel made their spectacular debut in 1994 with 'Suture', an intriguing and stirring sci-fi thriller about an absurd case of mistaken identity, beautifully filmed in black and white, in the stylish CinemaScope format. In 2001 they directed the crime film 'The Deep End', a contemporary remake of 'The Reckless Moment' (1949) by Max Ophuls. McGehee and Siegel’s version shows the great lengths a mother (Tilda Swinton) goes to in order to protect her teenage son after he has killed his 30-year-old lover. In 2005 they directed 'Bee Season', a family drama starring Richard Gere and Juliette Binoche.
'What Maisie Knew' is a contemporary adaptation of the avant-garde novel of the same name written by Henry James, taking place in present-day upstate New York rather than the London of 1897. The film tells the story of six-year-old Maisie – brilliantly played by Onata Aprile, a charismatic newcomer in the world of film – trapped in a bitter custody battle between her parents, who are in the midst of a messy divorce. Het mother Susanna (a terrifying Julianne Moore) is a neurotic rock singer who’s working on a comeback and her father Beale (an equally terrifying Steve Coogan) is a famous art dealer. The girl’s parents are both more concerned with their material and financial resources than with their daughter’s wellbeing. It comes as no surprise that Maisie tries to flee her egocentric parents and seeks comfort in her former nanny and Susanna’s new partner Lincoln (played by True Blood hunk Aleksander Skarsgård). What Maisie Knew was directed by one of the few director duos in Hollywood, Scott McGehee and David Siegel, who always work together, just like the Coen brothers. Instead of the psychological horror of their famous ghost thriller The Deep End, this film portrays a family slowly breaking down in a realistic and gripping manner. This dysfunctional family drama about a child’s loss of innocence and the pain of growing up in a world centred on material wealth and emotional deprivation is heartbreaking in every way.