Our lives are made up of the tiniest things. The clothes we wear, the items we carry, the things we surround ourselves with. Some are meaningless, some of the utmost importance, some are practical and some are personal expressions of self, but all comprise the minutiae that make up every single day of our lives.
As such, details are vital to good filmmaking. Details cover the things too mundane to say, they reveal personality, class, social status, employment, and just general character quicker and more efficiently than any dialogue could, and they establish the cinematic world on a sensory level, drawing we the audience into it more easily.
In a wonderful new video essay by an essayist making her OPS debut, Isabella Cuevas Pierson – also our fellow Pacific Northwesterner, represent – the details of Debra Granik’s masterful WINTER’S BONE are examined for their impact on the film’s narrative and tone.
WINTER’S BONE is without a doubt one of my favorite independent films of the last ten years, and not just because it bestowed upon the world the awesome force of nature that is Jennifer Lawrence, and not just because it is another in a long line of outstanding performances by perhaps the most underrated character actor of our time, John Hawkes, but also because it is, quite simply, a backwoods noir masterpiece, a slice of heartland subculture that is raw, revealing and riveting. I have been chomping at the bit for Granik to release another feature (in the six years since WINTER’S BONE she’s only directed the documentary STRAY DOG), and only last month we got word that it’s coming: she’s writing and directing MY ABANDONMENT, based on the novel by Peter Rock, and slated to star Casey Affleck as a father living with his 13-year-old daughter in a Portland park (PNW again, go us) “when a small mistake derails their lives forever.” Sounds perfect.
WINTER’S BONE is a truly marvelous film, and Ms. Pierson has done it due credit with this outstanding essay. Watch it with a sharp eye, because like details, the beauty here is in every second.
Details | A Video Essay On Winter’s Bone from Isabella Cuevas Pierson on Vimeo.