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in Filmmaking
on Aug 21, 2007

I’ll admit that it initially seemed a little weird when news broke that Todd Haynes’s I’m Not There would be opening on two screens at the Film Forum and also at Lincoln Plaza in late November. Decently budgeted (reportedly $13.5 million) and starring Cate Blanchett, Heath Ledger, Richard Gere and others, it hardly, as this piece by John Anderson in The New York Times points out, seems a likely candidate for a small arthouse opening.

But, it is a Todd Haynes film and the Film Forum is a great venue that carries cultural weight. I think, then, in the end there’s something refreshing about the choice, and I actually like Harvey Weinstein’s quotes and positioning of the film in Anderson’s piece:

But Harvey Weinstein, the company’s co-chairman, said the slow rollout was the best way to nurture an unconventional, nonlinear movie like “I’m Not There,” in which the above-mentioned stars play Mr. Dylan at particular stages of his life. Shot in styles that correspond to each Dylan epoch, “I’m Not There” sometimes looks like “A Hard Day’s Night,” elsewhere like “McCabe and Mrs. Miller,” with Mr. Dylan’s life being imbued with mythic American qualities.

“With a movie like this you have to build it,” said Mr. Weinstein, who founded the company with his brother, Bob, two years ago after an acrimonious split from the Walt Disney Company saw them relinquish control of Miramax. “I don’t think you can go out on 500 screens. The reason for Film Forum is you go where the best word of mouth is on the movie. I like the movie; I think it’s adventurous. The audience is going to have to work — work in a good way.”

For me, it feels like a nice throwback to the days when art films were a little bit special and not something to be decided upon while in line at the megaplex. In the meantime, here’s the trailer:

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