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“Every Work of Art Is Political”: Director Cory Finley | Thoroughbred


During its development, production or eventual distribution, what specific challenge of communication did, or will your film, face? How did you deal with it, or how are you planning to deal with it?

I spent a lot of time thinking, at every stage of making the film, about how it works as social critique. That’s not the story’s primary mode: it’s a psychological thriller, and it’s a study of two characters and their evolving relationship. But a playwriting professor once told me that every work of art is political, whether its creator wants it to be or not. I’m aiming to say something about the morally insulating effects of privilege, and about how manipulation is woven into the day-to-day reality of a capitalistic society. But I didn’t want to shove these ideas in front of the audience, or to pass judgment on the characters in an effort to clarify them. And so, in trying to stay faithful to the protagonists’ points of view, there’s the risk that I won’t communicate the political ideas clearly. But that’s a risk I’ll take: the movies I most admire are those that entertain an audience so completely that they don’t realize they’re wrestling with ideas until later. Thoroughbred tries to walk a narrow tonal line, and I’ll be excited to see how people react to it.

[PREMIERE SCREENING: Saturday, January 21 at 12:00pm — Library Center Theatre]

Sundance Responses 2017

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