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Trailer Watch: James Gray’s Armageddon Time

The first trailer has arrived for James Gray’s Armageddon Time, the 1980-set film that’s loosely based on the director’s own experience growing up Jewish in Flushing, Queens. After premiering at Cannes earlier this year and screening at Telluride and the NYFF, the film will hit U.S. theaters via Focus Features on October 28.

Armageddon Time follows 12-year-old Paul Graff (Banks Repeta, Gray’s young avatar), who forms a budding friendship with a Black peer named Johnny (Jaylin Webb). When the two are caught toking in their public school’s bathroom, Paul is immediately enrolled in a private (and almost entirely white) school by his parents (Anne Hathaway and Jeremy Strong). Though the boys attempt to remain friends, Paul is passive during instances of cruel school yard racism faced by Johnny—an act of intolerance that Paul’s grandfather (Anthony Hopkins), a survivor of the violent anti-semitism which has long ravaged Europe, simply can’t abide by. In his Cannes review, Vadim Rizov observed about the film’s Proustian elements (a reference cited by the director himself), “…looking back at his childhood, Gray can see the seeds of the rot of the American Empire extremely clearly.”

Read previous Filmmaker coverage of Gray’s previous films, including interviews on Ad Astra, The Lost City of Z, The Immigrants and Little Odessa.

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