Sunday, August 26, 2012

Drawn from life

Ira Sachs' new film Keep The Lights On makes art from an old relationship. (NYT)

“Keep the Lights On,” which opens Sept. 7, is a balancing act typical of this director of “Forty Shades of Blue” (2005): a film based on highly intimate and painful autobiographical material that doesn’t rely on audience members having that knowledge to exert a hold on them. In “Keep the Lights On” those who know the back story will recognize the movie, set in Manhattan, as a refraction of Mr. Sachs’s past relationship with Bill Clegg, the literary agent who wrote of his struggles in “Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man.”

But knowing that back story is by no means crucial to appreciate the film. “It’s an attempt to be both observational and a good storyteller,” Mr. Sachs said over a leisurely tea at a restaurant near his Greenwich Village apartment.

While the film represents personal history, Mr. Sachs is also an enthusiastic student of film history, and “Keep the Lights On” takes a look at the history of gay cinema, especially in New York.

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