Q1 2023

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34 C I N E M O N T A G E F E A T U R E By Peter Tonguette F rom Francois Tr uffaut to George Lucas to Paul Thomas Anderson, moviemakers have always plumbed their own lives for source material. Among the latest major writer-directors to do so is James Gray, whose youth in the Flush- ing neighborhood of Queens, New York, during the 1980s provided a particularly rich starting point for his latest film, "Ar- mageddon Time." One of last year's most talked-about new dramas, Focus Features' "Armageddon Time" stars Banks Repeta as Paul Graff, the youngest member of a Jewish family in Queens in the early '80s. Paul's parents, Irving (Jeremy Strong) and Esther (Anne Hathaway), agonize over the future of their daydreaming, artistically inclined son. Ultimately, Irving and Esther pluck Paul from public school — thus disrupting his friendship with Johnny Davis (Jaylin Webb), a Black student who shares Paul's imaginative, big-dreaming nature — and enroll him in a private school, a decision that plays out disastrously. Looming over the story is Paul's grandfather, Aaron (Anthony Hopkins), who attempts to offer guidance to his grandson amid a world rife with prejudices and injustices. Of course, even an autobiographical film requires collaborators, and Gray assembled a top-flight crew to help his memories come alive, including his usual cinematographer Darius Khondji, ASC. Their ranks also ALL IN THE FAMILY SCOTT MORRIS REUNITED WITH A LONGTIME COLLABORATOR FOR THE PERIOD DRAMA 'ARMAGEDDON TIME' include picture editor Scott Morris, who entered Gray's orbit as a first assistant editor on the director's "The Lost City of Z" (2016) and an additional editor on "Ad Astra" (2019), both edited by John Axelrad, ACE, and Lee Haugen. In cutting "Armageddon Time," Morris called upon aspects of his own background: He grew up on Long Island and felt connect- ed with the setting of the new film. "I'm not from Flushing, but . . . I have family and friends in Flushing," said Morris, who en- tered Emerson College in Boston intending to become a cinematographer before falling in love with editing. "My brother lives in Queens, not too far from the school in the film, so I have a lot of connection with that." Perhaps even more important, Morris had developed a feel for Gray's style and working methods from their previous films. "His films are so personal," Morris said, "so you can imagine the cutting room is Scott Morris.

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