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January 2016

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Page 39 of 53 36 POST JANUARY 2016 O S C A R buzz rooklyn is an intensely poignant story of a young Irish immigrant (star Saoirse Ronan) who travels to 1950's Brooklyn, NY, and navigates her way through loneliness and homesick- ness into a new romance, but is then pulled back by her past, forcing her to choose between two countries and two lives. The film, from Fox Searchlight Pictures, is based on the best-selling novel by Colm Tóibín, and was creat- ed from a winning screenplay by Nick Hornby. Director John Crowley, best known for his BAFTA-winning drama Boy A, brought the project to life, seemingly having an immediate connection and unique insight into the material as he, too, is an Irishman living outside Ireland, having left his birthplace for England. While scenes were shot in both Brooklyn and Ireland (by DP Yves Bélanger CSC on Arri Alexa cameras), Crowley says save for two days, the bulk of the scenes that took place in Brooklyn were actually shot in Montreal over a three-week period because "we couldn't actually afford to shoot the whole film in Brooklyn." Here, Crowley discusses the film with Post. The film has generated a lot of buzz — what do you think is so special about this film? "It doesn't have an obvious film struc- ture. Audiences are responding to the fact that it seems to be a film without an obvious villain. It doesn't feel like a film where 10 minutes in, you sort of have a feeling about how it's going to play out. And yet, it's a very delicate, small story — but it's a small story that has huge scale to it. And for those audiences who enjoy the film, and there are some individuals who feel very strongly about it, they in- vest in it. I think it's also partly that, about halfway through the film, they genuinely don't know which way the film is going to work out. And I think that maybe that's the thing that plays in its favor. By the time audiences get her dilemma, be- tween two guys and two countries really, audiences have invested and are having a rich, emotional experience. "One other thing that you can feel au- diences responding to in screenings, es- pecially in America, is you've got people going, 'Oh my God, that was my grand- mother's story' or 'my grandfather's story.' There's a personal attachment to another generation's experience of immigration. When you watch in Ireland, everybody has a different take, the point of the people left behind. But everybody has a connection to immigration, as the central spine of the whole story, that's also fairly strong." Why did you want to make this film? Why did you want to tell this story? "I found it profoundly moving. And it's also an incredibly important story. Not just for Ireland but also for America because this is sort of an origin story. You're watching the young woman go through all these experiences. There are a lot of invisible power structures that could restrict her life and could hold her back and you watch her kind of gently rotating her way around that — it has a slightly subversive quality to that and that felt to me like a really emotionally powerful story. "Also, immigration has been back on the news the last few years, and here's a story that kind of humanizes people's relationship to the notion of immigration. If you are moved by her story and invest in her story, I think that's what that does is, it stops an individual treating migrants as a mass and humanizes something in a tiny, tiny way." Were there any technical challenges with the shoot — production or post? "I think the biggest one was the logisti- cal element of three shooting countries and the budget the size that we had. We had a core crew of heads of depart- ments who traveled everywhere, but you were picking up crew, you would pick up a different set of assistant directors, different sound department, that was difficult because, as you know, when you start shooting everybody finds a rhythm together and begins to work as a team after about a week. And then you have to stop and half that team goes on and half another team joins you and you find a different rhythm. And that was difficult. I can't pretend that that was easy, because it wasn't. And shooting a period film of this scale on the budget we had, what that basically came down to was the number of hours we can shoot every day. And there was a lot of pressure on the shooting schedule and it felt like every single shooting day was the kind of shooting day that on another JOHN CROWLEY: BROOKLYN A STORY OF LIFE, LOVE AND IMMIGRATION BY LINDA ROMANELLO B Director John Crowley shot many of the 'Brooklyn' scenes in Montreal to stay on budget.

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