Believe it or not, local folk tale The Place Beyond The Pines is still showing in theaters. Well, “a” theater. Until Thursday. If you haven’t seen it yet, get down to The Scotia Cinema for an 8:35pm showing.
In the meantime…
Derek Cianfrance has directed two major motion pictures, and both proved critical darlings. During the Pines’ Schenectady premiere, as Mr. Cianfrance patiently posed for endless photographs and thoughtfully answered myriad questions, one thing repeatedly stuck out – those marks on his hand.
You might be thinking, “he’s a well dressed chap now, but must be a former gang member,” right? Or, you might guess he has “E V I L” tattooed on his knuckles. It’s gotta be prison ink! If you thought any of that, you be wrong.
I had a chance, at that premiere, on April 11th, to ask the man face to face, “Could you tell me about your tattoo?” He couldn’t have been more graceful, nor more thorough, in answering.
In his words:
“Yes! Ah, I was making a racecar movie [Quattro Noza / Streets of Legend] in Los Angeles one year, back in 2000, 2002, and we befriended this Filipino race car gang, and we were going 140 miles an hour, uh…illegally, on the streets of LA and I was hanging out the window with the camera for like all these years and eventually I started shooting with like 14 cameras at a time. We would be able to shoot for an hour and have to change tapes, and I was in a Home Depot parking lot at like 11 o’clock at night and I heard this voice say, “Hey, amigo.”
“I looked up and there’s this Hispanic guy. He’s like 5 feet tall, covered in sweat. He had a hat on that was dripping and the brim had fallen down in his face. His eyes were wide, and he’s dripping sweat and his shirt was sopping wet, this white shirt started turning yellow by the bottom and was kind of orange. And he lifted up his shirt and he had this knife wound, and it was festering and [things] were coming out. And he said, “can you help me?” And I say, “Yes, with everything I got.” and I gave him all my pocket change.
“I thought to myself, “Is that the kind of help this guy just asked me for, or did he need an ambulance or something?
At that moment, a voice interrupts as a hand grasps Mr. Cianfrance’s arm, “I’m sorry, we need to go inside.” The polite but firm statement came from an austere, black suited member of the PSI security detail assigned to the event, ushering the director on.
He condenses the rest, “So I went to look for him and he had disappeared. So, I wrote this…
…to remember to be responsible.”
I quickly thanked him as security whisked him through the crowd and into the movie screening.
I’m sure that summary didn’t convey the depth with which he felt it, but it’s easy to recognize: He told me this story after he’d walked the red carpet, posed for all the photos, and answered every other reporter’s questions. That, and it’s permanently tattooed on the back of his hand.
The Place Beyond The Pines is still showing at the Scotia Cinema until Thursday, July 25th, and is available via digital download from the usual outlets today, and will be available on DVD and Blu-ray on August 6th.