It has taken Jeff Nichols just two films to build up a repertoire which many are comparing to that of Terrence Malick. Following on from Shotgun Stories (2007), the director of the much-acclaimed Take Shelter (2011) returns to his native Arkansas with Mud. Stuck on an island in the Mississippi, a mysterious fugitive sets out to find the love of his life with the help of two young boys.
The same closeness to nature, family and traditions. The same perfectionism, slow and pictorial style as the director of Days of Heaven (1978) and The Tree of Life, Palme d’or at Cannes in 2011. Aged just 34, Jeff Nichols has established himself as an heir to Malick.
In Shotgun Stories then Take Shelter, two feature films of perfect technical mastery, this rising star of American art house films the place of his childhood with an occasionally harsh eye and reveals some of his deepest fears in his films: family break-up and upheavals in nature.
While he sometimes seems to use cinema as a way to vent his personal anxiety, Jeff Nichols also brings a critical eye to his feature films, particularly with regard to the consumer and capitalist society, which he accuses of oppressing the rural world from which he hails.
Jeff Nichols has once again created a film around nature. Mud is rooted in Mississippi, from which the director says he draws all the vitality of his storytelling and his characters. "My earlier films were very calm, even immobile, like their characters. I wanted this film and its characters to be as restless as the river," explains the director. Mud is about love, but also about our ability to cope with unrequited love and emerge intact from the experience."
The film screens at 8.30 am, 3.00 and 7.00 pm in the Grand Théâtre Lumière.