Gus Van Sant opens Un Certain Regard with a movie dedicated to youth and love. Restless is the fifth feature film by the US film-maker to appear in the Official Selection. His movie Elephant won the Palme d’or in 2003.
His new film relates a tale of young love that is graceful and tragic. But, unlike Elephant or Paranoid Park, the drama here contains a spark of happiness.
Enoch and Annabel each have to face up to dealing with a personal ordeal. Enoch has just lost his parents in a car accident; Annabel is suffering from terminal cancer. But the forcefulness of their encounter, their complicity and the love that unites them enable them to transform their anger and fear and face their destiny with humour and radiance. The two heroes are played by Henry Hopper, the son of Dennis Hopper, in his very first movie role, and Mia Wasikowska, Tim Burton’s marvellous Alice.
Initially written for the theatre, Restless was taken up by the actress Bryce Dallas Howard (The Village, Manderlay). She convinced the play’s author Jason Lew, a friend from her university days, to adapt the play for the cinema. Thrilled with the resulting screenplay, she decided to produce the movie in association with her father Ron Howard. They quickly decided that Gus Van Sant should be the director, on account of his sensitivity, his sense of poetry and his taste for passionate, original characters.
Since his first film in 1985, Gus Van Sant has alternated between formal, characteristic movies based on his own screenplays (My Own Private Idaho, Elephant, Paranoid Park) and more classically constructed movies written by others (Good Will Hunting, Harvey Milk). In Restless, he pursues this second vein, while nonetheless continuing to explore his preferred themes.
The film will be screened in the Debussy Theatre at 11am and 7pm on Thursday 12 May.