New York, I Love You: Joshua Marston in Brighton Beach

New York I Love You

 

Joshua Marston’s segment of “New York, I Love You” stars Eli Wallach and Cloris Leachman. The film, whose concept was created by Emmanuel Benihby, is being release October 16, 2009 by Vivendi Entertainment.

A veteran New York couple, Abe (Eli Wallach, THE HOAX) and Mitzie (Academy Award winner Cloris Leachman, THE LAST PICTURE SHOW), make their way slowly, stubbornly, proudly down a Brooklyn sidewalk – all the way to the boardwalk and a moment of poignant bliss, the kind that only a lifetime of love can create.

The closing segment of NEW YORK I LOVE YOU is directed by New Yorker Joshua Marston, whose first
feature film, MARIA FULL OF GRACE, the story of a yearning young Columbian woman who becomes a
drug mule, drew global acclaim and awards. Among the many honors it received are the Alfred Bauer
Award at the Berlin Film Festival, the Audience Award at Sundance, the Grand Special Prize at the Deauville Film Festival and Best First Screenplay at the Independent Spirit Awards. The cinematographer for the segment is Andrij Parekh, who is of Ukrainian and Indian descent and was recently named by Variety as one of “Ten Cinematographers to Watch.”

Marston fell in love with the overall concept for the film. “Living in the city, I’m constantly noticing little moments or relationships that would make wonderful small films, but there isn’t much support to shoot and
distribute those little movies,” he notes. “I loved the opportunity to tell a short New York story.”

He found himself with enough ideas to make a dozen shorts on his own. He explains: “The way I approached the project was to write a different short script every day for about two weeks. Some were based on ideas I’d had floating in my head for a while, while others were completely new. One of the things I liked about the approach of NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU was that it asked me to think in terms of neighborhood. So I had stories for Jackson Heights, Williamsburg, the Upper West Side — and then I remembered Brighton Beach. When I think of that area I think of the older folks you see sitting out on the boardwalk, watching the world go by. So that was the jumping off point for this story.”

Marston enjoyed the notion of exploring a part of love often ignored at the youth-oriented movies, yet the ultimate goal for all love affairs – lasting to the very end. “Too often, and mostly for commercial reasons,
we’re bombarded with movies about kids in their twenties, characters who don’t know anything about the
world,” he notes. “The older people are, the more life experience they have. I am interested in that, and I’m
interested in the habits and dynamics that couples and families form over time. So all those things, plus a
memory of my own grandparents, contributed to the creation of this piece.”

As for working with actors who are his elders, Marston says: “Working with Cloris and Eli was a complete treat. They had met and worked together in the Actors Studio. depending on which one you ask, 50 or 60 years earlier but hadn’t seen each other since. So it was a sort of reunion.”

He continues: “At 82, Cloris Leachman is unbelievably alive, with an uncontainable energy. She was completely committed to creating a character, which meant spending time with a Jewish family in Brooklyn, working on an accent, developing a hair style. She truly formed her on-screen character. And Eli was full of a thousand stories about all the great actors and directors he had worked with. At one point, as we were losing light and struggling with are our opening master shot, he pulled me aside, wagged a finger at me and said, ‘Let me tell you how Elia Kazan directed…’

That was the best part of the entire experience, getting a lesson on directing from Elia Kazan, transmitted by way of Eli Wallach. When I look at Eli and Cloris on screen I see the embodiment of the characters I imagined when I wrote the script, and there is no greater pleasure than that.”

Almost as soon as Benbihy first read Marston’s piece, he knew it would become the last thread in the tapestry of NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU. “I always knew it would end the movie because it is such a touching story, such a human story, such a different story from any other in the film and yet so New York,” says the producer. “Joshua always has a real social dimension to his work, he’s very comfortable working with different social backgrounds and cultures. Most of all this is a story that reveals how love operates at any age.”

 

SEGMENT DIRECTED BY JOSHUA MARSTON
Abe ELI WALLACH
Mitzie CLORIS LEACHMAN
Written by JOSHUA MARSTON
Director of Photography ANDRIJ PAREKH
Editor AFFONSO GONÇALVES
Original Music by MARCELO ZARVOS