by Jim Ridley
Opening night of the 2013 Nashville Film Festival is just two days away. Every day, through the festival's close April 25, Country Life will feature a different trailer for a NaFF attraction. Kicking off the feature is the trailer for I Used to Be Darker, the new film from Baltimore writer-director Matt Porterfield, whose 2010 Putty Hill was among the best-reviewed indie films of recent years.
The synopsis, from the festival website: "When Taryn, a Northern Irish runaway, finds herself in trouble in Ocean City, Maryland, she seeks refuge with her aunt and uncle in Baltimore. But Kim and Bill have problems of their own: they are trying to handle the end of their marriage gracefully for the sake of their daughter, Abby, just home from her first year of college."
The movie was produced by Ryan Zacharias and co-produced by Brooke Bernard, the Nashville producing team behind such films as Brent Stewart's The Colonel's Bride, Potsy Ponciroli's Super Zeroes, James Clauer's much-anticipated When the World's on Fire, and Michael Tully's upcoming comedy Ping Pong Summer. At the Smells Like Screen Spirit site, Don Simpson praises the film within the context of Porterfield's other work:
I Used To Be Darker is probably the most conventionally structured three-act narrative you will ever see Porterfield direct; nonetheless he still finds ways to integrate his typical high levels of realism into the production. There is no denying that Porterfield is the modern master of utilizing diegetic sound and lighting, as well as allowing dialogue and scenes to breathe naturally, thus sharing an unmistakable kinship with Éric Rohmer and John Cassavetes. Porterfield’s unique brand of extraordinarily realistic films also features rich, visually poetic qualities. Shot by Jeremy Saulnier, I Used To Be Darker is a gorgeous film to observe; scenes are composed with classical precision and are complemented nicely by the natural light sources. Most importantly is the way that Porterfield and Saulnier always relate the characters to their surrounding environment; specifically, the rooms of Kim and Bill’s house seem to shape and define its inhabitants. That house is an intrinsic part of their existence.
The movie screens 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 23, with a second screening 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 24.