Who said nothing good comes of high school reunions?
Michel Franco’s upcoming feature “Memory” follows Saul (Peter Sarsgaard) after he reconnects with former classmate Silvia (Jessica Chastain) at their reunion. After Saul stalks Silvia back to her home, the duo are forced to confront their shared past. The film will make its world debut at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival.
Per TIFF’s synopsis, “Silvia works at a public home in New York City for adults struggling with mental health conditions. She leads a simple and structured life: her daughter, her job, her AA meetings. She meets Saul in the worst circumstances, after he has creepily followed her home from their high school reunion party and she finds him dripping wet and freezing outside her door the next morning. Their surprise encounter will profoundly impact both of them as they open the door to the past.”
Merritt Wever, Josh Charles, Elsie Fisher, and Brooke Timber also star.
Mexico City-based writer-director Franco returns to TIFF with “Memory” after showcasing films “New Order” (2020) and “Sundown” (2021) at the festival. Franco reunites with frequent collaborator, cinematographer Yves Cape, for the drama.
“I wanted to make a film about people who for whatever reason fall through the cracks of society,” Franco said of “Memory” in a press statement. “Their inability — or unwillingness — to conform to expectations is often rooted in events that only exist in their memories. But sometimes their very marginalization offers an escape from the shadows of the past, a chance to build a life in the present.”
Franco previously told IndieWire that he welcomed the backlash garnered from both previous features, saying, “I knew it was gonna stir things up. And I think people were even more sensitive. But to me, that’s very flattering interest. Some people were concerned like, ‘Are you OK, Michel?’ I’m not just OK. I’m very happy to see that my work triggers such conversations.”
The writer-director further addressed why he is hesitant to take on Mexico-based projects that he did not write. “I’ve been offered stuff. Many people wanted to turn ‘New Order’ into a limited series. I’ve been offered scripts,” he said. “I’ve been offered to direct some of these TV shows that actually portray Mexico in a silly way — violent, drug-related — which people embrace and I find stupid. The answer is no. The pleasure comes from challenging the audience as far as I can. Again, with my actors, that’s where the pleasure comes from. I’m happy with where my filmmaking is at.”
“Memory” is currently seeking U.S. distribution. Check out the first look image above.