Ira Sachs on Little Men, Gentrification, and the Value of a Movie That "Doesn't Work Economically”

Rich Juzwiak · 08/05/16 11:32AM

I have begun to think of this film as a metaphor for the place of personal cinema in our culture,” Ira Sachs (Love Is Strange, Keep the Lights On) told me one recent morning over coffee in New York’s Marlton Hotel. He was referring to his new movie, Little Men, which includes gentrification among its themes. When white married couple Brian (Greg Kinnear) and Kathy (Jennifer Ehle) inherit Brian’s father’s house in Brooklyn, they move there from Manhattan and face a tough decision: Should they allow the Chilean owner of the dress shop downstairs, Leonor (Paulina García) to remain and continue to pay rent that’s thousands of dollars below market value or kick her out? Since Brian’s an unsuccessful actor, his family could use the boost in salary that another tenant would provide. Complicating the plot is the quick bond Brian and Kathy’s 13-year-old son Jake (Theo Taplitz) forms with Leonor’s similarly aged son Tony (Michael Barbieri). The ensuing drama carefully props up each character’s situation on another’s, deliberately transmitting everyone’s motivation and dilemma to the viewer. To describe his movie succinctly in interviews, Sachs has been borrowing a quote from Jean Renoir: “The awful thing about life is this: Everyone has their reasons.”

Tribeca: Ira Sachs' Love Is Strange Is More Than a Gay Movie

Rich Juzwiak · 04/17/14 06:25PM

The premise of Ira Sachs' sixth feature, Love Is Strange, recalls a type of story we read in the news with increasing frequency: George (Alfred Molina) marries his husband Ben (John Lithgow) and loses his job teaching at a Catholic school as a result. That sounds like a recipe for a heavy-handed message movie, but the beauty of Love Is Strange (and it really is a beautiful movie – hands down my favorite I've seen so far this year) is its subtlety.