Blue Valentine director Derek Cianfrance - profile

Blue Valentine director Derek Cianfrance - profile

Director spent a decade rewriting over 60 drafts of Blue Valentine


Cianfrance first picked up a movie camera at the age of 13. He studied film production at the University of Colorado under avant-garde filmmakers Stan Brakhage and Phil Solomon. He wrote, directed and edited his first feature film, Brother Tied, which played Sundance in 1998. He has also made several documentaries on prominent musicians and bands for television.

What’s he up to now?
Cianfrance spent the past decade writing and rewriting over 60 drafts of Blue Valentine, his second fictional feature film starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. The movie is about a couple in the final throes of their relationship as they slowly drift apart. These sequences are juxtaposed against sequences of the couple getting together and falling in love. Gosling has just been recommended for a Golden Globe for his subtle performance as a man unable to stop his relationship sliding towards ruin.

What he says about Tom Waits
‘I just love him. I love Tom Waits. The movie is named Blue Valentine as homage to him. I remember the first time I ever heard Tom Waits was on a hotel room in Dallas, Texas when I was 18. I saw that Hot Tracks show they used to have on TV and they had some clips from Frank’s Wild Years on there and he was just the best; he’s got so much soul.’

On long-term relationships
‘My inspiration for the film was what happens over time. We’ve seen love tragedies before; we’ve all seen Romeo and Juliet where two people at the peak of their love die. We see it in Titanic. We see it time and time again, but I’ve never met anyone in my life who has had that good romantic fortune to die at the peak of their love. I’ve met a lot of people who, 5 years, 10 years, or 30 years later in the case of my parents, couldn’t do it anymore, and what happened in that time.’

Interesting fact
He has AMIGO tattooed on his hand as a reminder that he must take responsibility for all his own actions.

Blue Valentine, selected release, Fri 14 Jan.

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