‘A Wife Alone‘ is a dark psychological thriller about an ill-fated marriage in the suburbs of upstate New York. The plot centers around Jane, an attractive young bride who marries a naive investment banker named Park. The young, ostensibly happy couple buys a quaint house in a nice neighborhood and settles into the suburban dream before a visit to Park’s godparents, Steve and Holly, sends their idyllic existence into a desperate tailspin. Park’s godfather and mentor, Steve, is a cruel and domineering man with a penchant for illegitimate business deals and expensive prostitutes. He lords over his wife, colleagues, and anyone in his path with a single-minded goal of satisfying his deep-seeded, ego-maniacal urges. Steve immediately recognizes Jane as a woman he once “met in a hotel” and his own inner conflict swirls. As the fateful night unfolds, it is revealed that Jane’s presence in the house was not some bizarre, unfortunate coincidence but rather a carefully orchestrated plot of revenge and corruption that builds to a ruthless, enduring climax.
We sat and talked with ‘A Wife Alone‘ Co Writer and Director Justin Reichman at the 2013 Brooklyn Film Festival, where the film premiere’s on Thursday, June 6, 2013 at Windmill Studios NYC. The film also plays Sunday, June 9, 2013 at Indie Screen.
For more information & tickets to ‘A Wife Alone’ at the 2013 Brooklyn Film Festival – HERE
‘A Wife Alone’ is described as “neo-noir”. In your own definition, what filmmaking characteristics make for successful “neo-noir”?
I don’t know that it is a neo-noir film. It seems like most people call any noir that is made now a neo-noir because they follow in the footsteps of gritty, street level noir instead of classical filmmaking. This is actually a more classical format of filmmaking. Maybe neo-noir is not the best way to describe the film.
How do you describe classical filmmaking?
I am thinking of the camera work. It is dollies; it is all still; there are no hand-held shots in the film. It is not trying to base itself in reality. I guess in that sense you could call it a neo-noir, because it is not operating under the same reality one thinks of when thinking of noir from the 50s or the books the Coen Brothers base their films on. So, maybe, camera-wise and the way it is told is classic.
Did you draw from specific influences when writing and shooting the film?
Harold Pinter was a big influence. I saw ‘The Homecoming‘ on Broadway and that really struck me. His film that he wrote, ‘The Servant‘, is a great noir and very heavy psychologically. Almodovar’s latest films – I really liked ‘Volver‘. I loved that short film ‘Six Shooter‘ by Martin McDonough.
Why did you decide to shoot in Rochester, and B: If you can tell me some of the advantages and disadvantages to shooting up there.
The biggest disadvantage was having the developing lab in New York City. We would have poor souls on the train or bus at night, getting the film developed and bringing them back the next morning. I never would have thought that Kodak would not have a lab in Rochester or in the area. Also, It is always harder to get actors to Rochester than New York since it is 6 hours away.
On the bright side, people are more excited to have their locations in the film since there are not many that go up there. I know a lot of people there. It makes these things easier.
Why the Kodak 16mm film stock?
I thought the cinematographer’s best work was done on film, but it was more in that I wanted the feeling of shooting film on set. It makes everyone more attuned to what is going on. You have to prepare a more. Everyone feels like there is something happening.
Did you know from the get-go you wanted to shoot film? Did you weigh out the pros and cons shooting on digital?
I always wanted to do it, there was never any question of that. In the end we found the money, and it seemed like it was worth sacrificing some of the other things we could have done with that money to have the experience.
I love the poster art for the film. Can you tell me a little about the artist, developing the poster art, and where the influences came?
It’s through a company called Random Bench in LA. I saw a poster of theirs at our sound designers. I called them up and they gave me some outrageous quote, but they watched the film and liked it so they agreed to work with us. I harangued him for many days and gave him some ideas. The biggest inspiration was this poster with Marlene Dietrich and Andy Warhol had acted in it as a little boy. I took a picture of that and sent that to him.
I designed the font based on that poster. I hand drew it, cleaned up the edges and put it in their. The dreaminess and blurred lined quality came from this 1920s poster.
What makes the Brooklyn Film Festival important to the ultimate life span of the film?
It is my hometown.
Can you explain something about how the soundtrack was constructed?
Robert Picyor composed the score. I also have to give a lot of credit to Ben Chace, our editor, who is in a band called Bird Dog who closes the film. The three of us worked very organically. We got Bob writing little diddies early in the editing for different parts of the film, and then we would move things around, and Bob would work off that. We had studio had musicians record different parts for the film, also. Our sound engineer did a great job on the mix. It is really beautifully done.
What is next for the film?
We would love to have a European premiere, and hopefully get a small theatrical release in New York and LA, and simultaneously work the VOD angles. We have talked to some people about television premieres at some point, and digital.
To wrap up, in your own words can you just explain what is special about your film and why should people see it?
What isn’t special about it? (laughs) What is special is that all these amazing people worked on it and I would love to see them get exposure. They poured their hearts into it.
We wrote the thing to death. We wrote it six times for about a year. I worked on other scripts on and off at the same time that influenced the screenplay as it evolved. I think since we started shooting, it has been two years of raising money, post, and just getting it done.
– Interview Conducted, Recorded & Transcribed on site at the 2013 Brooklyn Film Festival by Steve Rickinson
About Justin Reichman
Justin Reichman is a Brooklyn-based screenwriter and director with a strong, focused vision for his work. He began his career acting in various short films and credits his acting past to his ability to develop real, meaningful bonds with the actors he works with on his own films. Justin studied film directing at Columbia University but his real education came on set – he has worked for years as a script supervisor, working alongside a slew of talented directors, DP’s, and actors on productions of all budgets. Some of the films that Justin has worked on include Second Child, The Normals, and The Perfect House. Justin’s own short films include Chili For Breakfast, 13 Buckingham, and The Florist, an Official Selection at the Sante Fe Independent Film Festival. Justin is also a talented writer who co-authored Hoping Zwirner Dies, a finalist for the prestigious Sundance Screenwriting/Directing Lab