Director and Co-Writer, Ira Sachs originally debuted his new film, “Keep The Lights On” at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival, which I was fortunate to attend. In attendance were many of his cast and crew including lead actor, Zachary Booth who plays Paul, opposite Erik played by Danish actor, Thure Lindhardt. The story tells a love story spanning the course of almost 10 years beginning in 1997 when Erik meets Paul on a sex chat line and they decide to hook up at Paul’s apartment. A hot sexual encounter between the two characters is enough to peak the interest of both guys who decide to explore a little more than a one night stand. What ensues is a timeline of almost 10 years documenting the ups and downs of love between the two men in post-Stonewall era New York City.
Director Ira Sachs told the audience that the film is semi-autobiographical, but that as soon as co-writer, Mauricio Zacharias helped piece the story together, through Sachs’ written stories, the film had a fictional life of its own. Sachs does a brilliant job of placing a microscope over his protagonists’ while drawing out authentic performances from both actors. Casting for this film wasn’t easy admitted Sachs, especially for the part of Erik who had to be completely comfortable having sex on camera and show a vulnerability towards Paul. Zachary Booth who plays Paul, works as a lawyer for a book publishing company with a secret crack addiction. Booth said that his challenge was to make Paul a likable character even when he was at his lowest points, thus having the audience believe that Erik would want to stay with him. Fans of “Damages” with Glen Close, will know Booth as the son of Patty Hewes, played by Close, who does an amazing job going head to head with his mother.
An interesting component to “Keeping The Lights On” is the film within the film concept. Erik is a documentary filmmaker producing a film about Avery Willard. Willard made avante garde films from the 1940’s until the 70’s, as well photographing homoerotic male nudes. Not much is known about the artist, but the real life documentary is currently being produced by Sachs and Cary Kehayan. KTLO utilizes real life interviews from the documentary showcasing and unravelling a life which mirrors the unravelling of the relationship within the film. It also provides a preview of this interesting documentary on the horizon.
Also keep an eye out for Progressive Pulse favorite, Sebastian La Cause (Hustling the Series) as he manages to combine his hot sex appeal, with comedy in the film; not once, but twice. La Cause was at the screening on Wednesday and told me this was his first time viewing the film, which he really enjoyed being a part of and viewing.
Go to keepthelightsonfilm.com to find out when it has a theatrical release plus you can learn more about Avery Willard. “Keep the Lights On” opens today in Berkeley and San Francisco at the Landmark, and is currently playing in L.A. at the Sundance Sunset Cinema as well as Laemle’s Playhouse 7 in Pasadena. In New York you can catch the film at Clearview Chelsea and the Film Society Lincoln Center. You can follow the film on twitter at @ktlomovie or Facebook Watch the trailer for the film below: