Whether British writer/director Andrea Arnold wins the Palme d’OR at Cannes in 2016 or not, her first American feature, ‘American Honey’ is already bringing home the gold.
Andrea Arnold won the Jury Prize at Cannes in 2006 for her feature film debut ‘Red Road’, which she wrote and directed. ‘Red Road’ was voted by The Observer as one of the top 25 British films in the past 25 years. Andrea won the Jury Prize again in 2009 for ‘Fish Tank’, not to mention her Academy Award in 2004 for the Best Live Action Short Film, ‘Wasp’ starring Natalie Press. (Now screening for free online).
‘Wasp’ focuses on a single mother raising four children alone, and shadows Andrea Arnold’s own childhood. Born to teenage parents, her mother was left alone to raise four children. Andrea learned first-hand what it meant to be from a working class background. “I write what I know’, said Arnold. Her scripts reflect the struggles of the human experience.
Andrea (left) entered into filmmaking as an actress and studied directing at the AFI Conservatory in LA. In 2013 she was the Filmmaker-in-Residence at the New York Film Festival and used the time writing the script for ‘American Honey’. Andrea created the template for the Residency program, designed to further the filmmakers creative process at the early stages of a filmmaking.
In ‘American Honey’ Andrea was inspired by the culture of hedonistic and dangerous youth who work in the controversial trade of traveling the country selling magazine subscriptions. Sasha Lane, with a character arc going from shy and introverted, to bold and daring, has the breakout performance that anchors the ensemble cast including: Shia LaBeouf, Veronica Ezell, Raymond Coalson, Isalah Stone, and Elvis Presley’s granddaughter Riley Keough, as the group leader. These are rebel outlaws running wild across a classic American landscape, with a soundtrack to match, most notably Rihanna’s “We Fell In Love In A Hopeless Place”. In ‘American Honey’, that place is a Wal-Mart store.
‘American Honey’ premiered at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. It was nominated for the Palme d’Or.
Opening nationwide October 29.
-by Pamela Perry