FROM THE VAULTS! ► David Gordon Green’s extraordinary debut announced the arrival of a major new talent in American independent cinema and a new film poet in the Terence Malick mode. (Malick, himself a fan, would produce Undertow, Green’s third feature; Green’s more recent move to commercial comedy, including the Judd Apatow-produced Pineapple Express, has raised a few critical eyebrows.) Set in a derelict North Carolina hamlet, and acted by a non-professional cast, George Washington centres on a group of impoverished preteens, black and white, headed by 12-year-old Nasia, the film’s wise-beyond-her-years narrator. Her new boyfriend is awkward, eccentric George; one of “God’s mysteries and mistakes,” he’s literally soft in the head. The non-linear plot takes a hard narrative turn with a tragedy at the midway point; the film is lush, bucolic, tender, and impressionistic, with an effective improvisational feel, an intense sense of intimacy, and poetic abstractions that approach the surreal. Reviewers invoked the likes of Faulkner, Truffaut, Malick’s Days of Heaven, and Harmony Korine’s Gummo to describe George Washington’s strong sense of place, ravishing CinemaScope landscapes, poetic approach to childhood, and odd, unsettling mix of documentary realism and allegory. “A unique film ... A breathtaking debut from a director capable of greatness” (Rick Groen, Globe and Mail). Colour, 35mm. 89 mins.
"A little like Gummo re-imagined by Terrence Malick, Green's extraordinary debut feature is a film without a centre."Time Out | full review
"Poetic, patient and beautiful, it's an astoundingly mature film from 25 year old debutant director Green."Empire | full review
"You have to bring a lot of yourself to this film if you want it to give something back, but the rewards are considerable."Chicago Reader | full review