“Black Bear” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this year, and instead of hibernating, continued on the festival circuit at Montclair Film Festival, Nightstream Film Festival, and more. Now, the film is set to release on December 4th for audiences everywhere.
The film centers on stifled filmmaker Allison (Aubrey Plaza) as she tries to find inspiration staying with frustrated couple Blair (Sarah Gadon) and Gabe (Christopher Abbott) at a remote lake house in the Adirondack Mountains. Through intimate desire, manipulation, and jealousy, the trio ultimately are thrust into a discussion of what differs art from reality.
The initial plot came to writer-director Lawrence Michael Levine in a dream, and he also later drew inspiration from the dynamic between a filmmaker friend and his actress girlfriend. Black Bear‘s script truly sets the stage for an acting showcase, and after having worked with star Aubrey Plaza previously, Levine knew he wanted to cast her first in this project. Plaza also is a producer on the film. To round out the triangle, Sarah Gadon and Christopher Abbott were Levine’s first choices, and Levine had wanted to work with Abbott for his other films prior as well.
Black Bear‘s strong aesthetic style, ranging from an haunting score to stunning cinematography, encapsulated Levine’s rich knowledge of film history. “I feel like I was most free of direct influences on this film than any of my previous films,” Levine explained. “That being said, certainly when I watch it, I can see my love for Fellini’s 8 1/2, my love for Woody Allen’s Husbands and Wives, and John Cassavetes Faces and Ingrid Bergman’s Persona.”
Without giving the film’s twist away, Black Bear firmly places itself in an emotionally surreal reality that embodies the uncertainty of commitment, love, and self-worth. The beautiful, intense drama is certainly one not to miss.
“Black Bear” premieres December 4.