Brady Corbet uses modest budgets to make films of gargantuan, epochal scale. His directorial debut The Childhood of a Leader proffered an origin story for fascism in the 20th century through a troubling character piece about a young sociopath, and his flashy follow-up Vox Lux tackled the new millennium, its first half bookended by a facsimile of the Columbine massacre and the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
He seems to regard movies the same way many of the great novelists regarded literature: as a way to chart, make sense of, and identify the hazards in the course of humanity.
These historical ambitions will continue with Corbet’s next feature, as Deadline reports. His gestating film The Brutalist has taken on a cast replete with stars, including Joel Edgerton, Vanessa Kirby, Sebastian Stan, Marion Cotillard, and Mark Rylance. They’ll be joined by Vox Lux stars Raffey Cassidy and Stacy Martin, as well as the Ivorian-French great Isaach de Bankolé.
The script (coauthored with his wife and fellow cineaste Mona Fastvold) assumes an epic scope, covering three decades as celebrated architect László Toth (Edgerton, hopefully doing his best on a thick Eastern European accent) sifts through the aftermath of war. Both Holocaust survivors, he and his wife (Cotillard) flee the devastation of World War Two to start anew in the States, where modernity as we know it first starts to crystallize. But “their lives are changed forever,” a phrase that could foretell anything from an indecent proposal to a catfishing, by an enigmatic new client (Rylance).
In case this much wasn’t evident from the sweeping synopsis, the Deadline item identifies this production as “an epic saga and an unconventional love story,” scripted and performed in a mix of English, Yiddish, Hungarian, and Italian. I, for one, look forward to the prospect of Cotillard kvetching about all this verkakte industrialization and corporatization and other societal mishegoss of the expanding midcentury America.
As Fastvold’s newest solo film The World to Come prepares to run at the Venice Film Festival this week, distribution rights for The Brutalist will be up for sale at the Toronto International Film Festival’s buyer market. The tentative production plan places the start date for shooting in January of next year, positioning it for a possible run in the 2021 fall festival season.
Venice gave Vox Lux a loving home in Competition back in 2018; in the brighter, safer world of the future, perhaps we festival-starved press will be able to see it on the banks of the Lido.
Published 2 Sep 2020
By Conner Reed
Brady Corbet’s second directorial feature skewers a culture obsessed with easy catharsis and saviours.
By Ed Gibbs
The actor discusses stepping behind the lens for his startling directorial debut The Childhood of a Leader.