I’ve been a gigantic fan of Brit Marling ever since the writer/actor’s award-winning parallel-Earth love story Another Earth and her mindbending time-travel (maybe) follow-up Sound of My Voice. For The Keeping Room she’s going back to the past again, except this time she’s not a quasi-time traveller starting a cult, as director Daniel Barber rather throws her into the middle of an intense looking US Civil War drama/western.
Co-starring is young Hailee Steinfeld, who should be more than familiar with the genre after her Oscar nominated turn in the Coen Bros’ True Grit, and newcomer Muna Otaru, who won tons of praise for role when the film debuted to a whole lot of critical acclaim on the festival circuit last year.
The first trailer for The Keeping Room has now popped up online and shows plenty of why the film was so highly praised, with sweeping cinematography, brooding dread and some heavy suspense. Check it out below.
Set in the rural South of 1865, the drama unfolds in the final moments of the Civil War, as northern troops progress towards victory. But those events take place well beyond the awareness of the three women at its center: Augusta (Marling), her teenage sister Louise (Steinfeld) and their slave Mad (Otaru). As all the men in their lives vanished long ago on the battlefield, the women exist in a static world, waiting for a salvation that they’ve started to realize will never come. But when Augusta rides in to town and catches the attention of two Union Army deserters, the three women must protect their home at all costs.
And in case you were wondering exactly what a “keeping room” actually is, Marlin explained the term to Yahoo!.
“These were common [in the South] — rooms that were the kitchen, but also a hearth, where everybody would always be gathering. [On set] it was just a tiny wooden room with all the actors and the cameras and the lights — everything’s crowded in there. [Laughs.] It got to be a pressure cooker, but you kind of wind up using that stuff in the film. The really tough shoots tend to make the better movies.”
That pressure cooker environment was apparently just one difficult aspect of Marling’s routine on this film that made this shoot one of her more challenging ones.
“In the days leading up to shooting, I was waking up before the sun and training for two, three, four hours on horseback, then going to rehearsal, and then going to [costume] fitting, and going back to horse training… It was so physically overwhelming. There would be scenes where everybody would have held it together, shooting in the heat in that hot keeping room with the door closed to keep the sound right for, like, five hours. The scenes would be really intense because the stakes are so high in the movie: Around every corner is a life-or-death moment. By the time we opened the door to the keeping room and stumbled into the twilight, people would just burst into tears.”
The Keeping Room also stars Sam Worthington (hey, remember him?) and Kyle Soller. It is scheduled for limited international release on September 25, 2015.
Last Updated: August 17, 2015