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Interview: Ira Sachs (Keep the Lights On)

We sat down with Ira Sachs shortly after the world premiere of his latest film, Keep the Lights On, after its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, 2012. Set in New York City, the film spans a decade in the relationship of Erik, a documentary filmmaker, and Paul, a closeted lawyer. Beginning when the two men first meet, the film intimately details their romance, from an intense first encounter through the trajectory of a complicated relationship tempered by drug addiction, sex, and cultural attitudes towards gay relationships.

In our interview, we discuss with Sachs the rumored autobiographical aspect of his latest work, as well as his filmmaking process. This being the fifth feature from the talented director, he discusses the films that have inspired the tone of his other works, along with his latest (which includes some Jacques Nolot titles and Maurice Pialat’s 1980 film, Loulou), along with depictions of gay relationships in cinema. Sachs discusses his interests in depicting complicated depictions of foreign others in the American landscape, and even gives us a first scoop on his next project in development.

Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2021: France (Bruno Dumont), Passing (Rebecca Hall) and Nightmare Alley (Guillermo Del Toro). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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