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Interview: Miles Joris-Peyrafitte – Dreamland

At age 23, Miles Joris-Peyrafitte won a Sundance Special Jury Prize for his first feature film, As You Are. Set in his Albany NY suburb during the ‘90s, it explored a Jules et Jim love triangle by way of hi-8 confessionals à la Rashomon intercut with anamorphic flashback footage of his own design. It was awesome. Now, three years later, Peyrafitte’s follow-up feature, Dreamland, has just premiered at Tribeca 2019. We sat down with the young director for an in-depth interview, linked below.

Dreamland is a Days of Heaven-style Dust Bowl-drama, starring Margot Robbie (who also produced) and Finn Cole. Cole plays out-of-work farm boy, Eugene; Robbie is on-the-lam bank robber Allison. To his delight—at least in the short term—Eugene lands the ultimate teenage fantasy: he discovers Margot Robbie hiding out in his barn. Quickly won over by her undeniable charms, Eugene helps his new crush plot an escape.

More of an outlaw-origin story than a shoot ‘em up western, Dreamland’s predictable plotline is subverted by its post-Bonnie and Clyde structure: instead of focusing on crimes committed, it explores the awkward in-between. Even better, the film’s period setting allows room for poignant present-day comparisons. One especially juicy anti-patriarchal undercurrent recalls the toxic masculinity targeted in As You Are—with an unexpectedly redemptive twist.

Stylistically, Dreamland is supercharged. Fish-eyes distort frames; formats collide; dissolves move as slow as molasses. It’s also a frame tale, ominously told by Eugene’s kid sister (in voiceover by Lola Kirke) who keeps you guessing. Even camera moves hold portent: in an expressive scene of seduction, one character is hidden entirely out-of-frame until a key moment. But none of this is style-over-substance; Peyrafitte has a vision. The film asks tough questions, about inheritance, about moral imperatives. Is Eugene doomed to follow in his birth-father’s outlaw footsteps? Or will he choose a more righteous path, embodied by his Sheriff stepfather? Fresh off his initial success with As You Are, Peyrafitte answers these questions deftly—and gives us a well-crafted ‘next step’ in his quest to become an accomplished director. Check out our interview below to learn more.

Dylan Kai Dempsey is a New York-based writer/filmmaker. His reviews have been published in Vanity Fair, Variety, No Film School, and He’s also developing a graphic novel as well as his own award-winning pilot script, #Likes4Lucas. He began as a development intern at Bonafide Productions in L.A. and Rainmark Productions in London.

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