Cinema Releases - Opus Zero
Paul (Willem Dafoe) is an American composer who travels to a remote Mexican village to settle his recently deceased father’s affairs. He discovers a photograph of a young woman belonging to his father whom he is determined to find. Using a prototype ‘real-time’ translation device, Paul ambles through the pueblo mágico of Real de Catorce asking bemused locals for the whereabouts of Marianne.
Soon, a three-person film crew arrives in town looking to complete a documentary, which they describe as a ‘story of opposites’. Daniel (Andrés Almeida) and Fernanda (Cassandra Ciangherotti) piece together seemingly unconnected vignettes of village life, unaware that a miracle is about to be gifted to them. Paul and Daniel eventually cross paths in the enigmatic village and the result is an intellectual joust staged within an ancient amphitheatre.
Opus Zero meditates on ideas of culture, philosophy and the nature of death with subtlety and ambiguity.
Premiered at the Los Cabos International Film Festival in 2017.
In English and Spanish
Mexico/Germany 2017, 84min, Cert 15
Week Commencing 9th Aug - also on Curzon Home Cinema
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Since 1999, Daniel Graham has made several short films in Australia and France, worked in film distribution in the UK and interviewed directors such as Theo Angelopoulos, Bela Tarr, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Alexander Sokurov, Aki Kaurismäki, Claire Denis, Jacques Audiard, Olivier Assayas and Todd Solondz. He has also written a profile of Claire Denis for the International Film Guide, hosted several Q+A events and written about jazz music for www.allaboutjazz.com.
In 2012, Daniel was Line Producer on Post Tenebras Lux (Best Director, Cannes Film Festival) for Carlos Reygadas, who would go on to Associate Produce Daniel’s debut feature film Opus Zero (2017, Mexico/Germany), starring Willem Dafoe and Brontis Jodorowsky. Daniel’s next film is The Obscure Life of the Grand Duke of Corsica, which is scheduled to shoot late summer 2019.
2006 LA FORÊT (short film)
2009 DEADLAKE (short film)
2017 OPUS ZERO
|Old man||JOSÉ CONCEPCIÓN MACÍAS|
|Producer||JULIO CHAVEZMONTES (PIANO)|
|Executive Producer||PABLO ZIMBRÓN|
|Associate Producer||CARLOS REYGADAS|
|Coproduced by||INGMAR TROST (SUTOR KOLONKO)|
|JÖRG SCHULZE, PHILIPP KREUZER, ANDREAS ZIELKE (MAZE PICTURES)|
|DANIEL GRAHAM (BALTHAZAR FILMS)|
|COLOR SPACE MÉXICO|
|Director of Photography||MATÍAS PENACHINO|
|Sound Mixer||RAÚL LOCATELLI|
|Sound Design||JAVIER UMPIÉRREZ|
|Production Designer||CLAUDIO RAMÍREZ CASTELLI|
|Set Designer||SEBASTIAN ALVAREZ-ICAZA|
Mexico/Germany 2017, 84min
‘What is the meaning of existence? Are there sounds in silence? Is there life after death or, for that matter, before? Easy to joke. Opus Zero has that kind of de profundis tonal brinkmanship.
‘There is also an eerie, painterly beauty. Scumbled interiors hazy with time and memory; misty mountainscapes. And when a documentary team arrives midway to redirect the story, a “miracle” happens that sharpens and harmonises everyone’s mind, including our own.’
Nigel Andrews, THE FINANCIAL TIMES
'Beautiful, if puzzling curio of a film'
Owen Richards, i Paper
'Hollywood veteran Willem Dafoe brings a thoughtful weariness to thes opaque, odd, melancholic, contemplative drama of self-discovery set in Mexico.'
...there's an impressive painter's eye in the composition of scenes, the evocation of the rhythms of rural life and the capture of magnificent landscapes.'
THE DAILY MIRROR
'Visually it is a treat with massive landscapes interspersed with intimate scenes of village life. But the real meat here is the script and dialogue by writer director Daniel Graham which is at times delicately witty to intellectually challenging...incredibly stimulating.'
'Interesting and challenging film that has the look and feel of a visual and audio jigsaw...'
Paul Chapinal, FILM-NEWS
‘…Graham throws in a metaphysical surprise that tweaks the film into the realms of delightfully nuts magic realism. Both playful and deeply serious, Opus Zero is a beautiful abstraction.’
… Contemplating the nature of silence (which "doesn’t exist" and is simply the "means by which we measure sound" - is this the year’s most quotable movie?)
Benjamin Poole, The Movie Waffler
With an artistic approach, this film manages to be both provocative and challenging…
‘…there’s a raw, emotional truth running through every moment, carrying an open-minded viewer deep into ideas about invention and purpose, grappling with the power of both creating and experiencing art.
‘Writer-director Daniel Graham assembles scenes together in ways that are sometimes deeply connected and at other times feel random. But the open-handed story's ideas are powerful…’
Rich Cline, SHADOWS ON THE WALL
‘A thematic and artistic mix of Ingmar Bergman’s and Michael Haneke’s styles, Graham’s film uses the metaphysical to subtly document human beings’ limited existence on Earth.’
Ghazaleh Golpira, THE UPCOMING
‘As Dafoe switches eagerly between smaller, international fare and larger blockbuster projects this work may best be appreciated as one of many fascinating detours this tremendous talent has made along his career path.’
Opus Zero may be a modest work in terms of its scope and effect, but it’s highly ambitious in terms of its philosophical ambitions. Thanks to some fine performances that engage the audience...this is a film that may charm with its small town ethos, its spiritual yearning and its blackly comic elements that mix with the mystical.’
Jason Gorber, THAT SHELF
‘Opus Zero is a poetic, truth-seeking piece that grapples with life’s eternal questions.’
‘Willem Dafoe is a rare talent in world cinema. He’s just as comfortable in The Florida Project as he is in Aquaman. Perhaps the biggest surprise with Opus Zero is that it has taken him this long to embrace the Mexican cinematic revolution.’
James Mottram, AESTHETICA magazine
‘Set in the lonely, majestic countryside of Mexico, OPUS ZERO, is a film that washes over the viewer, and is absorbed by osmosis rather than rational assessment. This is the film’s charm…go along with the Mexican magic and it’s possible to almost feel like you are in the village with Paul, such is the rather hypnotic persuasion of Willem Dafoe’s performance portraying Paul’s personal, inner narrative.
‘OPUS ZERO is the first feature from writer/director/producer Daniel Graham, and his talent for original story concepts, the amalgamation of sound and vision, as well as directing actors into a film that feels ‘real,’ clearly shines. Shot for a low budget, OPUS ZERO, also reminds the viewer that script, technical know-how, vision and nifty financial footwork still go a long way to create something good and can still attract great actors.’
Jane Foster, BRITFLICKS
‘An interesting meditation on memory, grief and what remains.’‘Too often there are films which don’t treat an audience as intelligent, this film does.’
‘Willem Dafoe makes this film and is what captures the imagination. I certainly want to see more from Daniel Graham’
Benjamin Poole, MOVIE WAFFLER
WILLEM DAFOE INTERVIEW