Passion Fish (Sayles, 1992)

The cinema of John Sayles is crucial to American moviemaking, not simply because of his stellar writing and way with actors, but due to his independent spirit. He crafts films outside the studio system, funding them himself and creating on his own terms. I discovered Sayles in high school after my great 11th grade History teacher Mr. Sutton introduced me to Matewan. I went on to view almost his entire filmography, and many of his films, including Lone Star and Limbo became all-time favorites. Most of all, I admire Sayles for the characters he creates. With the exception of Silver City, Sayles has never let me down. I missed Passion Fish during my first fore into the Sayles canon, and I’m sorry I didn’t watch it sooner. Perfect example of how Sayles uses regions to counteract and parallel relationships. Mary McDonnell’s newly paraplegic soap star and Alfre Woodard’s newly clean drug addict find reason in each other, both to live and to love. Haunting images of the bayou, compliments of ace D.P. Roger Deakins, only add to the layers of subtext passed from one character to the next.

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