Usa / 101’
from the novel Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
cast Jane Fonda, Robert Redford, Bruce Dern, Matthias Schoenaerts, Judy Greer
screenplay Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber
cinematographer Stephen Goldblatt, ASC, BSC
editor John Lyons
production designer Jane Ann Stewart
costume designer Wendy Chuck
music Elliot Goldenthal
sound Ed Novick
Ritesh Batra - Our Souls at Night
Out of Competition - Fiction
Usa / 101’
Addie Moore has a most unusual proposal for Louis Waters. They are both past retirement age and widowed for some time. They both live in a quiet Colorado town where the best thing is that everyone knows everyone. And the worst thing is that everyone knows everyone. Although they’ve been longtime neighbors, their acquaintance is hardly more than casual, until one day Addie proposes that they sleep together—purely for the companionship, to have someone to talk to in the dark, to sense the presence of another soul in close proximity, to help sleep come easier. When Louis agrees, Addie is both surprised and delighted. What they discover in the relative dark of night, they reveal through the stories they tell each other, history that’s long buried. It’s only by confessing their past to one another that they can shed the guilt of lost opportunities—words and emotions thought but never expressed—and move past the devastating effect the absence of love can have on a life and into the beautiful effect finding love again can have in life’s final chapter.
Kent Haruf’s work has always had a special place in my heart for its honesty and specificity. I was honored to adapt his last novel to the screen, and to collaborate with Robert Redford and Jane Fonda to tell this story of ordinary people so intensely specific and local, and that’s what makes it universal. We cast extensively locally, and the story gave us a chance to explore the specificities of Eastern Colorado—the landscape that drives these two characters together, the things they like to hear on the radio, and the timeless notion of pretend families. Working with the actors and the land to tell Haruf’s story of this cycle of love and loss that is life, just made me more certain that stuff of great literature exists nowhere else but in our everyday lives, as it always has.