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FOR ELLEN

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WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY SO YONG KIM

Paul Dano gives a tour-de-force performance as a punk rocker caught up in a messy divorce/custody battle in the middle of nowhere. An actor who has previously played nerds and oddballs with tremendous panache, Dano here conveys charm, narcissism, immaturity and compassion in equal parts – all in one very complicated person who refuses to give up the relationship that he has barely begun to have with his young daughter. So Yong Kim, director of TREELESS MOUNTAIN, tells a tough, modern tale with a young man at its center who is as happy dancing alone to heavy metal in a bar, drunk, as he is sharing an ice-cream sundae with the stranger who is his child.  Once again the filmmaker demonstrates her extraordinary ability to get a naturalistic performance from a very young child, who almost -- but not quite -- steals the show from the über-talented Dano.

USA • 2012 • 93 MINS.  • TRIBECA FILM

REVIEWS

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“A superb performance from Dano as a man who can’t alter his erratic trajectory even when trying to do the right thing; his spastic bar dance to Whitesnake’s Still of the Night is a revelatory mix of mental breakdown and emotional catharsis.”
– Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York

“The method-y, elfin-brooder, hipster-star-of-the-moment Paul Dano has four movies out this year, but here is his one-man show, a post-Cassavetes gift to the lowly god of grit and ‘authenticity’… a lean character study of a classic…modern lost-boy archetype. Dano, with his remarkably guileless meta-teen puss, is thoroughly convincing.”
– Michael Atkinson, Village Voice

“(Kim) is a director with a special gift for drawing out natural and emotionally affecting performances from children. Shaylena Mandigo is near perfect as the confused six year old. FOR ELLEN vividly charts (a) nonstop spiritual emergency.”
– Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality & Practice online

“Further embellishes (Kim’s) reputation as an actors' director and a master of atmosphere, following Paul Dano's sad-sack rock star as he tries to briefly connect with the five-year-old daughter he never knew. It's a quietly heartbreaking gem.”
– David Fear, Time Out New York

“With a directorial voice as consistent as that of any current American independent filmmaker, So Yong Kim takes what could have been routine story elements and transforms them into something deeply sad and touching… Paul Dano delivers a beautifully wrought performance in a different key from any of his previous roles.”
– Robert Koehler, Variety

“(An) intimate drama…So Yong Kim brings a lyrical visual aesthetic to a stark, upstate New York winter landscape and gives her actors generous space and time to get real. Paul Dano (THERE WILL BE BLOOD) embodies a hard-rock singer named Joby with snake-hipped swagger, even as the pose begins to slip away, exposing a bundle of fragile nerves.”
 – Steve Dollar, Wall Street Journal

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FOR ELLEN: Q & A with actor PAUL DANO (Recorded September 15, 2012)