To celebrate our tenth anniversary, we asked Film Streams staff and board members to pick their top ten from the more than 1,600 films that illuminated the screens of the Ruth Sokolof Theater during its first decade. What emerged was a series that champions some of the finest independent and foreign films released in the last ten years.
Though NEBRASKA’s title suggests the film would be a sweeping portrait of the midwest, the film is really an intimate look at the relationship between father and son. Nebraska becomes the endpoint of a journey that transforms them emotionally.
Director Alexander Payne spoke to NPR about the film’s portrayal of a father-son relationship, “I think many of us have experiences with fathers who… are loving, they are nice, but somehow they’re on another planet and you wonder your whole life, ‘What is that planet that my father is on?’ [My father was] at once communicative and unknowable. Maybe there’s some dynamic between children and fathers which contributes to the children feeling like their fathers are unknowable.
I’m always thinking about what would make a good movie and I don’t deny that those themes are there or that I’m attracted to them, but I’m not thinking about them so much while conceiving the film. I’m thinking, ‘This could work, this scene could hold, this could be funny, this rhythm is off.’ I’m just thinking about it more mechanically. After the film is over, then I have a greater sense of what the themes are.”