Adapted from a stage play, SO CLOSE mixes theatrical, documentary
and narrative film techniques to create a unique, stream-of-consciousness
storytelling style. This hybrid form was born out of the flexibility
of digital film technology, the limitations of independently financed
low-budget film, but mostly, the desire to find a new way to tell
a complex story that is usually reduced to simplistic, black-and-white
narrative structures (woman as innocent victim, man as unforgivable
criminal). By purposely avoiding standard re-enactments of violent
scenes from a marriage, and instead using sound and visual references
to evoke time, place, mood and memory, the audience is drawn into
the emotional realities of such relationships. Traditionally "told"
stories are perceived to be less engaging, But SO CLOSE turns this
assumption on its head. Using a rule-breaking mixture of styles,
the film engages viewers on a deeper level because it allows them
to make their own associations with Claire and Joey's story. By
creating this more interactive involvement, the viewer "hears" the
story on a deeper level, connecting it to his or her own feelings
and experiences about turbulent relationships.
SO CLOSE is a tale with a provocative endingone of salvation.
The unorthodox ending and the multiple viewpoints provokes the audience
to engage with the story in a unique way. Rather than being fed
a message, the viewer is left to form his or her own opinion of
violent relationshipsand happy endings.
"When was the first time?"
A simple question on a bureaucratic form in a nondescript waiting
room jolts Claire and five strangers sitting nearby become
the characters in her recollection of her turbulent marriage. Adapted
from a stage play, SO CLOSE mixes theatrical, documentary and narrative
film techniques to create a unique stream-of consciousness storytelling
Claire's story is a common one: raised in a strict home, meeting
16-year-old Joey when she is 14, falling in love. But their dream
romance quickly turns into a nightmare when she gets pregnant and
is kicked out of her house; they spiral into years of physical abuse,
alcoholism and despair. And yet, Claire keeps going back. Because
for her, there is no greater passion. The unorthodox ending of salvation
and the multiple viewpoints provoke a unique audience engagement
with an all-too-common story. SO CLOSE was inspired by interviews
with domestic violence victims, batterers, social workers, court
personnel and others. The play had a successful off-off Broadway
run in May of 2004 and was named a 'Don't Miss' pick by David Cote
of Time Out NY who wrote: 'Gazzaniga's deft dissection of domestic
abuse transforms the way you view 'issue drama'...her unfussy writing
has a journalistic exactness. OffOffOnline called her a 'gifted
new playwright....[she] presents SO CLOSE as a love story, however
dysfunctional and twisted. It's a bold and unsettling perspective
to take, but she pulls it off by insisting on the complexity.'