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Director Sean Durkin on Martha Marcy ... Dont Use the Word Cult

Photo of Caryn James By Caryn James | James on Screens October 19, 2011 at 12:30PM

Writer-director Sean Durkin’s Martha Marcy May Marlene is one of the most haunting films of the year. The story begins with Martha (Elizabeth Olsen) escaping from a cult-y commune in upstate New York, only to find that she has carried the psychological scars back to civilization. Its portrait of a young woman trying to stay afloat is interspersed with lucidly unfolding flashbacks that reveal why her escape became necessary. This is the kind of first film that reputations are built on
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Writer-director Sean Durkin’s Martha Marcy May Marlene is one of the most haunting films of the year. The story begins with Martha (Elizabeth Olsen) escaping from a cult-y commune in upstate New York, only to find that she has carried the psychological scars back to civilization. Its portrait of a young woman trying to stay afloat is interspersed with lucidly unfolding flashbacks that reveal why her escape became necessary. This is the kind of first film that reputations are built on

Here’s Durkin in a brief video chat, talking about his research and why he never used the word cult while filming. (And here are my interviews about MMMM with Olsen and John Hawkes, and with Hugh Dancy.)

This article is related to: Video Interviews

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