Matt Porterfield : Working class hero
Film. Polar, social and yet luminous, Sollers Point focuses on a young delinquent in the suburbs of Baltimore, a city beset by deindustrialization. Meeting with director Matt Porterfield at the Champs-Elysées Film Festival.
Matt Porterfield is one of the brightest and yet best-hidden pearls of contemporary American independent cinema. In four films, he developed a modernist esthetics that emerged in the popular neighborhoods of Baltimore, his hometown. He lingers, without bull or condescending, on the lives of those who inhabit them.
”A modernist esthetics which emerge in the popular neighborhoods of Baltimore
In his magnificent Sollers Point, he follows the summer wanderings of a young convict trying not to relapse again, but is irresistibly attracted by the abyss … Interpreted by McCaul Lombardi (We coyotes, American Honey …) and Jim Belushi (Red Heat, Blues Brother 2000 …), the film is closely linked to the experience of its director: “The very first idea of this film was an image: that of a man with an electronic bracelet hanging on his ankle. I saw that on some old Baltimore friends and it made a mark. Then, I wanted to pay homage to this district which was that of my ancestors. Sollers Point is the name of a neighborhood in Baltimore, such as Hamilton and Putty Hill, Porterfield’s two previous films. Like them, it denotes its ambition to tell a city, building a coherent trilogy even if the films can be seen separately. “Hamilton and Putty Hill were originally job titles, but they stayed because I could not find anything better. And so I consciously decided to call this one Sollers Point. These are three very different neighborhoods, although they host quite poor populations …” Like its two previous films Sollers Point takes place during the summer. “I’m a teacher the rest of the year, and on vacation in summer ! That being the case, I have a great fascination for Baltimore in the summer. We feel the heat in the image and in the sound. She is palpable. She is heavy, thick. She acts like a glue … But one day I would like to make a winter movie ! Meanwhile, the heat wave of Sollers Point is highly recommendable.