Archives / 2012 Sundance Film Festival

Keep the Lights On

Film Still Film Still

Director: Ira Sachs

Screenwriters: Ira Sachs, Mauricio Zacharias

Description

Keep the Lights On chronicles the emotionally and sexually charged journey through the love, addiction, and friendship of two men. Documentary filmmaker Erik and closeted lawyer Paul meet through a casual encounter, but they find a deeper connection and become a couple. Individually and together, they are risk takers—compulsive, and fueled by drugs and sex. In an almost decade-long relationship defined by highs, lows, and dysfunctional patterns, Erik struggles to negotiate his own boundaries and dignity and to be true to himself.

Keep the Lights On is shot with a grainy beauty that transports us to its late ’90s setting. It resonates with textures of New York City, accentuated by disco beats and a mournful cello, both from musician Arthur Russell’s eclectic catalog. Director Ira Sachs’s fearlessly personal screenplay is anchored by Danish actor Thure Lindhardt, who embodies Erik’s isolation and vulnerability with a gentle presence. Harrowing and romantic, visceral and intellectual, Keep the Lights On is a moving film that looks at love and all of its manifestations, taking it to dark depths and bringing it back to a place of grace.


(Archives note: see also Ira Sachs' Meet The Artist interview on our YouTube Channel.)

— K.Y.

Screening Details

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