How director and star create emotional power with glimpses of memories in ‘Aftersun’
In the final moments of the two men’s conversation about the last time they saw each other again, as a group of strangers, the actor is at the top of his emotional game.
As a new father, the film’s director, Stephen DeSylva, reveals how he hopes to take on the role of the father in the movie, but he also reflects on what led him to make Aftersun, a fictionalised account of the last time DeSylva made a film with his real daughter, who also starred in the movie.
“I have a feeling about having children and all, and I don’t think I’ve really had an experience with my wife and daughter until now,” he says. “We’ve had some time. But in some way I just felt like this is something I have to do, I just have to do it. After a few months we had a discussion about that, about whether or not it would be possible to do this movie, because it’s a very personal film.”
By the end of the talk, the two men are laughing at one another’s similar descriptions of the movie. “It was a long day because Stephen was trying to get a scene with me,” says DeSylva, recalling the scenes he was shooting for the film, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May, with the director and his daughter in attendance. The scene, which was meant to be just a scene where they had to look at each other, ended up becoming much more.
Having shared personal moments in the past, the director adds “It was just a really lovely, spontaneous thing for them to do so at the beginning of the film.”
For both men, it wasn’t just a movie, but a