Program 2018

Digging for Fire

Joe Swanberg, USA 2015, 85’

Digging for Fire is the latest work by the prolific Chicago-based independent, co-written by the film's star, Jake Johnson. He plays a public schoolteacher whose wife (Rosemary DeWitt) is a yoga instructor. The couple has an adorable four-year old son (played by the director's scene-stealing child, Jude Swanberg). The screwball-inflected plot swirls around various forms of temptation, sexual dalliances and flirtation. The movie is dedicated to Paul Mazursky, the late director who specialized in movies about Southern California sexual and social mores. It plays like a less threatening version of John Cassavetes's Husbands. Watching a gorgeously appointed East Los Angeles woodland canyon house, Johnson's character finds a bone and rusted out gun in the accompanying hills, setting off a loose detective plot as he tries to decipher the forensic origins. Really, it's just an excuse to avoid his responsibilities and invite a gallery of male friends to hang out, get stoned and unwind. The wife has her own furtive night out with a handsome stranger (played by Orlando Bloom). Swanberg has shot the film in widescreen 35mm, and the framing and sculptural look gives ample freedom to his actors to try out the loose, idiosyncratic rhythms and invigorating talk about love, desire, and male friendship. Swanberg's polarizing aesthetic is not for all tastes; it's his style and sensibility and he makes the loose, sponteanous gestures come together exuberantly.

Joe Swanberg

He was born in 1981 in Detroit. Swanberg is an independent, screenwriter, producer, editor and one of the founding members of the mumblecore film movement who studied film and web design at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He independently financed his debut feature Kissing on the Mouth (2005), and his sophomore film, LOL (2006), premiered at SXSW Film Festival. He has directed about 20 films and the web series Young American Bodies (2006). Swanberg was the subject of an AFF retrospective in 2011.

Selected filmography

2005 Całowanie w usta / Kissing on the Mouth

2007 Hannah wchodzi po schodach / Hannah Takes the Stairs

2009 Alexander the Last

2011 Caitlin gra Caitlin / Caitlin Plays Herself

2013 Kumple od kufla / Drinking Buddies

Cast & Crew

director Joe Swanberg
screenplay Jake Johnson, Joe Swanberg
cinematography Ben Richardson
editing Joe Swanberg
music Dan Romer
cast Jake Johnson, Rosemarie DeWitt, Orlando Bloom, Steve Berg, Mike Birbiglia, Sam Elliott
producer Jason Baum, Jake Johnson, Joe Swanberg, Alicia Van Couvering
production Garrett Motion Pictures, Walcott Company, Lucky Coffee Productions
sales Park Circus
language English
colouration colour
stay in touch
festival partners