Heaven Knows What

Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie, USA 2014, 97’
The Spectacular Now Good Time

Known up until now for their bittersweet comedies, the Safdie brothers abandon all the sweetness in their film Heaven Knows What. Following in the footsteps of Jerry Schatzberg’ s The Panic in Needle Park, they submerge themselves into the world of New York’s homeless heroin addicts. And while the dirt of the streets has become commonplace in the world of cinema, the American brothers try to provide something new in the form of the unpublished memoirs of Arielle Holmes, who plays Harley in the film. Besides heroin, Harley is also addicted to Ilya, who, in the opening minutes of the film, suggests that she kill herself. When she obediently, but unsuccessfully, opens up her veins, the real mood swings begin. Reconciliations, separation, crying, and everyday life on the streets – the search for the next fix. To show these emotional ups and downs, the filmmakers use a form that freely combines raw documentary reality with a pulsating soundtrack and experiments with focus and sharpness.

Robert Mróz


Venice IFF 2014 – C.I.C.A.E. Award; Tokyo IFF 2014 – Tokyo Grand Prix, Best Director; Seville European FF 2014 – Best Actress

Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie

Ben (b. 1986) and Josh (b. 1984) Safdie were born and raised in New York. Inspired by their father's fascination with film, they made their first amateur attempts at direction in their early childhood. Their first joint full-length feature film was the 2009 comedy  Get Go Some Rosemary, which was screened at the Cannes Film Festival. Since then, the brothers have been regularly listed among the most interesting filmmakers in American independent cinema.

Selected filmography

2009 Go Get Some Rosemary

2013 Lenny Cooke (doc)

2014 Bóg wie co / Heaven Knows What

2017 Good Time

Cast & Crew

director Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie
screenplay Ronald Bronstein, Joshua Safdie (based on a book by Arielle Holmes)
cinematography Sean Price Williams
editing Ronald Bronstein, Ben Safdie
music Isao Tomita, Paul Grimstad, Ariel Pink
cast Arielle Holmes, Caleb Landry Jones, Buddy Duress, Ron „Necro” Braunstein
producer Oscar Boyson, Sebastian Bear-McClard
production Elara Pictures, Iconoclast
sales Stray Dogs
language English
coloration colour
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