David Gordon Green on Small-Town Life

During his recent visit to Seattle, director David Gordon Green emphasized how Paul (played by his co-writer, Paul Schneider) and his three cronies share a bond and trust from a small-town childhood. Of that background, he says, "I think there's an innocence there, because they can be more emotionally responsive. It seems like in an urban civilization, you don't even have time to digest your emotions before you're thrown into traffic." It's no accident that Paul rides a child-sized BMX bike in one of the early scenes of All the Real Girls. Green explains: "I think they're all still kids, even if they're in their early 20s and mid-20s. These are guys who are so emotionally vulnerable"in other words, still like the children they once were, capable of kicking ass together, then needing a shoulder to cry on. "So many films and explorations of masculinity are so guarded and refined and cool; and the point of it here was to break all that down. It's like, a guy can get his heart broken . . . and it's nice to know there's someone he can turn to about it." And if Girls seems exceptional in allowing its blue-collar guys to have sensitive heart-to-heart conversations (usually the province of privileged Manhattanites), that, too, is Green's intention. "It's a very different vernacular. It's more blue-collar. At the same time, I'm not going to see two heterosexual hipsters in New York put their arm around each other and kiss their forehead. There's more a sense of physical affection among them." Significantly, while Green's characters have been sheltered and nurtured by small-town life, they're not seeking to escape its confines (unlike in most movies). "I don't even know that there is a world outside." Though, he adds, the place isn't meant to seem a Utopia. "Their lives are full of miscommunication and pain and emotion. It's almost an incestuous place. You gotta be stepping on somebody's toes to date anybody." bmiller@seattleweekly.com

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