In the early days of the AIDS epidemic a dying man is forced to go home and live with his estranged mother. An empathetic makeup artist helps him cover his physical symptoms, and in doing so, helps him stop hiding his true self.
Director’s Statement: Yen Tan
One of my first jobs after college was working at an insurance company that bought and sold the policies of terminally ill people. Most of my clients were gay men living with HIV/AIDS. A few died within months after I met with them. In hindsight, I cherished those encounters. I heard such a wide range of stories from people who’d been through so much, as my adulthood was just beginning. Knowing what they wished to do with the rest of their shortened lives made me wonder what I wanted to do with the rest of mine.
Sherwin (David Oyelowo) is deeply in love with his wife, Fiona, but is rattled by her distant and distracted behavior after she returns from a visit with her estranged, critically ill mother. They have a fight — the worst in their marriage — after she announces she doesn’t want to be a mother. With this chasm between them, and before they can speak again, Fiona dies in a car accident. Devastated by loss, Sherwin accepts an invitation from Fiona’s mother (Dianne Wiest) to visit her in rural Maine. “It might do us both some good,” she offers, as they embark on an unlikely journey of healing, compassion, and empathy.
Director’s Statement: Maris Curran
The process of making Five Nights in Maine has been unwieldy, demanding and incredibly joyful. I began to write it as my marriage fell apart. The film did not directly parallel what I was going through, but thematically, I was interested in a character who was facing similar emotionally devastating questions. By focusing the film on a relationship between a grieving husband and his estranged mother-in-law, there is an obvious initial disconnect. The thread that binds them has snapped. To me, the most interesting aspect of the story takes place in that space, in the room where these two people negotiate how to treat one another and determine what type of a relationship, if any, they will have.
Screeners’ Choice: selected by AIFF’s amazing volunteer screeners