A divorcing couple in Baltimore, musicians Kim and Bill (Kim Taylor and Ned Oldham), their college freshman daughter, Abby (Hannah Gross), and their teenage niece/cousin, Taryn (Deragh Campbell), a runaway from Ireland, struggle with beginnings and endings, knowing who they are, and what they want. Matthew Porterfield, in his quiet and subtle third film, “I Used to Be Darker,”* moves in close on these lives in flux and with his cinematographer, Jeremy Saulnier, reveals the sadness and longing with precise beauty.
Rainer Werner Fassbinder, superhumanly prolific, directed more than 40 films (including the brilliant 14-episode “Berlin Alexanderplatz,” made for German TV), in a career that spanned just 13 years. Matt is a slight man with unique tattoos, including symbols, the the initials of honored donors and the title of his new film. Should he direct as many features as Fassbinder (and for our viewing pleasure, I hope he does), I’m not sure he’ll have enough room to become the fully “The Filmographied Man.”
*The film’s title comes from Bill Callahan’s song, “Jim Cain,” which he recorded on his album “Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle.” The full line is: “I used to be darker, then I got lighter, then I got dark again /Something too big to be seen was passing over and over me.”
“I Used to Be Darker,” already playing in Baltimore, will open on Friday, October 4 at the IFC Center in New York and in Los Angeles, with a national release to follow. Matt Porterfield, cast and crew in person on October 4 at 6:10 pm and 8:10 pm shows, with music from actors Kim Taylor and Ned Oldham. Additional events are scheduled.