The Walker Art Center presents the area premiere of
, introduced by director Lance Hammer, on Wednesday, October 29, 7:30 pm, the latest film in the series Premieres: First Look, an ongoing presentation of area premieres that gives audiences an early look at tomorrow’s critically acclaimed classics. In the cold winter light of rural Mississippi, three people–Marlee, a struggling single mother; James, her 12-year-old son; and Lawrence, with whom she has a long-running conflict—navigate the aftermath of a family tragedy that results in their living side by side. Exquisitely understated and meticulously shot, the film marks an extraordinary directorial debut by Hammer. Ballast garnered nominations for a Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival and the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, and won directing and cinematography awards at Sundance. 2008, 35mm, 96 minutes.
Ballast is one of those rare films that maximizes the medium through an aesthetic of understatement. Every frame is deliberately and beautifully composed, every cut artfully and economically executed—not only to transmit a quietly gripping story but to reveal characters’ layered emotional experiences and the specific textures and sensations of their locales. Because it is grounded by three exquisitely nuanced performances, it’s not surprising that Ballast is the product of intensive collaboration with local non-actors organically connected to the material. First-time director Lance Hammer is a distinctive voice with a remarkable sensitivity to the topography of human relationships and a powerfully cinematic social-realist vision.
Tickets to Ballast are $8 ($6 Walker members) and are available at walkerart.org/tickets or by calling 612.375.7600. The screening takes place in the Walker Cinema.