USA | 2014 | 94 mins | English
Erotic Thriller | Drama
Director: Josephine Decker
Screenplay: Josephine Decker, David Barker
Cast: Joe Swanberg, Sophie Traub, Robert Longstreet
Company: New Europe Film Sales
Screens with short film: LOVE STORY
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Thou Wast Mild and Lovely is a sensual thriller inspired by East of Eden and starring love, death, guns, goats and a farm in the wilds of Kentucky.
When Akin arrives at the farm, he finds his job. This is what he expected to find. When Sarah opens her legs, she finds someone watching. This is what she expected to find. When Jeremiah opens his mouth, frightening things come out of it. This has come to be expected. But what happens by the creek next to the cow. This was not expected.
- Won Independent Visions Award at Sarasota Film Festival 2014
- Nominated for Fipresci Prize and Golden Firebird Award at Hong Kong International Film Festival 2014
““In the meantime, the simplicity and spontaneity of “Thou Wast Mild and Lovely” offers the primal renewal of the image, an image that emerges in the immediate form of the filmmaker’s emotional impulses. The viewer’s sense of discovery seems to converge with Decker’s own. Her movie feels like a wildly urgent direct address in real time.” – The New Yorker
“Thou Wast Mild and Lovely is a work of sexual tension, meant in the traditional sense but also in its most literal form. It is as exciting, gripping and even frightening as well as misleading as a sweet dream that is destined to turn into a night terror you can’t shake out of. Full of the freshness of spontaneity, Decker’s film feels worryingly human and hauntingly real.” – Cinecola
“Thou Wast Mild and Lovely…suggest[s] the unholy marriage of Ingmar Bergman and David Lynch” – Indie Wire
Step outside your cinematic comfort zone and get lost in Josephine Decker’s sensual thriller Thou Wast Mild and Lovely. Partly inspired by John Steinbeck’s “East of Eden”, Thou Wast Mild and Lovely tells the story of the of a young woman (Sophie Traub), her father (Robert Longstreet), and a new farm hand (Joe Swanberg), a married man, who arrives for work on their farm. Aside from tending to the cows Akin (Swanberg) discovers his real work will be to sway the temptations and seductions from Sarah (Straub), as she tries to shed the “rules” her father has ingrained in her as family secrets, inner demons, and budding sexuality collide head on in this darkly comic thriller that truly gets under one’s skin. Full of tense and bizarre moments, including some of the film being told from the perspective of one of the cows on the farm, Thou Wast Mild and Lovely is a challenging independent film that offers bold new narratives on old cinematic themes. Mixing drama, romance, horror, and comedy, Josephine Decker creates a closed-off environment where reality and fantasy have so completely become one that it’s impossible to know any one character’s true motive, and that culminates in a viewing experience that keeps the view engaged and guessing as to the nature of what they are seeing. A coming-of-age tale, a tragicomedy, a horror film about the values engrained by family, Thou Wast is not a film so easily categorized, but worth experiencing. It will leave you thinking about it for days after, and that’s something that’s missing in cinema these days. Thou Wast Mild and Lovely was one of my favourite discoveries of the festival, and I’m hoping it will be one of yours too. – Tyler Baptist