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KEEP THE LIGHTS ON Press & Reviews

The Enduring Erotic Life Cycle of An Unpromising Relationships

A.O. Scott September 6, 2012


When we first meet Erik (Thure Lindhardt), a Danish filmmaker living in New York in 1997, he is on the telephone looking for a casual sexual hookup. He seems fickle and impatient, hanging up on potential partners at the first hint that the chemistry might be wrong, but eventually he finds more or less what he is looking for. Quite a bit more, actually, in the person of Paul (Zachary Booth), even though Paul says he has a steady girlfriend, and Erik is not interested in commitment. Fate — or whatever force governs the erotic destinies of modern city dwellers — has other plans. “Keep the Lights On,” Ira Sachs’s sensitive, knowing new film (his fifth feature), follows Erik and Paul for more than a decade, during which their relationship blossoms, withers and renews itself like a perennial flower with a peculiar and unpredictable life cycle.

Keep the Lights On Film Review

Justin Chang January 22, 2012

A Parts and Labor, Post FactoryNY Films, Tiny Dancer Films, Alarum Pictures and Film 50 presentation. (International sales: Films Boutique, Berlin.) Produced by Lucas Joaquin, Marie Therese Guirgis. Executive producer, Jawal Nga. Directed, written by Ira Sachs.
Erik - Thure Lindhardt
Paul - Zachary Booth
Delicately tracing the troubled nine-year bond between two men living in New York, Ira Sachs mines his own memories to sensitive, melancholy if somewhat muted effect in "Keep the Lights On." 

10 Best Movies We Missed This Year
Mary Pols December 14, 2012

In 2010, literary agent Bill Clegg published Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man, a memoir of his drug addiction and the abuse he heaped on his long-suffering lover, a filmmaker. Now that filmmaker, Ira Sachs, tells his version of that relationship, veiled in fiction—barely. Erik (Thure Lindhardt) first encounters Paul (Zachary Booth) on a phone sex line. They soon begin a passionate but conflicted relationship; Paul, an attorney who works in publishing, is both closeted and already fond of his crack pipe.


Keep the Lights On – review

Moodpiece specialist Ira Sachs has directed perhaps the most lived-in film of 2012
Mike McCahill November 1, 2012

With 2005's Forty Shades of Blue and 2007's Married Life, Ira Sachs announced himself as a director of thoughtful, character-driven moodpieces. His latest is an uncommonly sensitive and mature drama about the on-off romance that unfolds over a decade between Erik (Thure Lindhardt), a Danish film-maker working in New York, and Paul (Zachary Booth), a volatile literary agent nursing a crack habit. The sex is great; it's the emotions, registered in piercing, lingering closeups, that neither can handle. The realisation the two head towards isn't easy, but it's faultlessly, heart-on-the-sleeve honest, and the leads make poetry out of Sachs's point: how memorable and formative even our unsuccessful encounters can be. Every frame pulses with hard-gained experience: it may be the most lived-in film of 2012, and certainly counts among the most moving. crack pipe.


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