Guest Picks: Jane Adams

ALL THE LIGHT IN THE SKY directed by Joe Swanberg

‘All the Light in the Sky’

Jane Adams is luminous as a star in All the Light in the Sky, which she co-wrote with director Joe Swanberg.  As her choices from the Fandor catalogue show, she has a fondness for strong characters, masterful portrayals and real, genuine moments that cut through fantasy to surface real emotion. Here are her favorite Fandor films, in her own words:

SILVER BULLETS directed by Joe Swanberg

‘Silver Bullets’

1. Silver Bullets (2011), directed by Joe Swanberg
“I think the film is great—it’s just a great film. It’s one of my favorite films. The weirdness of trying to attempt to express yourself in love and art and aging—it’s all here. I love the scene where Joe is reading Treplev’s lines from The Seagull to Kate Sheil and also Ti West is great in this. Kate is this rare combination of a brilliant actress and an incredible ethereal beauty. Kate’s face at the end of this? Amazing. Silver Bullets was the beginning, and you can see it, too, if you watch the first scene in the movie with me and Larry, that was the genesis of All the Light in the Sky. The reason that Joe and I wanted to work together is that we started talking about how I was working with young actresses and my past and things like that, ideas that I was thinking about at that point. This was in 2008. And Silver Bullets is the beginning of that attempt, when we started making it. It just turned into something else, which was more interesting at the time. But we always knew, and we’ve said this in other interviews, that we wanted to make All the Light in the Sky. And then we just had the chance to make it. It’s funny, watching on Fandor again the scene in the beginning with me and Larry. I thought, ‘There it is.’ It’s kind of like watching a home movie, in a way. I mean, let’s be really simple: it’s real. He likes real moments, and that’s what I like to see when I go to see films, so that’s why I love working with Joe so much.”

Art History directed by Joe Swanberg

‘Art History’

2. Art History (2011), directed by Joe Swanberg
“I love that movie. I feel like everybody should watch this film! The scene in the beginning when Josephine Decker is lying there after they’ve shot the sex scene, and Joe Swanberg comes back in to talk with her, and they have a conversation about how she’s feeling that’s so awkward, and Josephine Decker says, ‘I felt business-like, but it’s not business-like, what we’re doing.’ That’s the exact line. I feel like that is a brilliant line in that scene, and that is one of my favorite scenes in any movie just because I had never seen a scene that captured the weirdness of that before. It’s about that, but it’s about a lot of things. Because it’s so accurately about that, it’s also accurately about a lot of things. I love that line.”

Sun Don't Shine directed by Amy Seimetz

‘Sun Don’t Shine’

3. Sun Don’t Shine (2012)directed by Amy Seimetz
“Well, I’m a huge fan of Amy’s, just in general. But also I’m a big fan of what she did with that film. I think it’s beautiful. And I love Kate Sheil in that dress near the end, just wandering through Florida, creating havoc. It’s great. I asked Amy what she wanted me to say about the film that hadn’t been said already and she wrote, ‘I always like pushing that it is important to watch narratives about women we find questionable, because men do it all the time.’ Please throw that in.”

Beautiful Kate directed by Rachel Ward

‘Beautiful Kate’

4. Beautiful Kate (2009), directed by Rachel Ward
“And in Beautiful Kate there is that story, too, and there’s a couple of questionable women. But I really identified with the guy in the film, the writer, the middle-aged dude, who goes home to be with his dying father. I don’t have any problem that it’s a man’s story, because to me it’s also my story. And I mean it. That’s what I’m experiencing now in life. My father is very ill. I’m not a writer, I’m an actress, but there are a lot of parallels in his life and his misguided ideas about what his history was with his family, and the dysfunction of their family. And so it doesn’t bother me that it’s a man’s story. It’s not a man’s story. It’s a human story. There are so many reasons why I love it. All of the performances in this are incredible and it’s shot so beautifully. The colors are amazing. Rachel Griffith’s character…I feel like she did such a great job with this film. It’s really moving to me. I love that I didn’t know anything about it, I didn’t know what was going to happen. And I don’t want to say anything that would ruin that experience for anybody else. I’m not giving away anything saying that it’s about a dysfunctional family because part of why I was able to find it is you have that great Spotlight on Dysfunctional Families! Really great sub-genre. Very useful. And a lot of what happens I didn’t see coming. And what the film ends up being about, for me, and my favorite films are often about this, is just that people have ideas of what life is or what even their own history is. You make up your own mind what that is, and it often has very little to do with what actually happens. I was lulled into thinking that the story was the one that the protagonist believed was the story. But when you find out that isn’t the case, it makes you realize that that is what life is like. We make shit up and it’s so painful all the way around. People hide things from each other and they hide things from themselves. Both this film and the next one on my list made me cry. They’re just really moving.”

Weddings and Babies directed by Morris Engel

‘Weddings and Babies’

5. Weddings and Babies (1958), directed by Morris Engel
“I hadn’t seen Weddings and Babies before; I just stumbled upon it. And it’s just so great. It’s just right up my alley. There it was. I was just attracted to it by the black-and-white cover and I just remember clicking on it and thinking, ‘What is this?’ And then when I researched it I realized, well, I should have known about this; this is something I should have seen years ago, but I hadn’t. And I feel like there are a lot of films like that on Fandor. Just watching it I wanted to text Joe and say, ‘Have you seen this? Did you see this? Is this something you saw in film school?’ Viveca Lindfors is wonderful in it. The scenes where she’s talking about what she wants in terms of getting married, you know, what she wants from this guy, it’s just so honest. All the Light in the Sky is if Viveca Lindfors’ character and John Myher’s character hadn’t gotten married. Seriously. It is that, so much so, you can’t even imagine. For instance, in Silver Bullets, Joe cast my ex-boyfriend from when I was in my twenties to play the playwright that I’m working with. So the Viveca Lindfors/John Myhers scenes? We were playing those out, in our own way, in the nineties, in New York City.”

Did you like this article?
Give it a vote for a Golden Bowtie


Keyframe is always looking for contributors.

"Writer? Video Essayist? Movie Fan Extraordinaire?

Fandor is streaming on Amazon Prime

Love to discover new films? Browse our exceptional library of hand-picked cinema on the Fandor Amazon Prime Channel.