Where the Scene Lives: Alex Thompson and Kelly O’Sullivan on Saint Frances
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Where the Scene Lives: Alex Thompson and Kelly O’Sullivan on Saint Frances

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An elderly husband returns home, eager to bake a birthday cake for his wife, who greets him in the kitchen. Only through the course of their conversation does he realize just how little he remembers of his recent past, though he can easily describe cherished events that happened ages ago. As the cake cooks in the oven, he and his partner of many decades bask in the warmth of their shared recollections—until the dinger goes off, signaling how memories can fade as quickly as they materialize. These are the events that occur in the wonderful 2014 short film, “Calumet,” yet such a synopsis only hints at the intricate layers of nuance brought to every line by writer/director Alex Thompson and his two sublime leads, Austin Pendleton and Ann Whitney. When I interviewed Pendleton last year about collaborating with the young filmmaker—now 29—the revered stage and screen veteran said that he would automatically be interested in almost any project Thompson has because he enjoys working with him. “Alex did a fair amount of takes and each time he wanted the moment to happen organically,” Pendleton told me. “That’s true of any good film director, and he’s very good.”

Both “Calumet” and Thompson’s subsequent short,

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