Brady Corbet, whose latest film “Vox Lux” with Natalie Portman and Jude Law has been drawing some awards buzz, talked to Variety about the themes of his next project, “The Brutalist” at the Stockholm Film Festival.
Unveiled in September, the rough plot of “The Brutalist” revolves around a Hungarian-born Jewish architect who emigrates to the U.S. after the end of World War II. The film charts 30 years in the life of this character and others.
Corbet, who presented “Vox Lux” at the Stockholm Film Festival, which he attended with his wife, the Norwegian filmmaker Mona Fastvold, said that although “The Brutalist” will be a period movie, it will have contemporary resonance.
“‘The Brutalist’ is about a character who survived the camps, and also about his wife who survived camps but is stuck in a displaced persons camp on the Hungarian border,” said Corbet.
“This is a film that tries to take a look at what it would mean to lose everything that you’ve built, what it would do to your psyche. When we think of what was lost during wartime we usually think about the human lives that were lost, but we rarely think of the livelihoods that were lost,” Corbet said.
“Right now because of the ongoing immigration crisis in Europe and in America a different crisis, I think it’s very, very important to reflect on the immigrant experience; and of course with anti-Semitism strangely on a rise again, it is important for us to look at its origins,” he added.
Corbet is currently writing the script with Fastvold, with whom he co-wrote his first film, “Childhood of a Leader,” and expects to be finished in six months.
“Mona has certain areas of expertise and on this subject matter in particular, and I find it very natural and fun to work together. I can get very stuck and Mona really knows how to take things in an unexpected direction,” said Corbet.
The film takes place in Philadelphia and will shoot in English, Yiddish, Hungarian and some Italian. Andrew Lauren Productions (ALP), which produced “Vox Lux,” is on board to produce “The Brutalist.”
Corbet said he was looking forward to shooting the movie in Europe after having had a great experience filming “The Childhood of a Leader.”
Since “Vox Lux” world premiered at the Venice Film Festival, Corbet has been touring festivals around the world, where audiences have engaged in informal debates post-screening. “It’s a very unusual film with abrasive, confrontational characters….My hope is that the film will have a long life and that people will be open to it,” he said.
“Vox Lux” begins “in the year of Columbine and it ends in the year of the inauguration of the American president. It attempts to get at things that shaped our contemporary values. We live in a crisis, a generation where the desire to be iconic and more than human…is direly serious and absurd,” Corbet said.