JTA — “He’s like a Jewish ‘Lord of the Rings,’ but he’s just going to his mother’s house.”
That’s how director Ari Aster, known for his hit horror films “Hereditary” and “Midsommar,” described his new movie, “Beau Is Afraid,” starring Joaquin Phoenix, in a behind-the-scenes video the scenes released on Wednesday.
Both films are about the difficult journeys of their main characters, although the nature of the two journeys is very different.
Aster, who works with A24, the same studio behind this year’s Oscars hit “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” said in a 2018 interview that he is a “proud Jew” who “doesn’t actively practice” and some previous films. which do not contain any Jewish content.
But he also said in the interview with the Jewish Chronicle of London that he thought the legacy of Jewish trauma might partly fuel their “pessimistic outlook” on life.
He also said that he is interested in the work of the Jewish father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud.
While promoting “Beau Is Eagla,” which hits theaters April 21, he’s been grappling with the Jewish themes of his work under the surface.
“Guilt?” he said in an interview with the New York Times published on Tuesday. “Isn’t that a huge part of life? For me, the film is like a big Jewish comedy, and that’s the first thing that goes wrong.”
The film, which Aster says he has been developing for more than a decade, is about a middle-aged man who tries to visit his mother, who has been injured by a falling chandelier.
Beau seems overwhelmed by anxiety, and the visit turns into a supernatural journey, full of sci-fi elements, horror and even animated sequences.
“I took out something that was this comic, a Freudian odyssey, very episodic and, I thought, very funny,” he said in the Times interview.
“If you pumped a 10-year-old full of Zoloft and he had to get your groceries, that’s what this movie would be like,” he said in the video from A24, the studio behind Aster and other famous films such as Adam Sandler’s Diamond District thriller. “Uncut gems.”