Feature film – 114 min
2014 – Sundance Film Festival, Karlovy Vary Film Festival
Sundance Film Festival
Karlovy Vary Film Festival
Directed by Jeff Preiss
“Low Down” is one from the heart. It’s a melancholy, evocative, beautifully made memory piece, unblinking and unromanticized, a lovely film that brings great emotion and a dead-on feeling for time, place and recaptured mood to a story that is as universal as it is personal.
Starring the letter-perfect duo of John Hawkes and Elle Fanning, “Low Down” is based on Amy-Jo Albany’s finely written memoir of growing up with her father, legendary jazz pianist Joe Albany, a heroin addict living in the on-the- skids Hollywood of the 1970s.
Co-written by Albany and Topper Lilien, this atmospheric film is directed by Jeff Preiss with a real love for the period and its long-gone ethos of impoverished hipster artists passionate about creating and appreciating jazz.
Setting the scene for what is to come is the film’s graceful opening sequence. We see a jazz record on the turntable and then watch Fanning’s Amy-Jo in the apartment she shares with her father as she tells us, in the poised voice-over of the memoir, everything we need to know about her relationship with her dad, starting with he was a great jazz pianist who played with people like Lester Young and Charlie Parker.
“I often thought my father was born of music, some wayward melody that took the form of a man,” she says. “I was in awe of his talents, I loved him out of all proportion, as only a daughter can.”
– Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times, Oct 30, 2014
© 2014 Epoch Films, Bona Fide Productions, Heretic films, Tin House Books
Full film available on Apple TV, Prime Video and Kanopy