Premiers 5/16/14 at the Village East Cinema, NYC –
For the Writer and Filmmaker, Michael Maren, the journey to this Film has been anything but ‘short’. After leaving his high-risk career as a foreign correspondent, Michael made a decision to become a Screenwriter. The next day, HBO called to option an adaptation of his Somalia book, ‘The Road to Hell’. Add to that, a run of optioned screenplays that never got made.
“I decided to make my own movie. I needed to write a script that could be shot for very little money and that would attract the kind of talent that would bring in the investment we needed, to make it. I announced that I was going to do this (on my blog), so there was no turning back. Less than two years later, we were filming in North Carolina.” says Michael Maren
She’s breaking up with him because her novel is going live and she’s met an exciting literary agent. Front and center to her dissatisfaction is not only that Nathan, a Writer, eternally works on writing projects he never finishes, but he spends nearly all his free time pre-occupied with the fact that he might come down with Alzheimer’s, like his Mom.
But, the layers of Nathan’s family relationships run much deeper.
“This is a film that reveals itself slowly; layers are peeled away. Motives are revealed in gestures that can go unnoticed in cursory viewings.” Michael Maren
The story, in many ways, finds its powerful legs through the character of Nathan’s Mom, Sandy, played by the veteran actress Linda Lavin.
In Sandy’s character, we find a teacher. How to be empowered, even as parts of Self are stolen by illness. How, even in the throws of Alzheimer’s, she’s still the endearing, lovable magnet that draws her family to her, and in many ways, to each other. Ms. Lavin conjures some magic in this role, and she shares it with us.
Contrasted to Sandy’s empowered clarity, when it comes to his own life, Nathan’s plagued by paralytic indecision. He believes, somehow, that he’s missed the boat, when compared to his brother, Jack, played by the capable film and TV actor Benjamin King.
But, as the story heats up, his brother and parents’ struggles confirm for Nathan that his own life is not damaged goods.
And, he gets further insight into himself and his Parents from an unlikely source, his Mom’s manicurist, Shelly, played by the skilled and utterly believable TV and film actress Kathleen Rose Perkins. In her proverbial hands, he sheds years of misconceptions in under a minute. We’re fed plenty to believe that Nathan will find lasting happiness with her.
And, when we’re sure that this new and improved Nathan can co-exist in the eco-system that is his parents’ life, well, it’s a perfect end to a shining Film.
In A Short History of Decay, Michael Maren has delivered a smart, witty and entertaining film that inspires and nourishes a cup half-full.
Katherine Bennett-Greer is a Screenwriter, Producer, Freelance Film Writer, and a Past Contributor to Filmcourage.com. She’s set to shoot a Short she wrote later this month, and is currently adapting a Memoir to Screen. You can find her on twitter at @VerbaVitae.