From the creator of award-winning film "Shabbat Dinner" comes "Lily in the Grinder," a "kaleidoscopic film about existence, sex, death, and time set to an original string quartet soundtrack."
The film was created by Michael Morgenstern and was named a finalist for HBO's Project Greenlight. It tells the story of a character who feels trapped by the socially prescribed way of living in New York City. The short film gives the viewer an internal look at this character and his struggle and takes the audience on an emotional journey.
In order to better understand Morgenstern's vision for "Lily in the Grinder," The Huffington Post chatted with the filmmaker this week.
The Huffington Post: What inspired you to make this film?
Michael Morgenstern: I had an idea about time that I wanted to communicate: this "future" we are always thinking about never really exists in the same way that the present moment does. Neither does the past. We tend to think of moments in the context of our story: where they come from and how they end. What if each moment always exists, hanging forever in time? The challenge of making a movie that addressed these questions without being 100% narrative was exciting to me.
The Huffington Post: What are you trying to communicate about queerness, sex and love in this film?
Sex is a huge part of the film's message. Our lives exist for sex and to avoid death, and yet these two primal axes of meaning have splintered into thousands of smaller things like job, money, fitness... Sex creates meaning, and when you have no meaning anywhere else, sex can remind you of that.
Ryan has the queerness of a straight man who has found himself on the other end of society: the vast machinery of New York life which "works" for others (or at least they pretend) doesn't work for him, and he sees its hollowness and wants to find a more fulfilling way to live.
What do you hope viewers take away from this project?
I hope viewers watch it a few times, along with the Concert Edition, which has no dialogue and allows the film to wash over you. The film works best when you don't try to analyze or break it down. I hope they take away a desire to cherish each moment on its own, without worrying too much about where things are going.
How -- if at all -- is this connected to your first film "Shabbat Dinner"?
There are very few areas of overlap between this film and "Shabbat Dinner." They are both human stories that go into the internal worlds of the characters, though in very different ways. I like to think that they avoid beating around the bush and quickly tackle big questions about living in this world. They're both about being different and experiencing life through a critical lens. And they're both about people struggling to find truth in their lives.
Do you have any future projects coming up? What's next for "Lily in the Grinder"?
So many! I'm developing about four features and a TV pilot right now (they won't all be shot at once!) and have opened a narrative feature film production company in San Francisco, for which I'm seeking more projects. "Lily in the Grinder" will continue to play online and at festivals (Big Apple at Tribeca Cinemas in New York on 10/9 is the next showing), and I would like to get it into some museums playing in a room on repeat.
Check out "Lily in the Grinder" above. The film is $4 to watch but free if you share the trailer on Facebook.