In the Cinéma Club of… Trey Edward Shults

Trey Edward Shults is one of the great new American directors. Born in Texas, he shot his debut feature Krisha in his family home with real relatives as part of the cast. Krisha went on to win the SXSW Grand Jury Prize and was selected at Cannes’ Critics’ week in 2015. He was also awarded the Breakthrough Director prize at the Gotham Awards and the John Cassavetes Independent Spirit Award in 2016. Shults’ chilling new feature It Comes at Night was released by A24 in 2017 and stars Joel Edgerton, Chris Abbott, Riley Keough, Carmen Ejogo and Kelvin Harrison Jr. In both of these wonderful films, Shults proves his huge talent for making personal, tense cinema.


Trey Shults shares with us five films that he loves.

PATERSON, Jim Jarmusch, 2016

I just finished editing my new movie and I basically haven’t slowed down since the shoot in August, so I’m playing catch up on a ton of things I missed. This film has stuck with me like crazy. I’m trying to find some normalcy in life again and writing ideas for a new movie in my note pad, spending time with my girlfriend, and taking care of my cats. I think there is inspiration and beauty in so many small things all around us… This movie has latched on to me and hasn’t let go.

IRRÉVERSIBLE, Gaspar Noé, 2002

I always defend this movie. Some people hate it. I love it, although I am not in a rush to watch the first half again… There is a scene near the end of the film where it is just Monica Bellucci and Vincent Cassel lounging around their apartment. One of those lazy days you have with a partner. They were a real life couple and that chemistry shoots through to the film. You can tell they are madly in love. I always break into tears at this moment. It puts everything you’ve seen prior into heartbreaking context. The film is a tragedy told in reverse. I think it’s brilliant because by the design of its structure, it makes you think about the tragedy more than if you were just experiencing it in chronological order. Instead of getting to the end of the film and rooting for our protagonist to bash this guys head in, we get to the end of the film and think about how pointless all that pain and violence was and how heartbreaking it is that the violence destroyed this pure love.

YI YI, Edward Yang, 2000

I remember breaking into tears at the end of the movie, but not because it is overly sentimental or emotional. Because it helped me put my own life in perspective. Life can be boring and it can be exciting. Life can be filled with highs and lows and love and hate. That’s what makes it beautiful.

HEAT, Michael Mann, 1995

Another movie I just rewatched recently. I remember seeing this as a kid and I was confused. There wasn’t that much action for a bank robber movie. When the action did come, it was real and scary. Al Pacino’s character, who in my mind was the cop and suppose to be a hero, wasn’t perfect. Robert De Niro’s character, who in my mind was the bank robber and suppose to be the bad guy, was a human with dimension. The movie was long and sprawling and seemed to care about so many characters. It wasn’t so simple as good and bad. Everything that confused me as a kid is what I love about it now.

PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE, Paul Thomas Anderson, 2002

One of my favorites that I can put on anytime and it makes me happy. I pay obvious homage to it in a sequence towards the beginning of Krisha. I remember showing this to my girlfriend for the first time and she didn’t get it. She thought it was weird. Something about it made her watch it again later on though, now it’s our movie and one of her favorites. It’s a shame audiences didn’t get this beautifully strange Adam Sandler film when it came out. I think it’s one of PTA’s best, even though I love every single one of his films. I can feel his heart bursting through the film, rooting for Barry and Lena. My heart roots for them too. It roots for their strange, beautiful, and real love that we can all relate to!