LIGHT SLEEPER
1992, Lionsgate, 103 min, USA, Dir: Paul Schrader

Willem Dafoe is an alienated drug courier in night-time Manhattan, faced with intimations of his own mortality in this underrated, neo-Bressonian crime film from the author of TAXI DRIVER. Dana Delaney gives a powerful, understated performance as Dafoe's ex-girlfriend fated for a tragic end, while Susan Sarandon shines as his drug-dealer boss experiencing her own painful spiritual growth.


SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE
2000, Lionsgate, 90 min, UK/USA/Luxembourg, Dir: Elias Merhige

This fictional meditation about F.W. Murnau (John Malkovich) and the making of NOSFERATU is based on the conceit that the director was so determined to make the most authentic movie ever that he employed a real vampire, Max Schreck (Willem Dafoe), to play the title character. Attributing Schreck's weird behavior and ghastly appearances to "Method" acting, Murnau indulges his leading man's every exigency, shooting only at night and at the remote locations the "actor" calls home. But Schreck hungers for human blood, and as cast and crew fall ill at a terrifying rate, Murnau races to finish his film before Schreck finishes him. An exceedingly witty exploration of creation, in which demanding artist and demanding star - the genius and the monster - reveal their uncontrollable, potentially destructive but unusually seductive compulsions.


THE FLORIDA PROJECT
2017, A24, 115 min, USA, Dir: Sean Baker

Set on a stretch of highway just outside the imagined utopia of Disney World, this deeply moving look at childhood follows 6-year-old Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) and her rebellious mother, Halley (Bria Vinaite), over the course of a single summer. The two live week to week at a budget motel managed by Bobby (a terrific Willem Dafoe), whose stern exterior hides a deep reservoir of kindness and compassion. Despite her harsh surroundings, the precocious Moonee makes each day a celebration of life, her endless afternoons overflowing with mischief and grand adventure. But her delicate fantasy is reliant upon the toil and sacrifice of Halley, who is forced to explore increasingly dangerous possibilities in order to provide for her daughter.


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