Derek Cianfrance and Bradley Cooper on The Place Beyond the Pines set

Between his debut feature Brother Tied and his sophomore effort Blue Valentine, filmmaker Derek Cianfrance spent twelve years in what he describes as “the cinematic desert.” But he himself readily acknowledges that bounced back a better director, and the excellent Blue Valentine and the upcoming The Place Beyond the Pines seem to bear him out.

The new crime epic follows two families over two generations and fifteen years. Ryan Gosling plays a new father desperate to make some money, Bradley Cooper an eager rookie cop who tries to stop him, and Dane DeHaan and Emory Cohen their respective sons, who feel the consequences of their fathers’ actions. The film earned strong reviews at TIFF last year, and and is just now beginning its theatrical rollout.

At a recent press day in New York City, I got to sit down for a few minutes with the director. Despite his proclivity toward emotionally devastating movies, Cianfrance was quite friendly in person, even offering me a Pines-printed cupcake on my way out. But before that, we chatted about that first feature, fatherhood, the “irresponsibility” of violent films, the difference between movies and TV, and much more.

Be warned that there are someĀ spoilers for the movie up ahead. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, just skip over the questions aboutĀ The Place Beyond the Pines.

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