• Debra Granik

This Saturday at 8:15 PM, the talented Debra Granik will appear at the Gene Siskel Film Center to screen and discuss her sophomore feature, Winter’s Bone, which took the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.

Granik made her feature debut with Down to the Bone (2004), a stark working-class drama starring Vera Farmiga as a young mother in upstate New York whose struggle to kick a ten-year coke habit is constantly undermined by the men in her life. Farmiga has since moved on to classier backdrops, but with Winter’s Bone, Granik steps even farther down the economic ladder, to the piss-poor Ozarks. A 17-year-old girl (Jennifer Lawrence) struggles to care for her mentally incapacitated mama and two younger siblings; their situation grows even more bleak after after she learns that her daddy, busted for cooking crystal meth, has signed their home over to a bail bondsman and then disappeared. The teen needs to find him before the family is evicted, but the murderous meth dealers he supplied want him to stay lost. The social detail of a 21st-century mountain community is completely persuasive, heightening the drama immeasurably; the movie wouldn’t be half as suspenseful if Granik hadn’t sealed us into this little envelope of wilderness and poverty.

A clip of Granik talking about the film follows after the jump.