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Nathan Silver, 2012
USA | 72 minutes
Director Nathan Silver and cast members in person for Q&A!
With no place to call home, 19-year-old Elena trains to become a nurse’s aide and takes a live-in job for an elderly woman living with her middle-aged son and his wife. There, Elena is thrust into the middle of a family in crisis: She witnesses all the things that go on between a father and grandmother; between a woman and her daughter-in-law; between and a man and a wife—oh, and a cat! Eventually, Elena strikes something of a balance for herself—that is, until the prodigal son returns home.
With his second feature, filmmaker Nathan Silver combines two of-the-moment film movements: Indie DIY filmmaking with narratives that mix fiction and reality. He wrote the script with Kia Davis, who also plays Elena, and used his own family as cast. Silver himself describes the production as “a wonderful mess,” as real family arguments and mishaps made their way into the film. But all of these events add a chaotic tenderness that shakes every scene of the film.
Placing fictional characters alongside real people, Exit Elena is shot through with all the rough edges inherent to family life and the home movie form, and holds up a darkly comedic mirror to reality.