Elle Fanning Fan

Written by Amy-Jo Albany from her 2003 memoir, director Jeff Preiss’ Low Down chronicles the adolescent years of Amy-Jo (Elle Fanning) in 1970s Los Angeles, spent between living with her jazz pianist/heroin addict father, Joe Albany (John Hawkes), and the only stable person in her life, her grandmother (Glenn Close). Ignoring the prosaic plot and formulaic structure of most biopics, the film recounts her story in a vulnerable and poetic manner. The cast of veteran actors and musicians gives strong, nuanced performances. Filmed on Super 16 millimeter in grainy atmospheric earth tones, the film precisely captures the mid-’70s era it depicts. Like the accompanying music, Preiss’ movie strays from and returns to the topic. Viewers shouldn’t rely on a linear plot, but allow the film’s sights and sounds to feel as improvisational as the music and as raw as Amy-Jo’s memories.

Showing at the UW-Milwaukee Union Theatre, February 20-22.


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