Films: The Guitar

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The Guitar

The Guitar

USA, 2008, 95 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Drama, Womens Issues
Programs: Contemporary World Cinema, New Directors Showcase
Language: English

DIRECTOR: Amy Redford
Producer: Andy Emilio, Rose Ganguzza, Robert Kravitz, Amy Redford
Editor: David Leonard
Screenwriter: Amos Poe
Cinematographer: Bobby Bukowski
Principal Cast: Saffron Burrows, Isaach De Bankolé, Paz de la Huerta

In her directorial debut, Amy Redford takes advantage of Amos Poe’s tightly crafted script to pull an electrifying performance from Saffron Burrows (Reign Over Me) as terminal cancer patient Melody Wilder, thereby painting a portrait as teeming with life as its Manhattan backdrop.

Based on a true story, The Guitar, according to Redford, asks, “Why is it that until something is taken away from us do we realize its true value?” In Melody’s case, it is her voice she has lost in the course of a bland life consisting of nothing but a dead-end job and an even worse relationship—until a diagnosis of inoperable throat cancer gives her the courage to find it again. After being downsized at work and left by her boyfriend, she knows she has nothing to lose and goes on a credit-card spending binge. She rents a penthouse with a short-term lease, throws her old clothes out the high-rise window, and fills the rooms with the objects of her fantasies, which “speak to her in rumors of redemption.” In a series of flashbacks, Melody relives her childhood obsession with a shiny red Fender guitar: Visible in the shop window below her family’s apartment, it represented freedom from life at home with her bickering parents. Now, as an adult facing a death sentence, Melody orders a top-of-the-line, classic red Fender, along with all the equipment and DVD lessons she needs to amp up her skills.

An unlikely delivery duo, Cookie and Roscoe, becomes her only contact with the outside world, bringing pizza to her door as well as friendship and sexual adventure. Three months pass. The credit cards are maxed and Melody is evicted. And yet the voice she thought she had lost forever has finally, miraculously, been found.

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