The story of a marriage that’s been through the ringer, Michael Rowe hopes EARLY WINTER brings audiences to reflect on how we seek happiness through our romantic partnerships, and the price we pay for maintaining the form.
« I think that Western society is stuck in a kind of prolonged adolescence in so many senses, and I think that one of the main carrots that hangs in front of people everywhere is love in the sense of “falling and being in love”. This kind of altered, psychological, chemical brain state, which is a kind of drug. It’s an amazing thing, it’s really great, but the nuts and bolts of everyday living under one roof together for 15-20 years is much less glamorous, much more tiring, and I think it’s a struggle that is not so much explored in cinema because there’s a strong streak of escapism in commercial cinema. And it’s one of the things that people go to the cinema to escape from. »
“Here are two people who might on the surface seem to have a perfectly normal domestic partnership,” says Suzanne Clément (“Maya”), “but as soon as you begin to peel back the layers and notice the lack of communication, the discomfort, the act of withdrawing oneself emotionally, the pointed jabs they take at each other, you realize they’ve reached a point in their relationship where uncertainty and unaddressed grievances prevail. We don’t actually know what the outcome will be. »
“Maya being of Russian origin, it goes without saying that she’s isolated in this godforsaken place in the middle of Quebec, where English isn’t really spoken. She probably doesn’t try very hard to learn French, resisting the decision she made to live with this man.” For Clément, EARLY WINTER explores that thorny transition period during which two people reassess decisions they made some time ago. “There are choices couples make when they get together, to embark on a great life adventure. But sometimes, you’ll find yourself going back, five or ten years later, after two kids and asking yourself: ‘Is this all my life is? Is this what I chose?'”