Alice Englert, Director of Sundance’s ‘Unhealthy Behaviour,’ on Religious Journeys, Mom-Daughter Dynamics, the Lifetime of a Stunt Performer

In Alice Englert’s debut characteristic as director, drama-comedy “Unhealthy Behaviour,” which performs in World Cinema Dramatic Competitors on the Sundance Movie Pageant, the Australian-Kiwi actor-turned-filmmaker explores spirituality, passive aggression and mother-daughter dynamics, in addition to paying homage to stunt performers.

Englert, who’s the daughter of director Jane Campion, has appeared in 20 movies and collection, together with Sally Potter’s “Ginger & Rosa,” Richard LaGravenese’s “Lovely Creatures,” and Starz collection “Harmful Liaisons.” Englert has directed two shorts, “The Boyfriend Recreation,” which premiered on the Berlinale in 2016, and “Household Happiness,” which performed at BFI London Movie Pageant in 2017.

“Unhealthy Behaviour,” which Englert additionally wrote and options in, follows Lucy (performed by Jennifer Connelly), a former little one actress who seeks enlightenment at a retreat led by non secular chief Elon (performed by Ben Wishaw), whereas additionally navigating the shut but turbulent relationship together with her stunt performer daughter Dylan (Englert).

“I believe I needed to see what was burning within the pipe,” she tells Selection. “I grew up going to non secular retreats and I used to be at all times actually fascinated by the way in which it felt like this ultimate frontier of the thoughts, and it’s actually lovely and earnest and in addition actually narcissistic, which is honest sufficient, as a result of we’re a narcissistic species.”

She provides: “Anybody who’s on that journey is well-aware of the ego attempting to hold on for expensive life, and, typically, it has plenty of actually attention-grabbing methods to maintain you . And I needed to inform a narrative about that. Spirituality both feels too good to be true or is depicted as a cult. I believe there’s plenty of grey space that has texture and element I’m actually into.”

Englert labored on the movie for 4 years, researching mother-daughter dynamics, studying non secular books, and mulling on “the stuff that had come to [her] via the osmosis of being round it.” “It simply felt so actual to me – the characters, the world…,” she says.

The movie is ready in New Zealand, the place Englert spent plenty of time in her childhood, rising up within the mountainous areas of the nation. There she was surrounded by individuals who had “this stressed power,” which is the place she discovered the inspiration for the character of Dylan.

Englert says that in being a stunt performer Dylan “has discovered virtually like a loophole.” It’s “a solution to make her ache really feel literal, that she will heal from it like she will heal from a bruise.” She provides: “The reality is, she deserves stillness, she deserves to be held as effectively.”

“Unhealthy Behaviour” is, partly, an homage to stunt performers. “I’ve at all times been obsessive about them as a result of they’re the true unsung heroes of all our biggest adventures,” she says.

She concedes that she didn’t do all of the stunts herself. “I positively didn’t do the laborious ones. I’m not Tom Cruise! … I can do as many drunken ahead rolls as you want and I can fall over in all types of the way, however I’ve an excessive amount of respect for the artwork type to push it.”

Dayna Grant, recognized for “Xena: Warrior Princess” and “Marvel Lady 1984,” amongst different titles, served as stunt coordinator on the movie.

Englert is just not inquisitive about being each director and actor on each movie. “There was a creature high quality to Dylan that I actually felt like I might maintain and embody, and push her into locations that I needed the mother-daughter dynamic to go.”

The producers are Molly Hallam and Desray Armstrong. CAA Media Finance and Verve Ventures will co-represent the sale of North America rights, with Protagonist Footage dealing with worldwide gross sales.