Alexander Payne returns to his native Nebraska with a sweet and sour account of the quandaries of the elderly. Best Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival.
A poor old man living in Montana, Woody Grant gets a letter informing him that he has won a sweepstakes prize. Stubbornly persistent, he escapes repeatedly from his house to go to Nebraska to collect the prize despite his increasing dementia. His family try to convince him that it’s all a hoax but all in vain until one of his two sons mercifully offers to take his father by car. En route the father is injured, and the two must rest a few days in the small decaying Nebraska town where the father was born. The journey transforms into a re-encounter with the family’s past, and the time spent together enables the son and father to re-bond.
»I got the screenplay nine years ago. It's a story that's both funny and sad, a bit like life. The writer had really lived what happens in the story, so he's describing his personal experience. It's a film from the Depression era, which is why I wanted to make it in black and white. /.../ This is my first black and white film. I always wanted to make one. I'm a big film buff and I would say 95% of the films I watch are in black and white.«
- Alexander Payne
Born in 1961 in Omaha (Nebraska, USA) to parents of Greek descent, Payne attended Stanford University, where he majored in Spanish and history. He then went on to study film at UCLA Film School. His university thesis film was screened at the Sundance Film Festival, which led to him being backed by Miramax to write and direct Citizen Ruth. Payne prefers to undertake small-scale projects, to have complete control over the movie, from script to cast.