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Bright (2000)

Bright is a short film directed by Susanne Fogel. Other than an article from Gerald Peary for the Boston Phoenix (quoted below), there isn’t much information out there about it.

Bright (2000), which has its world premiere at the MFA, is Fogel’s most ambitious, and most profound work. It’s the story of a slightly hyper but good-hearted undergraduate girl, Danielle (Aura Davies, a talented Columbia classmate), with writing ambitions. She meets a somewhat older fellow, Jeffrey (Eric Stoltz), at a party. She’s impressed with his urbanity and suavity, and that he’s a literary type. He can’t fathom her bubbly spirit. Surely, she’s a cynic below her ingenuous fa├žade? No, Danielle insists, she’s exactly who she is. As Bright continues, it becomes clear to Danielle that Jeffrey is projecting his own eroded, blighted character onto her. He’s the last person she should trust to show her writing.

Bright is a transparently autobiographical tale, “Words of Wisdom” in a serious mode, about Fogel’s fragile attempt to hold tight to her youthful integrity and artistry in a world bent on putting it under a filthy shoe. Stoltz is superb, a generous star turn in a little indie film, as an almost Jamesean ne’er-do-well, much like egocentric Morris in Washington Square, capable of sucking the soul out of a trusting female. Danielle is much like the gabby seeker young woman in wonderful Eric Rohmer films. That’s who Susanna Fogel is most like at 20: the octogenarian French maker of Chloe in the Afternoon and Pauline at the Beach, whose films breathe with real-life girl chat. (…)

“In August 1999, we shot the film. It was interesting but trying because I didn’t feel old enough, skilled enough, to handle all these professionals, and the talents they attracted who were willing to work for free. It was a shoot of magnitude, with New York permits, a van, and I was spread too thin. Last Spring was a really stressful editing, and I was burned out and frustrated about the film, I just wanted to be a college kid and not think about it. — Read the complete article at GeraldPeary.com

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