Sean Wang directs ‘Sunday’.
Burdened by an expired visa, a young couple spend what could be their last night together.
Filmed in New York City, USA.
Words from Sean below.
You were initially drawn to this idea by observing relationships around you. Then it happened to you. Could you tell us how ‘Sunday’ changed or developed as it turned from an idea that was an observation into a lived experience?
SW: I think the biggest thing that changed is that I felt an authority and confidence to tell what ultimately became a very personal story to me, even if the film isn’t an autobiographical one-to-one retelling of my experience. The bones of the idea remained the same, but everything within the initial idea changed. It originally felt a lot louder and was more like a ‘final night in New York City romp’ type of film with a party, drinks, karaoke, etc. After living through the experience myself, the events in the film became much more mundane, grounded, and true to what I knew. There was a personal barometer of emotional authenticity that informed every decision.
After living through the experience myself, the events in the film became much more mundane, grounded, and true to what I knew.
You said that New York City is one of the most romantic and melancholy cities in the world. Could we explore that for a moment?
SW: I think New York City has a way of amplifying whatever emotion you naturally feel. If you’re happy or in love, New York City is a magical, romantic metropolis – it can literally feel like you’re in a movie. If you’re sad or lonely, it can feel even more alienating. It’s both beautiful and heart-wrenching in the best ways.
I think New York City has a way of amplifying whatever emotion you naturally feel. It’s both beautiful and heart-wrenching in the best ways.
We can’t talk about a concept like this without mentioning Linklater’s ‘Before’ trilogy. Were you aware of these films, and if so, how did they influence you in developing ‘Sunday’?
SW: Definitely. So glad you brought that up. They were a huge inspiration for Sunday, especially in their natural and effortless walk and talk dialogue. Also, I really wanted to try and make a loose, slice-of-life film where the central conflict was simply the couple running out of time together because of something outside of their control, and I don’t think there’s any movie or set of movies that accomplishes that better than the ‘Before’ series.
Besides those, I drew a lot from films like ‘Blue Valentine’, ‘News from Home’, ‘Blue Jay’, and ‘Her’, and ‘Lost In Translation’ (especially inspired by this supercut by Jorge Luengo Ruiz).
What are you reading at the moment?
SW: ‘Crying in H Mart’ by Michelle Zauner.
- Kimberly Stuckwisch, Nic Weinfeld
- Sam Davis
- Director of Photography
- Karen Weber
- Production Designer
- Breton Vivian
- Little Ugly
- Production Company