THE DVD SHELF: The Pleasures of "Boyhood" and Exciting Special Features on "Syncopation"

February 15, 2015 5:05 AM

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In 2002, director/writer/producer Richard Linklater — best known until recently for the "Before" trilogy ("Before Sunrise," "Before Sunset" and "Before Midnight"), although only the first had been made at that point — decided that he wanted to make a film about childhood. He came up with various ideas; something that could happen to an 8-year-old, something else at 11 or 13 — but didn't want to make one of those films where you have an older child actor "playing" young, or a younger actor aging; and he didn't want to use multiple actors. As he focused on effective ideas taking place at different ages, he conceived the notion of shooting five days a year, over the course of twelve years. The adult actors would clearly age, as in real life; but the centerpiece would be watching a seven-year-old grade school student gradually transform into a college-bound 19-year-old.

This scheme sounds impossible, from a practical point of view; it would seem difficult to come up with a plot that could be bent and formed around so many unknowns. The idea was also risky, financing-wise; investors don't want to be told that that a movie they spend money on in 2002 won't even be fi...

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