At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, writers Jefrey Levy and Susan Traylor have created a veritable masterpiece of schizophrenic cinema with their disarmingly titled film Me.
Congratulations, your film ME was selected as both the Best Feature and the Best Comedy in the 2016 Los Angeles Film Review Independent Film Awards! Also, your other feature entry The Key was selected for a Gold Award and you will received a separate email regarding that.
Editor | Los Angeles Film Review
“Materfully told…” “The depth of both artists (David Arquette and Bai Ling) in their performances are absolutely profound…” “The Key” is both masterfully and artistically showcased. It is a minimalistic cinematic feast for the mind as well as the eyes…both daring and thought provoking…” “The Key” is a tour de force for writer/director Jefery Levy’ along with actors David Arquette and Bai Ling.”
“Through this poignantly absurd film, Traylor and Levy have created a meta-examination of the reality show industry, identity-obsessed culture, personal performance, and Los Angeles itself. As a viewer, I feel implicated in their critique, but never enough to look away—and that, of course, proves the point. It’s a pertinent work.”
In the style of Stanley Kubrick with a Clockwork Orange feel director Jefery Levy takes the audience on a psychedelic mind trip of the crazy world that is reality TV. What is real and what is fantasy becomes clearly blurred in this delightfully entertaining and fun film.
After nearly two decades of doing television, director Jefery Levy[Drive, S.F.W.] finally makes his return to feature films with his new one, The Key. Fusing brilliantly composed images and surreal eroticism, told through diary voice-overs courtesy of the film’s outstanding stars [David Arquette, Bai Ling] , Jefery Levy creates an intoxicating music that is all his own for the love genre.
“The Key explodes with inventive imagery and surreal eroticism. Director Jefery Levy, along with complex performances of David Arquette and Bai Ling, give the love genre a new form.”
The Key (2014)
Based on the novel “Kagi” by Japanese author Jun’ichirō Tanizaki, “The Key” is an erotic and ethereal depiction of a marriage gone sour. The film is a return to independent cinema for Jefery Levy, who won the Critics Award at the Venice Film Festival in 1991 for his directorial debut, “Drive.” The film stars David Arquette (“Scream”) and Bai Ling (“The Crow”) as you have never seen them before.
In this visually stunning clip, a tortured David Arquette pours out his inner thoughts and frustrations to the viewer through an uneasy narration of his intimate diary. Suspecting that he’s suffering “from a mental and physical disorder of some kind,” Arquette’s character details how something inexplicable has tainted the love between him and his wife (Ling). Arquette’s voiceover materializes on the screen in surreal fashion, coupled with otherworldly hallucinations that blend visions of a wilting flower, a close-up of his wife and his swimming pool.
‘The Key’ is a visual and spiritual force of nature. Each frame drips with new and unique contemporary art imagery, utilizing both beautiful and terrifying hallucinations. Director Jefery Levy brilliantly exposes the lust, love and jealousy wading in the deepest untold corners of our souls and makes it a truly stimulating experience.
– Nick Leyland TheMovieNetwork.com
THE KEY is a Jefery Levy cinematic tour de force, a visually stunning and immersive erotic tale with stellar performances by David Arquette and Bai Ling.
From Film Critic David Ehrenstein:
Where does self-expression end and self-delusion begin? That’s the question asked by this anti comedy about a “reality television” producer who believes his entire life is secretly being filmed. The film you’re watching is of course proof that he is right. Director Levy stars with Producer and co-scriptwriter Susan Traylor in a sly send-up of self-aggrandizement enlivened by guest turns with such notables as Gina Gershon, Michael Des Barres, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jay McInerney, Julian Sands and Molly Ringwald.
“Seldom is the pain/beauty duality of love so eloquently expressed, as in Jefery Levy’sThe Key. Every frame a poem, The Key reminds us why we love cinema.”
Levy is fiercely independent and resourceful and scholarly. In an era when more people have access to making films, we often lose sight of the professional artistic discipline that movie making is and we fail to recognize those formally trained in the craft. I had a chance to talk to Levy about his recent films and his dedication to the profession.
The Key is a visually stunning immersive erotic tale, based on the legendary Japanese novel by Junichiro Tanizaki about a disillusioned married couple, whose obsessive sexual relationship is told through their private journal entries.
The Key is Jefery Levy’s cinematic tour de force, with stellar performances by David Arquette and Bai Ling #bailing @realbailing #thekey #featurefilm #film #filmfestival #jeferylevy #cool #actor #photographer #photo #cinematographer #director #instafollow #girl #jacknicholson
Movie Reviews : An Exhilarating ‘Drive’ on the Road to Nowhere
Two minutes into “Drive” (Los Feliz, Hollywood), during a brief, sizzlingly bright monochrome montage of engines, automotive accessories and L.A. roadways, you can tell that director Jefery Levy has lots of visual style.
And two minutes into the first monologue of David Warner, as the cynical, older Driver who harangues his younger Passenger (Steven Antin), while driving him to their separate computer companies, you can tell that Levy’s co-writer, Colin MacLeod, has style too: verbal energy, wit, dash and flair.
At that point, you should probably just settle in for the ride. The movie has its lapses and longueurs , but these people are going to burn up the road.
“Drive” is one of the best and most exciting indie American releases so far this year, an independent American film, made for about half a million dollars, that does exactly what low-budget movies should do. It avoids formula, converts its “limitations” into assets. It’s audacious, fiery, defiantly off the mainstream. And it’s highly personal. You can sense, as you can’t with most big studio movies, that “Drive” is exactly the film its makers wanted to do, that they’re not holding anything back, playing anything cagey or close.
In the movie, the Driver is furiously malcontent. Ruthlessly, like a latter-day H. L. Mencken, he takes on all of American life and finds it all ludicrous. He dissects left and right, society and its dissidents. He’s the ultimate conservative iconoclast: For him, “Rambo” and “Born on the Fourth of July” are the same movie. As his bile mounts, the constantly shifting, blazingly bright backgrounds take on ironic significance. He’s driving west, toward the sea, yet his take on life suggests that he’s speeding from one dead end to the other.
The younger Passenger is, at first, sullen and resentful, sick of the same scabrous routines he’s heard endlessly on their rides together, his head buzzing with jumbled, inchoate thoughts. Then he’s revealed as a troubled romantic, upset at a relationship’s end; then, he becomes a filmmaker surrogate, eager to convert this whole mad experience into a movie.
In form and structure, and in the savagery of its dialogue and exchanges, “Drive” suggests Edward Albee’s “Zoo Story” on wheels: a connection that might seem more obvious if the passenger were a hitchhiker instead of another computer employee. But Levy is dealing with the post-affluent, post-Reagan age, and his suicidal rebel isn’t the younger outsider. He’s the man of the Establishment, the man driven crazy by it, who wants to squash all illusions.
The metaphor here is obvious. Society is disintegrating; technology and the fossil-fuel age are breaking up; the road leads nowhere; L.A.’s car culture is a crock. The only escape is into imagination and art.
Back in 1966, David Warner played one of the quintessential ’60s movie rebels, the mad artist title character in “Morgan,” and here his Driver is a weird extension: Morgan caged. Warner always seems on the verge of leaning or bursting right out of the frame, his loose, angular height and malicious smile, wrapped up in corporate-clone armor, are wildly disturbing.
Even though it’s a two-character piece (three, if you count Dedee Pfeiffer as the Passenger’s Dream Girl), with lots of dialogue, “Drive” is definitely a movie. It’s explosively well shot and made, by cinematographer Steven Wacks and editor Lauren Zuckerman, as well as Levy, MacLeod and the actors. Even when it alienates or tires you, and brings in a forced AIDS interlude or the same, overrepeated imagery of ocean or ants crawling over a grass blade, “Drive” always has a few more surprises, rants, raps or bits of visual poetry up its sleeve.
In the end, the diatribes become exhilarating, the rage turns poignant, the sunlight scorching. That’s part of the movie’s vision: Hell is a freeway with no exit.
David Warner: The Driver
Steven Antin: The Passenger
Dedee Pfeiffer: The Girl
A Megagiant Entertainment Inc. production. Director Jefery Levy. Screenplay by Colin MacLeod, Levy. Producers Gregory D. and Jefery Levy. Cinematographer Steven Wacks. Editor Lauren Zuckerman. Music Charles Bisharat & Dr. Lee. Running time: 1 hour, 27 minutes.