Brady Corbet is one of the most exciting, independent talents of his generation. His first appearance to attract notable attention was in Gregg Araki’s child sex abuse drama Mysterious Skin (2004), filmed when Corbet was only 15 years old. His heartbreaking portrayal of Brian Lackey, a teenage boy so damaged that he retreats into a hazy inchoate dream world, where he believes he may have been abducted by aliens. In fact, as a young boy, he was abused by his baseball coach. Corbet’s meticulous, slowed-down respect for the delicacy of his character’s situation brought a rare and rewarding tone of somberness to Araki’s work. Afterwards, he was invited by Austrian director Michael Haneke to star in Haneke’s American remake of his own Funny Games.
At the age of 20, Corbet wrote and directed the short film “Protect You + Me”, a raw, unflinching, existential portrait of anger. The film screened at Sundance and at MIFF in 2009, and showed the intensity of Corbet’s on screen performance was no fluke.
Corbet’s work attracted him to the New York film collective Borderline Films, and he gave an unsettling performance as Watts in Sean Durkin’s 2010 short film “Mary Last Seen”, as a young man executing a chilling banal method of kidnapping his girlfriend for an abusive cult in the Catskill Mountains. Later, Corbet reprised the role in Durkin’s feature film version of the story, Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011), screened at Sundance, Cannes Un Certain Regard and Toronto International Film Festival all in the same year. He worked with Borderline on two other occasions, throwing himself in with a ferocious commitment to the physically arduous shooting of Alistair Banks Griffin’s austere, visionary tale of two brothers in Two Gates of Sleep (2010), and as the obsessed Simon in Antonio Campos’ Simon Killer (2012), playing an American in the seedy underbelly of La Pigalle. For his work and commitment to his independent vision, Miami International Film Festival salutes Brady Corbet, and on this occasion of 30 years of our own independent vision, we’ve invited Brady to share and discuss one of the films that has influenced him the most as an artist.