A Preview of Dom Nero’s 'Cut-Up'
Last week, The Daily Targum interviewed School of Arts and Sciences student Dom Nero about the University’s “Advanced Directing” class. This week, Inside Beat had the opportunity to see a preliminary cut of Nero’s film, “Cut Up,” before submitting it to the New Lens Film Festival in New Brunswick.
“Cut-Up” is a story about loss,” Nero said. “Nico, a freelance videographer, [portrayed by School of Arts and Sciences student and fellow filmmaker Ricky Kuczynski], is out shooting some footage when he notices a burglary unfold. At first, he thinks little of it, but when his equipment, and more importantly, his personal hard drive, is stolen shortly after, he is forced to use his skills as an editor to reveal the man who took everything from him..”
The film draws upon many different inspirations, especially the Italian neo-realist style. Nero says that he always loved Italian films and films about filmmaking. When he went to study abroad in Rome last year, he was inspired to make his own film.
“I used to do a lot of stand up comedy, and when I got to Rome, I realized that the comedy wasn’t personal to me anymore,” Nero said. “I needed that honest connection the comedy lacked.”
While Rome served as a muse for his ideas about the film, it was a double-edged sword. “The city is falling apart, a lot of it is just in ruins,” says Nero, explaining the popular neo-realist theme of isolation. “It gets very easy to feel alone.”
Nero wrote the script over winter break and returned to Nico, a character he had created while in Rome.
“Nico is a shade of me,” Nero said. “I approached him in the most personal way.”
The character of Nico comes out in the film in a very interesting way, because as the film has the theme of isolation, much of the film was made in the same way. To project a sense of isolation, many scenes were shot without a crew, with no one in the room except for Kuczynski and Nero.
Nero hopes with “Cut Up,” he has achieved his goal: that it won’t look like a college student made it. The wide lens shots on a leveled tripod at a low height give the film that art-house look that can be found in films like “The Bicycle Thief.” The use of sound is also unique, moving from manipulated silence to replacing all noise with a jazz song, building to a thrilling conclusion that features sound unexpectedly.
It is easy to tell that “Cut Up” was influenced by films that came before it. Between the subtle allusions to “Taxi Driver” and “The 400 Blows,” “Cut-Up” pays respect to these classics. The film will be premiered on Wednesday,, May 8 at the New Lens Film Festival in Nicholas Music Center on Douglass campus. The event is free.