Could it be that we are about to see a romantic comedy that is actually a fresh and original idea? I don’t want to get ahead of myself here but, even though my instincts dictate a cautious approach, I cannot help but be optimistic about Posthumous – the feature length debut of writer-director Lulu Wang, starring Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire) and Brit Marling (The East) – for which we now have a poster.
The film introduces us to Liam Price (Huston) – a struggling artist in Berlin. When false reports of his death send the popularity of his name and his work skyrocketing, he decides to perpetuate and benefit from the myth by posing as his own brother. His plan hits an obstacle, however, when he begins to fall for McKenzie Grain (Marling) – a reporter assigned to cover the story. Lambert Wilson (The Matrix Reloaded), Tom Schilling (Generation War) and Alexander Fehling (Inglorious Basterds) all number among the supporting cast.
As the creative force behind the film, Lulu Wang was the recipient of the 2014 Roger and Chaz Ebert Fellowship for Directing, which is handed out annually by the non-profit arts oorganizationFilm Independent, to a participant in its signature diversity mentorship program, Project Involve. Though the film has yet to be seen, it certainly looks as though this new voice in cinema has a different take on what has become, at best, a predictable and uninspiring genre.
Despite building on a story that uses the well-worn trope of a couple needing to overcome an unforeseen obstacle (in this case, his lies about his identity), it also suggests a number of other themes ripe for exploration – not least the idea of the glamorisation of public figures in death, and the bizarre fixation the media has with tragedy.
The newly released poster for Posthumous also sends a clear signal that this might be something different. It dispenses with the usual tedious romantic comedy imagery of the two leads either gazing at each other, standing back to back, or appearing in front of unexplained cloud cover. Instead, we see our two leads, sharply rendered in a side-by-side position, looking out over Berlin. It implies intimacy and hope – but with their respective gazes aimed at different angles, there is the subtle suggestion of conflict, and trouble ahead. Will Lulu Wang’s debut travel a smoother road than the relationship she depicts here? We must wait and see whether a smart-thinking backer acquires Posthumous for US distribution, when it premieres at the Zurich International Film Festival on October 4th 2014.