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Kendrick Lamar, Dave Free Discuss Process Behind ‘We Cry Together’ – The Hollywood Reporter


The art of revision, as part of the creative process, is about resetting the conditions and introducing new considerations to better serve the material and its target audience. In film, just as in music, editing and arranging sometimes results in a final product that resonates at a different frequency from the original seed idea and the countless drafts that follow, despite the task. service remains unchanged. That is the case with We cry togethershort film directed by Kendrick Lamar, Dave Free and Jake Schreier and starring Taylor Paige as Lamar’s co-star.

“The crazy thing about this association is that it starts with the movie first and the music — putting it on the actual album — comes later,” says Lamar. “The idea is to always capture this article, not without the song, [but] text and film and its textures and cinematography for the full experience.

At a private screening of the six-minute short on Tuesday, followed by a conversation hosted by Tessa Thompson, Lamar and Free discussed options leading to the final product and belief in the partnership. allowing them to explore new creative territory like through their multidisciplinary collective pgLang.

The song’s ultimate goal (read: script) is to address themes that “we as a society often shy away from,” says Free. The creative duo shared mood board references that helped shape the film’s tone (described by Free as “digestible yet aggressive”), quoting Hype Williams’ “Belly” and scenes in Quentin Tarantino’s film, to create a dramatic image. any sensory stimulation.

“[We were like] Look for moments of super tension that have plenty of air in the room. And as we went through this process, we started talking about what kind of movie this should be,” Free continued. “We decided to go for a one-off shoot, which is basically room dancing. There were a lot of people in that room, including Kendrick, dancing around to get that picture. And Jake was of great help. He did some one-off pieces that we were really inspired by, so we asked him to join us and we started putting the pieces together.”

Movie Poster We Cry Together

Movie Poster We Cry Together

According to Free, the one-shot film, recorded in all live audio just before the lockdown began in 2020, is fluidly and organized through a series of voice memos. , text messages and share references back and forth.

“I have always believed in Dave, and conversely, in all of our ideas as a team. And I think the energy that we brought, and the foundation that we laid in place, has led individuals like Taylor and Jake to come in and say, ‘OK, this is a group I want to be a part of and not. hindered by those on the fringes of Lamar said. The two collaborators born and raised in Los Angeles have known each other since Free was in ninth grade and have been able to navigate the industry by staying true to the intuition that brought them together years ago.

“It was the holy grail to create with Kendrick,” Free said. “I know this is very young because we would have conversations where we would be like, ‘Why are we thinking like this?’ … We weren’t even really prepared to be ourselves. But I was able to be myself with him and talk to him about these quirky ideas.”

At one point, Thompson directs the audience’s attention to the final scene, which zooms out from the room that serves as the container for the conversation and reveals the production setting beyond it. “You find this house to have a very livable feel to it as a suite. To me, this seems to be a way of saying that there are classes of these performances — especially within the roles that we play, as a couple, as a woman, as a man,” she said.

“Ultimately, the important thing is, [we wanted to show] Lamar replied, “I think we all have individuals who feel like they can’t find consensus — whether it’s the environment around them or whether their psychology has placed them in the environment. there. So the environment plays a huge role, which is something we definitely wanted to bring to life with the script. It’s just as important as the individuals who actually spout the insults.”

Lama Kendrick

Kendrick Lamar

Daniel Garzon Herazo/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Beyond the song’s setting, the film’s dialogue is an equally nuanced setting – familiar but disorienting. “The main motivation for writing the dialogue was basically the state of the world over the past five years for me and my frustration that no one, and no culture or belief system,” says Lamar. any of us can come to an agreement,” Lamar said. “So in the article I said, ‘OK, how can I make this feel personal but also raise an example as a collective concept, rather than just a concept? personal concept? I wanted to do it with all the emotions involved… I wanted to deliver that movie, because in the end, like it or not, the good, the bad and the bad, the pros and the cons, that’s what makes it. so everything evolves. Being able to put that in our face allows us to accept that, for us to evolve into humans.

Lamar also talked about Free’s faith in the filming of the film in one go that challenged him to live as he wrote and present his co-star Paige in his raw energy and passion. scene.

“Vulnerability has always been my ultimate goal as an artist. I think from the moment I picked up the pen and started writing in general, I’ve always been looking forward to this moment, because this is the moment that I always dreaded when I was young,” Lamar said. “It gives me more freedom as a human being, being able to run towards my fears, say what I want to say and do it artistically. It allows me to live my truth more deeply. This vulnerability brings about emotions that people can really feel, really experience, and really be attracted to. Whether they agree or not, they feel it and know that it comes from a real place as a person.”

The energy Lamar and Free got from this idea opened up a whole new world of ideas for the pgLang team — and the projects they’ll release in the future.

“It sparked a lot of other ideas for us. And now we have a lot of other things that we’re after in space,” Free said. “It’s a piece that feels like it’s a marriage of the world we’re coming into and the world we’re entering.”

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