The Killing of Two Lovers
A film by Robert Machoian
After a startling opening image of extreme tension, first-time solo director, and TFF-alum, Robert Machoian’s stark, slow-burn drama never quite goes where you expect. An evocative and atmospheric transmission from wintry Utah, The Killing of Two Lovers is a compact, economical portrait of a husband and father trying to keep it together while seething with rage during a trial separation from his wife. An interior drama set mostly outside, on the vast, lonely street where David (a knockout Clayne Crawford) stays with his ailing father just a few doors up from his wife Niki (Sepideh Moafi) and their four kids, Machoian’s film compassionately depicts a family in crisis, while moving at the ominous pace of a thriller. A complex, brooding soundscape from Peter Albrechtsen that seems to emanate directly from the head of its disturbed protagonist, and a claustrophobic aspect ratio contribute to the powerful emotional register of this impressive new work of American independent cinema.
David is trying to keep it together. He and his wife, Nikki, are going through a time of transition and allowing each other space to figure out what it is they want from life and from their relationship. But there is one major issue: David doesn’t want space. He just wants things to get better, and he plays along with Nikki because he suspects it’s the only thing that may keep them and their four kids together. But he is hotheaded, jealous, and terrified of losing his family—an explosive combination in a claustrophobically small town where private lives seem impossible to preserve.
Robert Machoian (whose short The MINORS won a Special Jury Award for Directing at last year’s Sundance Festival) has a storytelling style that requires your full attention and an open mind. The Killing of Two Lovers is a captivating study on masculinity, love, and ambiguity, propelled by impressively nuanced and honest performances. Striking camerawork eliminates emotional distance between the audience and the characters, while jarring sound design beautifully conveys David’s impulsive nature and his growing despair.
|Producers||Scott Christopherson Clayne Crawford Robert Machoian|
|Director Of Photography||Oscar Ignacio Jiménez|
|Executive Producers||Roger Fields Scott Christopherson Clayne Crawford Oden Roberts|
|Sound Design/Mix||Peter Albrechtsen|
|Assistant Camera||Nicole Hawkins|
|Associate Producer||Melia Leidenthal|
|Assistant Editor||Sara Hornberger|
|Location Manager||Jeremy Davis|
|Sound Recording||Drake Withers|
|Principal Cast||Clayne Crawford Sepideh Moafi Chris Coy Avery Pizzuto Arri Graham Ezra Graham|
About the Filmmaker
Born in the small town of King City, California, and raised up in the DIY punk culture, Robert Machoian has been taking photographs and making short films and features for the past 10 years. Three of his short films have premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and gone on to play at festivals around the world. His most recent short, The MINORS, garnered him the Short Film Special Jury Award for Directing at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.
Robert Machoian is also a TFF alum, his short film with co-director Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck, Charlie and the Rabbit, screened at the 2009 Tallahassee Film Festival.