Feel free to laugh, director Lee Daniels tells/warns the audience before the screening of his film Precious at Vancouver International Film Festival.
“Even though we went into some dark places, we laughed while we were working on it,” said Daniels, of his second effort in the director’s chair.
The film, which carries the full title Precious: Based on the Novel Push By Sapphire, tackles some gloomy subject manner, including incest, child sexual and physical abuse. It follows an illiterate 16-year-old protagonist who is pregnant with her second child from her own father.
“We laughed throughout,” Daniels told the audience in a question and answer session following the film. “We laughed because if you chose to do anything but, you’d go to a dark place.”
The film, which screens for a second time Friday, has generated buzz, winning audience choice awards at both Sundance and Toronto international film festivals.
And despite being made for “love, soul, bubble gum and Popsicle sticks” or alternately “$2 and some M&Ms” it features some big names in supporting roles.
Lenny Kravitz plays a nurse’s aide and Mariah Carrey — without makeup and sporting a hint of a moustache on her upper lip — turns in a nice performance as a social worker. Mo’Nique gives a lights out performance as the abusive mother. It was produced by Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry.
“When I’m telling my stories, there are no egos on the set. They know we don’t have any money that means we don’t have time for makeup artists and massage therapists and bodyguards. We’re here to put on a play.”