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Stock Footage Helps Bring Historical Milieu to Life for ‘American Pastoral’

Ewan McGregor makes his directorial debut with American Pastoral, based on the Philip Roth novel of the same name. The story takes place in the 1960s and ’70s and tells of political and personal clashes within a working class family led by patriarch McGregor and matriarch Jennifer Connelly.

“[It was] very important for Ewan to have empathy for the views of both the daughter and the mother and that goes beyond what the novel does. He wanted everyone’s point of view to be valid; and in some cases that was helped by adding stock footage,” explains editor Melissa Kent to CineMontage. “[For example] inserting stock footage of Vietnam helps prepare the audience for a four-year jump in time, and also gives the viewer a more visceral way to understand [daughter] Merry’s perspective about the war and how much she despises it.”

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