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Carson Lund‘s directorial debut “Eephus” just might be the perfect blend of the Franco-American dream: It’s got baseball, it’s got “Uncut Gems” lore, and even filmmaker Frederick Wiseman making a cameo.

IndieWire can debut a first look at “Eephus,” helmed by cinematographer Lund who also served as the director of photography for fellow Directors’ Fortnight premiere feature “Christmas Eve in Miller’s Point.”

“Eephus” centers on two New England Sunday baseball league teams whose pastime is threatened to be interrupted by an imminent construction project on their small-town baseball field. While their final game takes place over the course of a day, tensions flare up and ceremonial laughs are shared as both teams celebrate an era of camaraderie that faces an uncertain future. The film is set in the 1990s.

Gemma Arterton and Ryan Reynolds in "The Voices"

The Surfer

“Uncut Gems” actors Keith William Richards and Wayne Diamond star, as well as Cliff Blake, Ray Hryb, Stephen Radochia, David Pridemore, Pete Minkarah, and David Torres Jr. Boston Red Sox pitcher Bill “Spaceman” Lee has a cameo, as well as legendary documentarian Wiseman who plays a radio announcer.

“Eephus” is premiering in the Directors’ Fortnight section on Sunday, May 19. The film is directed by Lund, who co-wrote the script with Michael Basta and Nate Fisher. “Christmas Eve in Miller’s Point” director Tyler Taormina produces, along with Lund, Basta, David Entin, and Gabe Klinger. Film Constellation is handling sales.

Lund shared in a press statement that he crafted “Eephus” in the “great cinematic tradition of ‘hangout’ films that celebrate the humanistic and experiential dimensions of the sport of baseball rather than the minutiae of the game itself.” He cited features like Robert Altman’s “A Prairie Home Companion” and Howard Hawks’s “Hatari!” as tonal influences.

As for casting Wiseman, Lund wanted a “folksy, sage voice to ground us in the region” of “Eephus.”

“On a metatextual level, I thought the presence of Wiseman’s voice at the beginning of the film might anchor fellow cinephiles in the kind of film I’m making,” Lund said, “which is to say an almost anthropological study of a group with its own set of arcane rules rather than a narrative driven by a single character.”

Directors’ Fortnight artistic directors Julien Rejl told IndieWire that “Eephus” actually “evokes Tsai Ming-liang.”

“It’s [director Lund’s] own version of ‘Goodbye, Dragon Inn,’ using the tools of cinema to trace the end of a certain world and social order, only here transposed to baseball — and as a Frenchman, I don’t know a thing about baseball!” Rejl said. “Only so few sports films use such a sparse narrative to share the joys, sorrows, conflicts, and camaraderie of a group of characters for whom we might find unsympathetic from a certain point of view.”

“Eephus” premieres at Cannes in the Director’s Fortnight section. Check out a clip below.



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