Two of Bleecker Street’s awards season contenders, Disobedience and Leave No Traceshow the wear and tear of humanity against its environment.

Sebastian Lelio’s Disobedience follows two lesbian lovers played by Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams who rekindle their romance from their teenage years in the face of the latter character’s husband (Alessandro Nivola) and the conservative London Hasidic community in which they live. Nivola’s Dovid Kuperman continues to support Weisz’s Ronit’s presence in the neighborhood despite others advocating against her, oblivious to the fact that his wife is cheating on him.

Alessandro Nivola
Shutterstock

Nivola had four months to prepare for his role, and in doing so met with a person who worked at a post office in the Brooklyn Crown Heights Lubavitch neighborhood; “I grew beard and learned Hebrew,” said the actor today at Deadline’s The Contenders NY. Nivola also learned Yiddish, memorizing a number of Hebrew blessings.

Nivola was drawn to the role because it didn’t necessarily paint his character, a burgeoning Hasidic leader in the neighborhood, as the bad guy: “It presents these three characters who are really good, but placed in an impossible situation. Usually the character I play would be a foil character, who was set up as a villain, in order to have this extramarital affair to be easily accepted by the audience.”

Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie and Debra Granik
Shutterstock

In Debra Granik’s Sundance premiere Leave No Trace, Ben Foster and Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie play father and daughter, on the run, desiring an unconventional life living in the Pacific Northwest woods, away from domesticated life. They brave rain, wind and cold, but also ‘the man’. When discovered by police, they’re linked up with a social worker agency and sent to live and work on a farm, in order to live a normal life, but it’s not what Foster’s Will wants at all.

Granik delve into research about the post-War lives of war veterans living with PTSD, and the trials they face at home. Commenting on her short-hand with Foster playing daughter to father, McKenzie pegged it up to, “we were comfortable working in each other’s space, that’s what drove the performance.”

Disobedience is currently available to watch on DVD, SVOD and Amazon Prime. Leave No Trace is also available in the home entertainment market. Bleecker Street also has Wash Westmoreland’s Colette in contention this season starring Keira Knightley as author Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, who defied the norms of her time, and sought to have her creative voice known after being a ghost writer to her best-selling husband ‘Willy’.