a film by Eliza Hittman


Sonya, a 17-year-old Russian immigrant, lives in a claustrophobic Brooklyn apartment with her dad and his ever-growing menagerie of cats. When the landlady threatens to evict them, Sonya ventures out for a night she will never forget.


Eliza Hittman’s latest film, Forever’s Gonna Start Tonight, prompted a really passionate and enthusiastic discussion at The Standard Print.  Like Sonya, the film’s main character, Mike Von der Kret and I migrated to the US when we were children. Like her, we spent our teenage years grappling with acomplex sense of identity. Hittman transported us to that stage in our lives in a very powerful way. We remembered witnessing our parents struggle to adapt to a new culture, and we reminisced about the challenges we faced at that age trying to combine all those different, at times even contradictory, aspects of ourselves. Her film led us to reflect on these experiences. It made us realize that in spite of all the difficulties we faced, neither of us would want to have grown up any other way.

Our third member, Gina Von der Kret, saw things from a different perspective. Born in the US, she didn’t identify with the immigrant experience, but she did connect directly with Sonya as a teenage girl. She remembered being Sonya’s age and navigating the minefield of adolescence, which included a desire to explore the night with wild abandon, while always managing to pull herself from the brink by a sense of responsibility towards her family and her future self.

This film clearly resonates on different levels. Its power lies on Hittman’s insistence on capturing the world of Russian immigrants in Brighton Beach in the most concrete way possible.  Through out the film Sonya deals with real situations. She buys fish from the local market. She deals with a nosey landlady. And then she finds a way to to delicately extricate herself from her needy father’s tender love, in order explore the nightlife with her friends.

 Forever’s Gonna Start The Night is shot through with sensuality, awkwardness and delirium. It is also steeped in a unique kind of melancholy so characteristic of the Brighton Beach community. By working in real locations, with a mix of actors and non-actors, and placing them in fresh and honest situations, Hittman has directed a thought-provoking, poignant and romantic film about the complexities of growing up.

Undoubtedly an emerging talent in the world of Cinema, Eliza Hittman is currently working on her debut feature film. We feel very privileged to be spotlighting her work at the Standard Print.