'To Dust,' to Settle on Screens in February

Producers and a lead actor have Amagansett residences
Shmuel, played by Geza Rohrig, rows his two sons in a scene from “To Dust.”

 “To Dust,” starring Matthew Broderick and produced by Alessandro Nivola and Emily Mortimer — all Amagansett residents — will open at Village East Cinema on Second Avenue in Manhattan on Friday, Feb. 8. It will open in Los Angeles, Chicago, and other major cities the following weekend.

The film, which earned its director, Shawn Snyder, Narrative Audience and Best New Narrative Director awards at the Tribeca Film Festival last year, is a story of a Hasidic cantor in upstate New York who is mourning the death of his wife. He becomes obsessed with the welfare of her soul, which he believes will suffer until her body turns to dust. After religion fails him, he seeks out Albert, a community college science teacher, to help him calculate how long it will take for her body to fully decompose. 

Mr. Broderick plays Albert, and Geza Rohrig, a Hungarian actor, plays Shmuel, the cantor. Albert and Shmuel develop an unconventional camaraderie that results in an unsentimental and sometimes uproarious film.

The unusual buddy movie was a selection of last year’s Hamptons International Film Festival.

Mr. Broderick told The Star in October that he didn’t really know what to think when he read the script, but Mr. Rohrig’s attachment to the project and Mr. Snyder’s explanation of the film intrigued him. What ultimately appealed to him was the through line of “when a person of science and a spiritual person come together in some way. This was an interesting way to tell a story about what religion can’t do for him and what science won’t do for me” and how they work it out together. 

“I really fell for Geza’s character,” Mr. Broderick said. 

J.L.