Welcome to the restless world of Harley, heroin junkie in today’s New York. Tangled up in the melancholy romance of a destructive relationship with Ilja, she seeks solace with another addict, Mike.
Filmed in a cinéma-vérité style and braced by electronic music from Tangerine Dream and Isao Tomita’s beautiful adaptation of Debussy’s Claire de lune No. 3, the film takes you right into her life. Directors Josh and Benny Safdie create tableaux vivants about hunger and heroine intoxication that lull you into the everyday rhythm of the junkies who take a genuinely tender interest each other’s welfare one moment and the next moment are mercilessly selfish, get bogged down in irritation and drug-induced non-conversations.
Heaven Knows What is based on the experiences of Arielle Holmes, who herself plays Harley. Alongside striking figures from New York street life, the Safdie Brothers also cast the actor Caleb Landry Jones to play Ilja. In order to get into his role, he befriended the real Ilja and made a study of life on the street.

Filmmaker
Josh Safdie, Benny Safdie
Country
USA, France
Year
2014
Medium
DCP
Length
94’
Language
English
Producer
Oscar Boyson, Sebastian Bear-McClard
Production Company
Elara Pictures, Iconoclast
Sales
Stray Dogs
Writer
Ronald Bronstein, Josh Safdie, based on a novel by Arielle Holmes
Cinematography
Sean Price Williams
Editor
Ronald Bronstein, Benny Safdie
Production Design
Audrey Turner
Sound Design
Benny Safdie
Cast
Arielle Holmes, Caleb Landry Jones