Facets Cinémathèque

Archives +

January 2–8, 2015

Chicago Theatrical

Low Down


Film still: Low Down Film still: Low Down Film still: Low Down


Best Actress
Karlovy Vary Intl
Film Fest
Cinematography Award
Sundance Film Fest
"A beautiful and convincing jazz film... Low Down seizes in exceptional way the reality of the era"
"A melancholy, evocative, beautifully made memory piece, unblinking and unromanticized"
  —Los Angeles Times
3 stars½ "[Jeff] Preiss' film does a consistently excellent job of explaining the lure of jazz, and the psychology of addicts, their enablers and their children, without explaining anything"
3 stars½ "[John Hawkes] has so many sure-sighted ways of bringing a flawed character to three-dimensional life on screen, decades from now his work will be discussed, admired"
  —Chicago Tribune
Recommended "Images express more than words in this beautiful biopic... the grainy Super-16 camerawork, intimately capturing sorrowful prison visits and hazy jam sessions in LA flophouses"
  —Chicago Reader
3 stars "A perfectly cast film that depicts a moody world of jazz musicians, drugs and self-destruction"
  —Chicago Sun-Times

Based on Amy-Jo Albany's (Elle Fanning) memoir of her turbulent adolescence with her father, legendary jazz pianist Joe Albany (John Hawkes, Winter's Bone), this richly evocative drama charts the pianist's struggles with heroin addiction as seen through Amy's eyes. Despite his neglect, she deeply loves her father, but cannot stop his sinuous path toward ruin.

Low Down is set against a sensuously textured 1970s Hollywood, beautifully evoking a colorful, seedy world of struggling musicians, artists, and vagabonds, in which Joe and Amy-Jo strive to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. Graced with tour de force performances by a star-studded cast including Glenn Close, Peter Dinklage, and Lena Headey and a marvelous, moody soundtrack featuring Coleman Hawkins, Thelonious Monk, and Albany himself, this moving elegy to a bygone era by filmmaker Jeff Preiss (cinematographer for the revered Chet Baker documentary Let's Get Lost) captures the dismal and devastating life of an addict who imposes lasting effects on his daughter's character.

Directed by Jeff Preiss, U.S.A., 2014, 114 mins.


  • Fri., Jan. 2 at 6:30 & 8:45 pm
  • Sat., Jan. 3 at 2, 4:30, 6:45 & 9 pm
  • Sun., Jan. 4 at 1, 3:30, 6 & 8:30 pm
  • Mon.–Thurs., Jan. 5–8 at 6:30 & 8:45 pm
Order tickets


$10 general admission

$5 for Facets Members

The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. Call the Cinémathèque Hotline at 773.281.4114 for the latest schedule, showtimes and updates.

For all Cinémathèque inquiries, contact Charles Coleman at 773.281.9075 or

  • John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Artworks: National Endowment for the Arts
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
  • Comer Family Foundation
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Alphawood Foundation
  • Polk Bros. Foundation