The inner life of Martin Frost

The Inner life of Martin Frost

A film by Paul Auster

Starring David Thewlis, Irène Jacob, Michael Imperioli, Sophie Auster

Martin Frost the successful novelist, has just published his latest book. He decides to rest his mind alone in a country house.The dawn of his first day, he discovers with amazement a mysterious and astonishing woman lying next to him. Fascinated by her beauty and intelligence Martin falls deeply in love with her. He has found the muse that helplessly drives him to write his most perfect piece. Who is this strange woman that perfectly knows his life and his work? Is she a real muse? Is she imaginary? Is she a ghost that has slipped in the inner life of Martin Frost?

Release date


David Thewlis - Martin Frost
Irène Jacob - Claire Martin
Michael Imperioli - James Fortunato
Sophie Auster - Anna James


Written and Directed by Paul Auster
Producers: Paulo Branco, Paul Auster, Yael Melamede
Produced by Alma films, Clap filmes, Tornasol films
In association with Salty features, RTP
With the participation of ICAM (Portugal)

Paul Auster

Writer, Director and Producer

Paul Auster is the author of Travels in the Scriptorium (2007), The Brooklyn Follies (2006), Oracle Night (2003), The Book of Illusions (2002), The Red Notebook (2002), Timbuktu (1999), Mr. Vertigo (1994), Leviathan (1992), The Music of Chance (1990), Moon Palace (1989), In the Country of the Last Things (1987), and the three novels known as “The New York Trilogy”: City of Glass (1985), Ghosts (1986), and The Locked Room (1987). He has also written two memoirs, The Invention of Solitude (1982) and Hand to Mouth (1997), and a book of critical essays, The Art of Hunger (1992).

Auster’s Collected Prose was published in 2003 and his Collected Poems in 2004. He also wrote the screenplay for the movie Smoke (1995) and was co-director (with Wayne Wang) of Blue in the Face (1995). Subsequently, he wrote and directed the film Lulu on the Bridge (1998). His other works include I Thought My Father Was God (2001), the NPR National Story Project anthology, The Random House Book of Twentieth Century French Poetry (1982) – which he edited – and numerous translations of French writers and poets, including Jacques Dupin, André du Bouchet, Joseph Joubert, Stéphane Mallarmé, Phillippe Petit, Maurice Blanchot, and Pierre Clastres. He also edited the recent Samuel Beckett: The Grove Centenary Edition (2006).

In 2006 Auster was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters and won Spain’s most prestigious prize for literature – the Premio Principe de Asturias de las Letras. Among other awards he has won are the Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, the Prix Médicis for the best foreign novel published in France (1992), the Morton Dauwen Zabel award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1990), the Silver Bear from the Berlin Film Festival for SMOKE (1995), the Independent Spirit Award for best screenplay (1996), and the Borders Books Original Voices Award (2002). His work has been translated into thirty-five languages.

  • San Sebástian Film Festival

    Official Selection - Out of Competition

Paul Auster

Director's Note

“Life is both tragic and funny, both absurd and profoundly meaningful. More or less unconsciously, I’ve tried to embrace this double aspect of experience in the stories I’ve written – both novels and screenplays. I feel it’s the most honest, most truthful way of looking at the world, and when I think of some of the writers I like best – Shakespeare, Cervantes, Dickens, Kafka, Beckett – they all turn out to be masters of combining the light with the dark, the strange with the familiar.

The Inner Life of Martin Frost is a very curious story. A story about a man who writes a story about a man who writes a story – and the story inside the story, the film we watch from the moment Martin wakes up to find Claire sleeping beside him to the moment Martin stops typing and looks out the window, is so wild and implausible, so crazy and unpredictable, that without some doses of humor, it would have been unbearably heavy. At the same time, I think the funny bits underscore the pathos of Martin’s situation.

I wanted to create an other-worldly ambiance, a place that could be anywhere, a place that felt as if it existed outside time. The action unfolds in Martin’s head, after all, and by choosing the house I did, a little domain cut off from the rest of the world, I felt I would be enhancing the interiority of the story.

The story of Martin Frost, a writer, and a mysterious woman who turns out to be his muse. A fantastical story, really, more or less in the spirit of Nathaniel Hawthorne. But Claire isn’t a traditional muse. She’s an embodiment of the story Martin is writing…”

Paul Auster

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