BY JOE MARVILLI
One of Astoria’s musical stars put her talents to use in an upcoming Richard Gere film.
The music of Natalia ‘Saw Lady’ Paruz contributes to the soundtrack for “Time Out Of Mind,” a movie that looks at the day-to-day desperation of homelessness in New York City. Gere plays George, who struggles every day to find food, drink and a shelter where he can sleep.
Paruz’s distinct saw playing caught the attention of director Oren Moverman years ago in Grand Central Station. When he started putting together “Time Out Of Mind,” he was looking for distinctly New York vibes and sounds. He reached out to Paruz and she accepted, intrigued by the film’s effort to portray homeless people realistically.
Having been playing the musical saw in the subway for two decades, Paruz said she gets to meet many homeless people and see the City from a different angle.
“Homeless folks trust street musicians and treat us as if we were one of them. They open up to us and we get to hear their stories,” she said. “I feel that ‘Time Out of Mind’ captures the honesty of the homeless existence.”
Although Paruz originally had an on-screen appearance, playing the saw in Grand Central Station while Gere watched and listened, her scene was cut due to time constraints. However, her musical contribution remains intact.
“He knows what would sound good on the saw. During the filming of ‘Time Out of Mind,’ the entire film crew was humming the melody of ‘Lullaby for the Forgotten’ (the piece I played in the movie) – it’s a very soothing melody,” she said.
For the end credits of “Time Out Of Mind,” each member of the cast and crew was asked to dedicate the movie to someone. Paruz chose Joe Lumis, a homeless man she used to see when playing in the Union Square subway station.
“He told me of his life, his joys and his sorrows,” Paruz said. “He never begged me for money – he would ask to borrow money and he always gave it back later! I dedicated the movie to him as a representative of the many homeless people I met while busking in the subway.”
Paruz added that those who wish to help the homeless can volunteer at Trinity Lutheran Church in Astoria. One Friday per month, the church holds a community dinner for people from the Westway Family Center, where homeless families try to improve their situations. Trinity needs volunteers who can cook, interact and provide conversation and comfort for those families. Food donations are also accepted. The next dinner is on Nov. 14, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The church is located at 31-18 37th St.
While “Time Out Of Mind” has been on the film festival circuit, it is set to hit theaters in 2015. IFC Films will distribute it. To learn more about Paruz and her upcoming Saw Lady performances, visit www.SawLady.com.
Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @JoeMarvilli.