I was fortunate enough to attend the Sundance Film Festival this year in Park City, Utah. I saw 15 independent films in 7 days. Not too shabby, right? Here are the first 5 films I saw.
Best of Enemies
SECTION U.S. Documentary Competition
In short: A documentary about a conservative and liberal roasting each other on ABC to boost ratings.
My Thoughts: I was pleasantly surprised by this film.I’m not a huge fan of politics but this film was entertaining. I work at a news talk radio station so to learn about how news talk has been shaped into the way it is now was interesting. If you’re into watching Fox News or any of those other political commentary shows, then this film is for you. I found it to be a little one sided, but hey what do I know?
SECTION Doc Premieres
In short: History of fashion in hip-hop
My Thoughts: I was very excited to see this film! Interviews with Kanye, Pharrell, Nas, and more? Yes please! The soundtrack to this film, of course, was dope. I learned a lot about the early hip-hop fashion in New York. I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t know much about Karl Kani or Cross Colours. It would have been cool to see how it started in other places in the country like L.A. or in the south. It also would have been nice if they had shown more about the future of hip-hop. All in all, I liked this documentary.
SECTION World Cinema Dramatic Competition
In short: Two teenagers go missing and their mother, played by Nicole Kidman, goes crazy.
My Thoughts: I have mixed feelings about this film. Initially, I was upset by how it ended but then I heard the director’s reasoning behind it during the Q&A after the screening. I still think she could have taken out about a half an hour’s worth of film.
In short: A mother with healing powers abandons her son who loves falcons, they reunite 20yrs later.
My Thoughts: I had no idea what this film was about before seeing it. I thought that a lot of it would be in French and this is what drew me to the film. Unfortunately, there were only several lines which were mostly delivered by Mélanie Laurent. The director and Jennifer Connelly, who plays the mother, were there to introduce the film but they could not stay for the Q&A. I would have really liked to have heard the director speak about the film. More than that, I would have liked to have told Cilian Murphy have great of a performance he delivered as the son but unfortunately he wasn’t there either. Did I cry at the end of the film? Maybe…a little…Ok yes, I absolutely did.
Digging for Fire
In short: Jake Johnson finds a bone & a gun in his background, hilarity ensues.
My Thoughts: The best part about this film is that a lot of it is based on real life. During the Q&A, Jake Johnson said he actually did find a bone & gun while gardening. A lot of the comedy in this film is improv. The funniest scene is the one with the family at the table and the mom, Rosemarie DeWitt, tells her son (played by the director’s son) that he can’t say the word “poopy”. He promptly breaks down in tears. I know what you’re thinking why would a 3 year old crying be funny to you? The scene was completely improved. The little boy’s father and director of the film, Joe Swanberg set up the scene by directing DeWitt to tell his son he can’t say “poopy”. She does and to her surprise he bursts into tears. At the Q&A Swanberg said that it wasn’t a big deal making his son cry because “3 year olds cry 50 times a day so it doesn’t really matter”. Rosemarie DeWitt said they had to take the little boy outside to play for an hour after the scene so that he would be happy again. Haha!
Here’s a couple of pictures I took after the screening of “Digging for Fire”: