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 5 films I saw.
SECTION World Cinema Dramatic Competition
In short: An androgynous 12-year-old living with her mother, battles puberty and her step-dad’s sexual abuse.
My Thoughts: This was the most uncomfortable film I have watched in a long time. The entire movie my face was fixed in a cringey, perplexed, worrisome state. That being said, it is one of my favorite films that I watched at Sundance. The cinematography and casting were perfect. I feel as though I need to see the movie at least two more times to fully understand it. I could not stay for the entire director’s Q&A after the screening. (I really should have stayed because I would have loved to have asked her questions.) I was relieved to find out that the actress playing the main character was 17 years old during the filming. Watch the film and you will be relieved to know that as well!
SECTION U.S. Dramatic Competition
In short: A geek from Inglewood with dreams of getting into Harvard & his friends hilariously navigate life as outcasts.
My Thoughts: There is so much I can say about this film. It was the best screening that I attended at the festival. I can’t say that I have ever sold drugs or sported a high-top fade but I relate to this film. The director, Rick Famuyiwa, based a lot of the plot on his own experiences as a Nigerian American growing up in southern California. He has won our hearts with movies like Brown Sugar (2002) and The Wood (1999). His films touch on the topic of racial diversity and self-acceptance in minority communities. Narrated and procduced by film legend Forest Whitaker, the cast includes Shameik Moore as lead character Malcolm, Zoë Kravtiz, A$AP Rocky, Blake Anderson (Workaholics), and Chanel Iman.
If you want to read about how I met Zoë Kravitz and Forest Whitaker, leave a comment below!
In short: Andrew Garfield fights for his home after it gets foreclosed on due to the real estate crisis in the late 2000s.
My Thoughts: I highly recommend seeing this film. Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon‘s performances were phenomenal! I never would have thought that I would cry so hard in a film about home foreclosure. I’ll admit it. Prior to seeing this film, I had little to no knowledge on the housing market crash and its effects on families across America. This film opened my eyes. I cannot wait until this comes out and I can watch it again!
In short: You’ve heard of Daft Punk, right? This film is kind of about them but not really, I think?
My Thoughts: On paper this film sounds perfect for me. A film about french house music…in french? Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed. I did not connect with any of the characters and wasn’t invested in the plot. The runtime is 131 minutes but I can’t really remember anything that happened. I should have waited for it to come out on Netflix.
SECTION World Cinema Documentary Competition
In short: How would human beings on Earth react to an alien encounter?
My Thoughts: I went to see this film because there were tickets available at the box office. I read the plot and thought it was interesting. Half of this film is made up of weird interviews with scientists and government employees. The other half is weird slow motion shots of people walking around. It’s kind of strange. I could have waited for to come out on Netflix.