Sundance 2012

I’ve only been to the Sundance Film Festival once before, when Shawn’s film IGNITE played. That year, everything was overwhelming and new. This year, I came with a plan and everything was exciting. I didn’t get to see all the films I wanted to (Room 237 for instance, and V/H/S) but I was really please with what I did see. That’s not to say I loved every film I saw either, but I thought I’d share a few of my thoughts.

I have to say this was my personal favorite of what I saw at the festival. Written and directed by Marialy Rivas, Young and Wild is fun and racy while also being surprisingly serious. It is the story of a 17-year-old Chilean girl with an unrestrained sexual appetite, a devout evangelical family and a blog to talk about it. Go figure I’d like a film about a blogger. It was entertaining and touched on more than just the obvious; really a story about family, love and finding your way. It had a realistic, honest tone, but was laced with the playful writing of youth. I hope this film finds a larger audience and hopefully winning the World Cinema Screenwriting award will help make that happen.

This film, starring and directed by Mark Webber, is a sentimental portrait of a man struggling to raise his young son on his own after the death of his child’s mother. For the most part, this film has staggeringly authentic scenes that make you feel as if you’re watching an expertly shot and well edited home video. This is due in part to the fact that Webber’s real life son, at 2 and a half, is not really acting but rather being filmed in situation. And let me tell you, that kid is a charmer. The overall emotional tone is touching as you see Webber’s struggle to keep his life together. The End of Love manages to capture something rare and true in the depiction of this father and son, something that draws you into the story. I wish more films could be in touch with this sort of realism.

An absurd look at a fantasy life in Los Angeles, Wrong, gives you a glimpse into the strange world of Dolph after his dog is stolen. The film is much like a bizarre dream, with oddball characters and nonsensical settings (an office that rains indoors, a man that repaints random cars for no reason). It is for sure an amusing trip and is at the same time unremarkable. I definitely enjoyed the curiosity of it all. As a side note, I would recommend checking out this fun short by the director Quentin Dupieux’s (aka Mr. Oizo).

Already there is controversy around this film as it spawned a handful of hecklers at various screenings, including ours. To be honest, I am almost tempted to not mention it at all just to not give it any more press, but my blog doesn’t really count as press so I shall continue. Also, I’m going to include a spoiler so you can just skip this if you want. The big complaint about Compliance is that this film uses rape as entertainment and is thus exploitation. Personally, this isn’t even my problem with the movie Even though as a feminist I oppose the concept, I think it was shot and edited in a way that at least attempted to avoid this. My problem with the film is that it is boring. It’s boring and predictable and not worth the time it took to watch. It defends itself by the fact that it is based on true events and attempts to be a study of the individuals involved. Unfortunately, it never fully captures the motives or intentions of any of the characters and has the emotional depth of a bad tv movie. Instead of watching this film, I propose you instead read about the true events it is based on and you’ll get the full horrific effect. Some things don’t require artistic reinterpretation. That being said, Shawn thought it was compelling and interesting so there’s that.

p.s. These photos have nothing to do with these film, except that I took them in Utah.