The Works of Maria Marshall
The last film, if you want to call it that, that I saw at Sundance was sadly disappointing. It was a New Frontier entry called The Works of Maria Marshall. This category is supposed to be about what’s next in stretching the boundaries of film. So watching what Marshall repeatedly said was meant for art museum installations in a theater just didn’t capture my attention.
The description of her work made it sound like it would embody the unflinching nature of independent film. She uses herself and her children in short films that are provocative and possibly disturbing. Her teenage son is seen shooting a gun and the first film she made is the son as a baby smoking a cigarette. I bought a ticket for it because I wanted to get that range of emotion that’s far from mainstream film.
Marshall explained that she kept in mind the theater setting when asked to come to Sundance. She edited the samples of her work to be less torturous. Normally, her art would be in a museum setting where the audience members come and go as they please. She often employs the loop format in her work so that the beginning and end don’t matter.
To me, Sundance was not the best venue for this show. And it’s not like she needed the recognition either. She mentioned how her work had been sold in Europe for something like twenty thousand dollars. She’s a fairly established artist. I just wish she hadn’t been the last show of my otherwise great Sundance experience.