Lizzie and I had the chance to see the excellent Mississippi Damned at the Slamdance Film Festival, and while waiting in line we met the director and the editor of the film. We were both impressed by the story, cinematography, and the editing - the film immediately gives a strong impression of place, and the mood of the film alternates between a poetic and recollective style and an intense immediacy. The performances throughout the film were quite strong and the characters were utterly convincing.
Posts Tagged ‘nathan andersen’
Charlyne Yi (Chuck), the awkward Asian-American girl with big glasses from Knocked Up, is an LA- based artist and comedian who plays herself in this faux documentary (winner of the screenwriting prize at Sundance 2009), about the making of a documentary about a girl who wants to know whether love is for real. She traverses the country, speaking to people from all walks of life: scientists, married couples, both straight and gay, a romance novelist, a divorce judge and family lawyer who happen to be married, a psychic, musicians, kids. All of those she talks to seem to believe in the possibility of love, and Charlyne wonders whether it could happen to her.
Of course it does. (more…)
Kimjongilia, a new film playing in the 2009 Sundance World Documentary Competition by NC Heiken, is not designed merely to inform audiences about the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il, but to enrage and inspire the world community to do what it takes to overthrow his regime and overcome the suffering he inflicts upon the North Korean citizenry.
The documentary takes its name from the symbolic flower of Kim Jong Il, created to celebrate his birthday and alleged to represent wisdom, peace, justice and love. The film opens with a montage of propagandist images and music from communist North Korea, smiling workers protected by the original “Great Leader” Kim Il Sung. The film ends on a similar montage, but with new music suggesting liberation and new images drawn from the many interviewees, who tell their own personal tales of struggle and oppression. (more…)
It’s Saturday night in Park City and another festival is winding down. The first weekend of the festival is always the most chaotic and crowded. I find the second weekend more pleasant even if it is a bit sad to see things coming to a close. Shuttle buses are less frequent, people more relaxed. For the first time in ten days it is snowing, and with the weather everyone seems to be mellowing out, finding some place to stay warm.
I had a ticket to the Grand Jury Prize Documentary Award winning film - and had settled down into a cozy seat in the Library theater, waiting for the announcement as to which film it would be. I was slightly disappointed to hear it was something I’d seen just yesterday - I’d been hoping to catch something I’d missed - but in hindsight the award makes complete sense: Ondi Timoner’s We Live in Public was disturbing but brilliant, a powerful portrait of an internet pioneer with a remarkable vision of the future we are living now. Unlike many of the documentaries that played at Sundance this year, this one (by the director of Dig!) makes inventive and entertaining use of the possibilities of the medium, and was definitely not made for a PBS audience.
I’ve seen just over 30 films here in Park City, at both Sundance and Slamdance, and in my opinion this is the strongest lineup I’ve encountered in the years I’ve been coming to the festival. As usual, the documentaries tend to be among the best that Sundance has to offer. While I was laughing out loud at Black Dynamite, amused and entertained by Larry Fessenden and Ron Perlman’s performances in We Sell the Dead, intrigued by the ideas in Moon and in the even more profound The Clone Returns Home and even brought to tears by Slamdance’s Mississippi Damned, it was the documentary films that will have a lasting impact on my thoughts and attitudes and actions. (more…)
Earth Days (Sundance 2009’s closing night film) begins with a powerful montage of United States presidents, beginning with John F. Kennedy, proclaiming the urgency of the mission to clean up our air and address our dependency on dwindling energy sources. Our future as a nation depended on it.
Of course, as we know, the urgency has not diminished but the clarity of the vision has. This is signaled in the film as the final president in the series, George W. Bush, expressed nothing more than the need to reduce our dependency on foreign sources of oil. In part, as this film shows, the clarity of the mission diminished as the clarity of our air increased. It was the success of early environmental pioneers like JFK’s Secretary of the Interior, Stewart Udall and California Congressman Pete McCloskey, in the face of very obvious pollution in large American cities, that enabled subsequent politicians to diminish and ignore the challenges that face us in the coming days. (more…)
Author Colin Beavan was tired of writing about the problems that face our world and merely talking about environmental change. He decided the time had come to try out change on himself, and convinced his wife and 2-year old daughter to go along. The idea was to see whether they could be happy without being consumers and without contributing to the many pressures that modern lifestyles place upon the earth. He dubbed himself, “No Impact Man” and created a blog and a couple friends decided to document the process. When it was all over, he thought, he could write a book. Simple enough, it seems, but nothing is ever quite as simple as it seems. (more…)
Two older women and a young man take an annual trip to an island where they dry fish, expecting to be taken home before the water freezes. When they fail to return at the expected time, and after the oldest woman passes away, the boy and his grandmother must find ways to cope on their own. Before Tomorrow is the third in a trilogy of films (beginning with The Fast Runner and The Journals of Knud Rasmussen), made by contemporary Inuit natives as a way of recapturing a sense of their past. This one is the feature debut of Madeline Piujuq Ivalu and Marie-Hélène Cousineau of the Arnait Video Collective, based on the novel For Morgendagen by Danish writer Jørn Riel. It is a beautiful and intimate story, and the tenderness between grandmother and grandson is palpable and moving, as when she encourages him to speak bravely of his first seal hunt, asking him to elaborate on his simple tale, and invest it with a heroic quality. (more…)
After opening last year with In Bruges, a film packed with star power and scheduled to open in theaters the following weekend, Sundance has chosen this year to open edgy and unpredictable. It is not just that Mary and Max is an independent claymation flick from Australia, with a darkly comic theme about a lonely and misunderstood 8-year-old girl who strikes up an unlikely and disturbing correspondence and friendship with a 48-year-old overweight depressive male diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. What was truly unexpected was the moving power of its simple message, achieved without resorting to sentimentalism or cliché. (more…)