Friday, January 25, 2013

Best Movie We Have Seen So Far

Once we got flights and shuttles figured out for our three friends who were trying to fly home yesterday (the Salt Lake Airport cancelled all morning flights due to ice), we saw two very different movies. The first was a Georgian -- as in Eastern Europe, not Southern U.S. -- documentary and the second was in the U.S. Dramatic Competition and was based on a true story.

The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear

In the past 10 years, I have seen a lot of movies at Sundance that I didn't like, but I don't think I have ever described any of them as boring. Maybe I'm just tired, but the first hour of this documentary put me to sleep. The young Georgian filmmaker attempts to shed light on life in contemporary Georgia by interviewing its youth. The film is made up of these interviews combined with footage of the interviewees going through daily life. A couple of the subjects, who appeared in the second half of the film, had interesting stories and the film picked-up a little bit. But, it wasn't enough for me. I really felt as if the Director had two short films here, rather than a feature. Both Jois and I felt them film could have also benefitted from a little more contextual information about Georgia -- its recent history, economy, etc. It also further bolstered our new theory that directors from countries where there is not a thriving film industry are more likely to be selected than those in countries that are already well represented.

Fruitvale

See this movie! I have been so impressed with films by very young filmmakers this year and "Fruitvale" falls right in line. Based on the true story of Oscar Grant who was killed on New Year's Day 2009 on a platform at the Fruitvale Bart station in Oakland, CA. The train was packed with New Year's Eve partiers and many of those on board filmed the incident with their cell phones. Ryan Coogler (the 26-year-old writer/director) takes those eye witness accounts, police depositions, interviews with family and friends to craft a very honest story of what happened and a loving tribute to the man who lost his life.

I'm seeing two movies today and hope to wait list for one more tomorrow before we head down the mountain and back to Portland. It's been a different kind of Sundance -- fewer big stars and a little more low-key feel -- but the indie film biz is alive and well and I'm excited about all the talented first-time filmmakers we have seen this year.

2 comments:

Dede Helmsworth said...
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Dede Helmsworth said...

Can't wait to hear all about your adventure when you get back!