CHICAGO – The 2022 Sundance Film Festival ended Jan. 30 and had a full weekend of awards screenings. The festival is ending as virtual/online for the second year in a row, meaning anyone/anywhere with a ticket or pass can indulge in the film offerings and events throughout throughout the festival.!—pause—>
One of the flagship offers is free for everyone, without the need for tickets or additional credentials. Beyond Film’s lineup offers something for everyone…with filmmaker talks, meet-and-greets, and a daily talk show with festival director Tabitha Jackson. Festival stars and directors include Emma Thompson, Dakota Johnson, Amy Poehler and Eva Longoria Bastón. Click on BEYOND MOVIE for the archive. And click AWARD WINNERS for the list of winners of the Sundance Film Festival.
Photo credit: Sundance Film Festival
The Sundance Film Festival is an annual event organized by the Sundance Institute – an organization founded by actor Robert Redford in 1980 – and dedicated to the growth of independent artists. It usually takes place every January in Park City, Utah and other locations, and is the largest independent film festival in the United States. It includes competitive categories for documentary and drama films, feature films and short films, as well as out-of-competition categories for the presentation of new films.
MOVIES OF SUNDANCE: Opinions on the capsules
“Nanny” – A multi-layered and gripping story about a nanny in New York City named Aisha (Anna Diop), who works for an upscale couple who care for their child. She is from the African country of Senegal and had to abandon her young son to establish a new life in America. Full of unexpected twists, centering on a supernatural element that has its roots in Aisha’s culture, the tale takes unexpected directions – including the wealthy couple who might not seem like they are. Written and directed by Nikyatu Jusu, this film won the we Grand Jury Dramatic Prize at the Festival for its incisive take on the class structures and experiences of immigrants in America, and the ramifications of decisions that are calculated in an instinct for survival.
“Utama” – Honored with the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize, “Utama” is a beautiful film – set in Bolivia – about a humble, aging married couple who are alpaca farmers named Virginio and Sisa. When a drought sets in, their grandson Clever shows up to convince them to retire to the nearby town. When Virginio refuses to even listen, he begins a tussle to determine what’s best for everyone involved. These themes have been explored many times in storytelling and film, but this film is unique for its approach to the intergenerational relationship between grandfather and grandson, who refuse to back down from their positions. Their confrontation, with Grandma Sisa in the middle, says as much about macho culture as it does about family… whoever “wins” in the conflict has nothing to gain.
“The exiled” – Directed by Violet Columbus and Ben Klein, this stunning documentary was honored with the we Grand Jury Prize, and was a throwback (of sorts) to the 1989 Chinese Tiananmen Square massacre during the pro-democracy protests. The title refers to the escapees from this situation, who had to leave China due to their participation. During their 1989 tour of America, a filmmaker named Christine Choy…who can best be described as a Chinese Fran Lebowitz…documented their trip, but the film project remained unfinished for 30 years. The story is the combination of Choy reviving his dormant images and catching up with the refugees who have been forced to live their lives outside the homeland. With themes of politics, 1980s New York City, and what China has become (including the censorship and whitewashing of its history), this story becomes something bigger when paired with Christine Choy’s brash, over-the-top personality, and rises above a glimpse of history. become something much more important in the context.
“Navalny” – The story of Alexei Navalny, Russia’s most prominent anti-Putin activist, is familiar in the news, including a mysterious poisoning that led to his exile. But the reasons for his actions are revealed with ardor in the documentary “Navalny”, the we People’s Choice Award at Sundance. Navalny ran for president against Putin, was the founder of the Anti-Corruption Foundation in Mother Russia, and was a constant thorn in the side of Vladimir…so much so that Putin never calls him by name. The document’s main story is the incredible online support Navalny receives, including the organizations that helped him uncover (remarkably enough) the circumstances of his poisoning. The real-life plot – which includes Navalny’s return to Russia after his recovery – is miles above and more outrageous than any fiction, mainly because the implications of his status are the lubricant that could loosen the iron gate that Putin has over his country and the rest of the world. A must.
ten BETTER Sundance Movies
The top 10 are based on excellence, connecting with them and experiencing them. Descriptions are in the links or are above. The films are, in ascending order, LUCY AND DESI (a surprisingly deep career dive into the marriage and business partnership of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, 2ND LUCK (a documentary we don’t know where it’s going on the inventor of the bulletproof vest), GIRL PICTURE (very realistic portrayal of sex and love through two young adult female colleagues in Finland), NANNY (see above), EMERGENCY (a light-eyed comedy serio with an emphasis on college youth and “black white driving”), PALM TREES AND POWER LINES (no more tragic but likely female coming of age), HATCHING (a beautiful multi-layered, multi-textured horror film from…Finland!), EVENT (a young woman seeks an illegal abortion in 1963 France, and the graphic nature of her journey is an empathetic portrait), NAVALNY (see above) and THE EXILED (see above).
As a traditional relative, here’s a clip of Sundance Institute/Film Festival founder Robert Redford reflecting on what he’s created…