Ukraine, Iran, Anne Hathaway, Emilia Clarke… The Sundance festival begins in majesty

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The demonstration, created by Robert Redford and Mecca of American independent cinema, regains its scale before the health crisis in Utah.

Starting this Thursday and for ten days, Hollywood moves to the snowy slopes of Utah. For the first time since the advent of the pandemic, the Sundance festival, where the best of independent cinema and its new talents are unveiled, will take place in its usual scale and splendor, without reduction of sail.

Co-founded by actor Robert Redford, this event is held until January 29 in a ski resort over 2000 meters above sea level. It is an essential launching pad for many low-budget films in search of a distributor. After several online and hybrid editions, Sundance is the latest major film festival to return to a classic format. It remains to be seen whether the auctions of the studios will be up to it. The giants Netflix and Warner Bros impose a cure of austerity and economy, after having spent in an unlimited way to inflate their offer of streaming.

About 110 films share the bill this year. Their creators are “very enthusiastic” to finally be able to meet in person, according to the director of programming for the festival, Kim Yutani. “At the end of the day, that moment when the work meets the audience is something we all really cherish”, she explains. “The filmmaker’s apprehension before the screening, the fact of being in front of this audience, of experiencing the reaction and the questions and answers (…), nothing can replace that.»

Featured Documentary

Documentaries are traditionally the cornerstone of the festival. This year, one of the most anticipated is Deep Rising. Narrated by the Hawaiian actor and star ofAquaman Jason Momoa, the investigation unravels the worrying race to mine the seabed in search of rare metals useful for ‘green revolution’ batteries.

Another American star, dakota johnsonlends his voice to the script of The Disappearance of Shere Hite. The documentary traces the forgotten story of the author of the Hite Report, a pioneering study on female sexuality, which sold millions of copies, but which sparked a violent misogynistic reaction. Judy Blume Forever tells how this American author introduced a generation of young girls to puberty and sex, but was attacked by conservative activists.

As in Cannes, the war in Ukraine is central. Iron Butterflies examines the crash of flight MH17, shot down in 2014 by Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine, and links the lack of consequences for those responsible to the current war. Conflict is the subject of 20 Days in Mariupol.

Zar Amir Ebrahimi and Adèle Exarchopoulos on the screens

Iran is also at the heart of concerns. Jonam follows three generations of women from the Iranian family of director Sierra Urich. Fiction feature films The Persian Version and Shayda, produced by Cate Blanchett with Zar Amir Ebrahimi interpretation prizes at Cannes, also explore the stories of women in Iran and its diaspora, at a time when the country is shaken by major protests.

Sundance will also be the meeting place for stars, delighted to put on sweaters and boots rather than evening dresses and stiletto heels and to swap the red carpets for the runways. This Thursday, the star of Game Of ThronesEmilia Clarke and the actor Chiwetel Ejiofor will present during the opening night The Pod Generationa social satire set in the near future, where a company has invented a detachable uterus, allowing couples to share their pregnancies.

Revealed by the American remake of the Aries family, the star of CODAEmilia Jones come back to defend CatPerson. Adapted from a famous short story New Yorker, the drama chronicles a date between a young student and an older man that results in an affair and explores the gray areas of consent. With fairyland, inspired by a bestseller, the Briton goes back in time to the era when HIV ravaged San Francisco. CODA had become the first Sundance-winning film to receive the Best Picture Oscar. It was after its preview at Sundance that Apple TV+ acquired the family comedy at a gold price.

In Eileen, Anne Hathaway portrays an attractive employee forming an ominous friendship with a lonely colleague (Thomasin McKenzie). All under the supervision of William Oldroyd, author of the noticed Lady Macbeth which propelled Florence Pugh into the limelight.

You Hurt My Feelings brings together Julia Louis Dreyfus (Veep) and director Nicole Holofcener. The duo chronicles the disenchantment of a writer who learns that her therapist husband does not read her. This brutal confession goes against an unwaveringly supportive spouse.

A Marvel superhero on the slopes

Marvel’s Future Star Jonathan Majors, who lends his features to the terrible Kang in Ant Man and The Wasp: Quantumaniawill be featured in Magazine Dreamsportrait of a bodybuilder who pushes his body to its limits.

French people will also be present at Sundance. Notably Adèle Exarchopoulos. The revelation of The Life of Adele gives the answer to the British Ben Whishaw and the German Franz Rogowski who camp a gay couple in search of extramarital adventures in Crossings by Ira Sachs. One finds a lover, the other a mistress.


SEE ALSOJames Cameron at Le Figaro: “On Avatar 2, I am both nervous and proud”

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