Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sundance Day 1: Umm, yeah ...

[Film Fest] So today marks the "official" beginning of the 2008 Sundance Film Festival -- to the extent that "official" means "there's a press conference attended by Robert Redford" and "there's one movie showing." That movie, In Bruges, is scheduled to open in Salt Lake City on Feb. 22. Forgive me if I take an extra evening with my family in lieu of a three-week head start.

For those getting ready to dive right in tomorrow, there's not much information available. In years past, City Weekly has published capsule reviews of several films available for preview, either from print screenings or DVD screeners. Publicists have subsequently decided that they are not so keen on early information over which they have no control, and have hidden most of the movies from view in someplace tightly sealed, like perhaps their sphincters. Those few that were made available came with the caveat that any "embargo-breaking" (review prior to the first official festival screening) would be dealt with most harshly. I am therefore forbidden from mentioning that the first 20 minutes of a movie the title of which may or may not be an anagram for Witch on Corn, is the kind of insufferable drivel that makes low-budget independent film look bad.

It can be useful, however, for people with delicate constitutions to know which Sundance films suit their sensibilities. After all, indie films are known for their "daring," and an unsuspecting viewer would not want to be confronted with a fusilade of F-bombs, or perhaps even Sir Ben Kingsley sucking an Olsen twin's face. As a public service, then, the festival provides a list of what it calls "High School Screening Program Films": those that have been deemed free and clear of most inappropriate content. For 2008, they include an adaptation of Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun, the Utah-shot entry Adventures of Power, and the documentaries Fields of Fuel, The Linguists, The Order of Myths, Traces of the Trade, I.O.U.S.A. and Stranded. Leave your outrage stowed safely in the overhead compartment. (Scott Renshaw)

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