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Sundance Film Festival 2023: Standout Movies


The documentary sections at Sundance are sometimes where you discover a number of the festival’s consistently strongest work, and this 12 months was no exception. There’s a natural double bill available with “Judy Blume Without end” and “Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project,” each of which offer insightful, entertaining profession overviews of splendidly scrappy writers. Each “Judy Blume” (directed by Davina Pardo and Leah Wolchok) and “Nikki Giovanni” (Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson) track their subjects across their respective event-filled lives as a children’s book creator and as a poet, pausing on their profession triumphs, revisiting personal milestones and surveying political battles with original interviews, great archival material and a few animated flourishes.

Each of those documentaries, like many of the nonfiction work I saw at this 12 months’s Sundance, were more intellectually engaging than formally revelatory, even with their visual flights of fancy. One in all the great things about documentaries, though, is that a movie can grab hold of you just through the facility of its subject. That’s true of “Bad Press,” an absorbing, eye-opening have a look at the fight for a free and open press within the Muscogee (Creek) Nation directed by Rebecca Landsberry-Baker and Joe Peeler. That’s also the case with “Victim/Suspect,” Nancy Schwartzman’s blood-boiler a few reporter investigating cases through which women who, after reporting their sexual assault to the police, are accused of lying, then arrested and prosecuted.

Despite its popularity and usually positive press, Sundance has often been the goal of a certain quantity of mockery, each good-natured and meanspirited. Its earlier years are still, fondly and never, branded as its granola period, a characterization that speaks to the sorts of modest, regionally minded movies that the festival often presented. To a level, a number of the gibes also reflected some observers’ feelings about Redford, whose earnestness has long made him a really big and clearly irresistible goal (when he’s not dazzling everyone along with his stardom). The mockery continued whilst Sundance’s imprint on the industry greatly expanded — partly since it expanded. Steven Soderbergh broke there, and so did Dee Rees.

This 12 months, I didn’t hear any jokes about Redford or the experiment in community and storytelling that he created so a few years ago. More instructively, I didn’t even hear many complaints in regards to the lineup, which was solid if not exceptional, and chock-full of wonderful, good and excellent movies, most of which can land at your local theater or, more likely, on certainly one of your streaming platforms. After several years of being away from the festival and a lot bad and bleak news in regards to the industry, and despite the same old logistic complaints in regards to the festival, I believe that a variety of us were simply grateful to be back in Park City, watching movies, discovering talent, finding latest ideas and visiting other worlds. I do know that I used to be.

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