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If Part One of this article was intriguing to you, read on! Here are more must-see, do-not-miss films coming direct from Sundance to theatre near YOU!

WORLD CINEMA COMPETITION: DRAMATIC

BLAME IT ON FIDEL is about Anna, a Parisian girl forced to assimilate when her parents devote themselves full-time to radical activism. It is 1970-71 and her father is fighting to redistribute wealth in Chile, while her mother researches a book on women’s abortion ordeals. Meanwhile, Anna dizzily sorts through the array of contradictory ideologies thrown at her – from communism to Greek mythology. The film shows her transition from a close-minded princess to an open-hearted truth seeker. Starring Julie Depardieu, Stefano Accorsi, Nina Kervel, Benjamin Feuillet, and Martine Chevallier. Directed by Julie Gavras.

DRIVING WITH MY WIFE’S LOVER, the feature debut from Korean director Kim Tai-sik, begins with mild-mannered stamp maker Tae-han discovering his wife’s infidelity, and subsequently tracking down her lover, a taxicab driver named Joong-sik. Planning revenge, he travels to Seoul, where he successfully finds his target and hires him for a long-distance cab ride back to his hometown. As they drive, an unlikely bond develops between the two men, and Tae-han reassesses his devious plans. Starring Park Kwang-jung, Jung Bo-suk, and Cho Eun-ji.

In EAGLE VS. SHARK, Lily is one of those shy, awkward girls who is quite lovely under a mop of stringy hair, but most people don’t notice. She cashiers at a fast-food joint, but pines for Jarrod (the Eagle), the geek from the computer store across the way. When she crashes his animal/video game extravaganza in a shark suit, she impresses him enough to score a date. Soon, Lily and her brother are driving Jarrod back to his hometown to fight a childhood bully. As he prepares to revenge his past, Lily’s quiet power gathers force as well. Starring Loren Horsley, Jemaine Clement, Craig Hall, Rachel House, Brian Sergent and Joel Tobeck. Directed by Taika Waititi.

PREMIERES

Based on a true story from 1965, AN AMERICAN CRIME recounts one of the most shocking crimes ever committed against a single victim. The daughters of traveling carnival workers are left for an extended stay at the suburban Indiana home of single mother Gertrude Baniszewski and her seven children. Times are tough, and Gertrude’s needs force her to accept this arrangement before understanding how the additional burden will push her fragile nature to the breaking point. What unfolds is horrific, leaving one child dead and the rest scarred for life. Starring Catherine Keener, Ellen Page, James Franco, and Bradley Whitford. Directed by Tommy O’Haver.

Two unlikely souls meet at the sticky crossroads between rage and love in BLACK SNAKE MOAN. Lying on the side of the road is Rae, known for her nymphomania. Her rescuer is Lazarus, an ex-blues guitarist who goes to extremes to “cure” Rae of her ways. But to get to the deep, dark bottom of Rae’s problems, Lazarus has to face the demons in both their hearts. Starring Samuel L. Jackson, Christina Ricci, Justin Timberlake, S. Epatha Merkerson, and John Cothran. Directed by Craig Brewer.

CHAPTER 27 is an entry into the mind of Mark David Chapman, John Lennon’s dark assassinator the weekend before the December 8, 1980, shooting. For three days, Chapmen spends his time outside Lennon’s house seeking an autograph. As he hovers in the cold, he ingests The Catcher in the Rye, whipping himself into an incarnation of Holden Caulfield. At the height of his derangement this merging becomes so complete that he yearns to disappear into Salinger’s pages. The film jumps into his disturbing behavior, blending the book and his recollections into a psychological frenzy. Starring Jared Leto, Linsdsay Lohan, Judah Friedlander, Ursula Abbott, Jeane Fourier, and Brian O’Neill. Directed by Jarrett Schaefer.

In CLUBLAND, life is tough for 21-year-old virgin Tim. The girl of his dreams has just walked in, but there are a few problems. Tim’s mother, a bawdy comedienne, is in a down slope of a career, and his father, a one-hit-wonder working as a security guard, still has dreams of “making it”…again. So when Tim falls for Jill, his mother fears that this will break up the family, leaving Tim torn between two passionate and powerful women intent on winning his affections. Starring Brenda Blethyn, Khan Chittenden, Emma Booth, Richard Wilson, Frankie J. Holden, Rebecca Gibney, and Philip Quast. Directed by Cherie Nowlan.

THE NINES is comprised of three different stories intermingled into one film. In “The Prisoner,” a troubled television star finds himself under house arrest with his chipper publicist and disillusioned neighbor providing his only link to the outside world. “Reality Television” is a Project Greenlight-style show tracing the behind-the-scenes tribulations of a half-hour sitcom. And in “Knowing,” an acclaimed video-game designer and his family have car trouble, stranding them deep in the woods. Each story answers questions about the notions of both life and art. Starring Ryan Reynolds, Hope Davis, Melissa McCarthy, Elle Fanning, David Denman, Octavia Spencer, and Dahlia Salem. Directed by John August.

YEAR OF THE DOG tells of Peggy, a happy-go-lucky secretary who is a great friend, employee, and sister and lives alone with her beagle, Pencil. Peggy and Pencil have a blissful relationship full of love, appreciation, and companionship. One night, however, Pencil wakes up to go potty and accidentally sets off a chain of events that change the course of Peggy’s life. Starring Molly Shannon, Laura Dern, Regina King, Tom McCarthy, Josh Pais, John C. Reilly, and Peter Sarsgaard. Directed by Mike White.

SPECTRUM

In DARK MATTER, Liu Xing, a brilliant Chinese college student, arrives and makes a bumpy transition into American life with the help of Joanna Silver, a wealthy university patron who takes a liking to the student. However, as Xing joins a cosmology group under his hero, the famous cosmologist Jacob Reiser, he becomes obsessed with the study of dark matter, an unseen substance that he believes shapes the universe. When Xing begins to make scientific breakthroughs of his own, he begins to discover obstacles as well. Starring Liu Ye, Aidan Quinn, Meryl Streep, Blair Brown, and Bill Irwin. Directed by Chen Shi-Zheng.

DELIRIOUS is about Toby, a homeless kid who jumps into the life of Les, a hapless paparazzo, and offers to serve as his unpaid assistant. Les accepts the arrangement and shows Toby the ups and downs of party crashing, goody bags, and chasing tips. Meanwhile, Toby falls for K’harma, a beautiful pop princess, and is suddenly swept into a boy’s version of Cinderella. Of course, Les plans to make a quick buck off the romance, and the two men must face the meaning of friendship and the price of betrayal. Starring Steve Buscemi, Michael Pitt, Alison Lohman, and Gina Gershon. Directed by Tom DiCillo.

The movie is THE DEVIL CAME ON HORSEBACK. The subject is Darfur. As Marine Captain Brian Steidle journeys for 18 months through the conflict that has claimed 400,000 lives and displaced 2.5 million people. In the transformer from soldier to activist, we see a man confronting the urgency of a humanitarian catastrophe that he sees unfolding firsthand. Directed by Andy Sundberg and Ricki Stern.

Directed by Steve Buscemi, INTERVIEW is a passionate verbal duel between two opposing characters. Respected journalist Pierre Peters has made a name for himself as a war correspondent. But to his dismay, he has been assigned to interview the country’s hottest young actress, Katja, the star of terrible, but extremely successful movies. There isn’t a man who wouldn’t like to spend time with her…except for Pierre. As the night progresses, they get more than they bargained for, as the interview turns into a battle of wits, desires, and deep, dark secrets. Starring Steve Buscemi and Sienna Miller.

SAVE ME is a film about redemption. Mark, a lost, young gay man, leads a wild life full of drugs and meaningless sex, searching for something to fill his empty soul. Hitting bottom, his brother checks him into Genesis House, a 12-step, Christian, “anti-gay” ministry. At the house, owner Gayle is determined to save gay men from their “demons.” However, as a friendship between Mark and his mentor, Scott, develops, Gayle fights back, forcing the two men to confront their truth…and each other. Starring Chad Allen, Robert Gant, Judith Light, and Stephen Lang. Directed by Robert Cary.

WAITRESS features Jenna, a poor southern woman stuck in a bad marriage to her jealous husband, Earl. She works at Joe’s Pie Diner, where every day she creates amazing pies named after whatever is going on in her life. One day, she makes an “I Don’t Want Earl’s Baby” pie after discovering her pregnancy. As she dreams of running away, she meets Dr. Pomatter, the handsome new gynecologist. And when a friend encourages her to write a letter to her unborn child, an unexpected love story changes Jenna’s life. Starring Keri Russell, Nathan Fillion, Cheryl Hines, Jeremy Sisto, and Andy Griffith. Directed by Adrienne Shelly.

PARK CITY AT MIDNIGHT

It is fine! EVERYTHING IS FINE. opens with a nursing home patient lying helplessly on the floor. While being carried back to his bed, his world shifts to a place where his charm is recognized and the ladies swoon, enabling some torrid sexual conquests. But years of frustration at being an outcast have planted a dark and evil seed. Soon his actions take a morbid turn. Starring Margit Carstensen, Steven C. Stewart, Carrie Szlasa, Lauren German, and Bruce Glover. Directed by Crispin Hellion Glover and David Brothers.

SMILEY FACE is a story about Jane, a pothead. The type who, already stoned at 9:17 a.m., might eat a tray of cupcakes her roommate told her to stay away from. However, those cupcakes have an extra ingredient: weed. Now Jane, more stoned than before, goes on a wild goose chase to accomplish two tasks – find more weed and make more cupcakes. Finally, she finds herself on a Ferris wheel, in possession of an extremely valuable historical document and talking to an imaginary voice about corn chips and orange juice. Starring Anna Faris, John Krasinski, Adam Brody, Danny Masterson, Jane Lynch, Michael Hitchcock, and John Cho. Directed by Gregg Araki.

THE TEN is comprised of 10 blasphemous and hysterical stories that put the insanity back in Christianity. Inspired by each of the Ten Commandments, each story is told in a different style, but the characters and themes overlap. It’s all held together by a narrator who has his own moral problems. Finally, everyone is united at the end for a rousing finale that answers the question, “What’s this all about?” Starring Paul Rudd, Adam Brody, Rob Corddry, Jessica Alba, Winona Ryder, Liev Schreiber, Justin Theroux, Gretchen Mol, and Oliver Platt. Directed by David Wain.

FROM THE COLLECTION

RIVER’S EDGE first screened at the Sundance Film Festival in 1987. A disturbing film, the main character, John (Daniel Roebuck) strangles his girlfriend, Jamie, by the river, and then shows his friends the body and only one person, Matt (Keanu Reeves), thinks to turn him in. Additionally, Jamie’s friends are so lost and confused they don’t feel any type of loss or pain over her death. Also starring Crispin Glover, Ione Skye Leitch, Joshua Miller, Dennis Hopper. Directed by Tim Hunter.

SPECIAL SCREENINGS

In the six-hour movie, FLYING: CONFESSIONS OF A FREE WOMAN, filmmaker Jennifer Fox uses her own life to demonstrate what it means to be a free woman in today’s society. The protagonist travels the globe to understand how diverse women define their lives when there’s no map. Over intimate conversations around kitchen tables from South Africa to Sweden, India, and Iran, Fox initiates a groundbreaking dialogue among women, illuminating universal concerns across race, class, and nationality.

THE LAST MIMZY is an intelligent and imaginative odyssey. Based on an acclaimed sci-fi story, this movie tells the story of two children who discover a mysterious box that contains “toys” that turn out to be devices with such fantastic power that they can alter the course of civilization. Starring Joely Richardson, Timothy Hutton, Michael Clarke Duncan, Rainn Wilson, Kathryn Hahn, Chris O’Neil, Rhiannon Leigh Wryn.

NEW FRONTIER: Last but not least comes the newest addition to Sundance, the New Frontier. This program celebrates the convergence of film and art as an emerging hotbed for new ideas and experimentation. Sundance also built a new building just for New Frontier, unveiling it at this year’s festival.

Offscreen

From Christoffer Boe comes OFFSCREEN, a psychological drama about actor Nicolas Bro asking his friend and director Boe for help with a documentary about his strained relationship with his girlfriend, Lene. Boe lends Nicolas a digital camera, along with the advice to film everything he can. Nicolas takes the advice literally, intrusively exacerbating his domestic troubles with the camera until Lene walks out. Friends and acquaintances do the same, until Bro just disintegrates. Also starring Trine Dyrholm and Jakob Cedergren.

PHANTOM LOVE is about Lulu (Mirna Shoif), who spends her life working in a casino in Los Angeles’ Koreatown. Her much younger lover, with whom she feels no emotional connection, and her sister Nitzan, who is on meds and in the middle of a breakdown, share the rest of her time. Lulu’s mother offers help but only complicates things. Also starring Juliette Marquis. Directed by Nina Menkes.

In PIERRE HUYGHE ARTIST SPOTLIGHT internationally renowned artist Huyghe’s artwork explores how media representations arbitrate our experience of ourselves. His films draw on a variety of media sources, from Hollywood films to literature to new events. This program presents an anthology of Huyghe’s film work from 1997 to 2006 and reveals an interesting, thought-provoking cinematic progression. Directed by Huyghe.

www.Dishmag.com / Issue 71 - September 9605
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