Sundance 2017: Highlights from this Year's Film Festival

Sundance 2017: Highlights from this Year's Film Festival

Entertainment Editor Greg Krelenstein offers his key takeaways from the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

Entertainment Editor Greg Krelenstein offers his key takeaways from the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

Text: Greg Krelenstein

Sundance 2017 was clouded by a country in protest and alternative facts, a snowfall that wouldn’t let up, and surging Uber prices that made it nearly impossible to get around, but it was reassuring to find that in the festival bubble, the resilient capacity of the arts to reflect upon and examine reality remains a beating pulse that will not fade. Here are 5 takeaways from this year’s celebration of independent film.

Mudbound

1. Two films in particular stood out during the festival as the most well received by critics. The first was Dee Rees’s Mudbound, a WWII era drama about race relations starring Carey Mulligan and Mary J. Blige. The second was Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name, a coming of age love story between a 17-year-old boy and a visiting 24-year-old male student set over a summer in Northern Italy. Both films already have Awards buzz for 2018, with Guadagnino’s film being compared to recent queer triumphs Carol and Moonlight, set for release later this year with Sony Pictures Classics. Timothee Chalamet star of the Guadagnino film is going to be a big star. Previously featured in smaller roles in big projects including Homeland and Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, expect the same lift that Lucas Hedges received from last year’s Manchester By The Sea.

Call Me By Your Name

2. Comedian Bridget Everett must really like to sing Heart at karaoke—the Wilson sisters were her band of choice in both Fun Mom Dinner and Patti Cake$. Best known for her role on Inside Amy Schumer and her cameo on last season’s Girls, I can’t wait to catch her at one of her regular cabaret acts at Joe’s Pub! The New York Times likened Danielle MacDonald's performance as "Killa P" in Patti Cake$ to Jennifer Lawrence in Winter’s Bone, and the film was one of the bigger sellers sold to Fox Searchlight for 10.5 million.

Fun Mom Dinner

3. Drake Doremus’s Newness takes a page from Gaspard Noe’s LOVE, capturing the thrills of relationships in the digital age where your second date of the evening is just a click away. Nic Hoult has never been better, and award-winning Spanish actress Laia Costa is sure to cross over with this gut wrenching performance.

Newness

4. While there may have been no apparent reason to set Landline in the '90s, Gillian Robespierre’s follow up to Obvious Child (also starring Jenny Slate,) I was grateful for the nods to the downtown Party Girl club culture in a pre-Kardashian era and a soundtrack that included alt gems from Natalie Merchant and the Breeders. Bonus points to the production designer that put the Rolling Stone covers of Hole and Winona on the wall of the teenage daughter and Elliot Smith's Either/Or record at Other Music.

Landline

5. Starring in both Alex Ross Perry’s Golden Exits and Miguel Arteta’s Beatriz At Dinner, Chloe Sevigny's performances as privileged white women with the best hair Hollywood can offer were pure Chloe and a gift to cinema. The actress also has a big year with this Fall’s The Snowman, a Universal film with Michael Fassbender.

Golden Exits
Credits: All photos courtesy of Sundance.org.

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