Sundance Coverage: Day Five
Ahhh…Day Five…halfway through about a million films! And loving every minute of it!
We got snow again…it was real fun coming down the mountain in it…and no, there was no ditch for me! But it sure was gorgeous to look at. And I got a little retail therapy in also…so life is pretty good. And of course, I got to see two wonderful films, so let’s dive right in!
This film has taken my vote as best film of the festival. Beautifully filmed in Missouri, it is an intriguing story of the back country of the Ozark Mountains and the clannish people that live there. They have a strict code of behavior and a structure of ownership of the town that borders on feudal times. The story revolves around a young girl (played with intense clarity by newcomer Jennifer Lawrence) who has been thrust into a role of responsibility due to the disappearance of her father, and the mental sickness of her mother, as well as becoming the primary caregiver for her younger two siblings. The men are rough, the women are brutal…but all she wants to do is protect her family. Director Debra Graniks adaptation from the book is stark, yet heartbreaking. The visual intensity grabs at your soul and the tale is impressive.
While I usually love James Franco, I was a bit disappointed in this movie. It is the narrative of famous homosexual poet Allen Ginsberg and his history with this particularly named poem. It also tells the story of his struggle with the legal system over the contents of his book of poetry and the content, which was considered lewd and non artistic. While I appreciate the different media used to tell the story, I think they would have done better using either the animation as Ginsberg reads the poem or just let the movie play out like a bio-pic. Starring Jon Hamm as the lawyer who champions the case and David Strathairn as the opposing lawyer, the film is also interwoven with flashbacks and narrative overlay of Ginsberg’s life in the late 50’s. It was interesting to see the actual footage of Allen doing a poetry reading, but the rest of the film was a bit dry.
Lots of good stuff tomorrow so stay tuned!