Sundance Film Festival's 13 must-see movies

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EMANUEL AND THE TRUTH ABOUT FISHES

Sometimes when real life is too hard to accept, the best we can do is try to escape it

Kaya Scodelario plays a young woman who becomes bizarrely obsessed with a neighbor (Jessica Biel) who reminds her of her late mother, in this film from writer-director Francesca Gregorini (2009’s Tanner Hall). It may not be healthy, but it still could be necessary.

“We humans have gotten very creative in our powers of denial. It’s one of our most finely tuned instruments,” Gregorini says with a laugh. “When it comes to coping, we all find our crutches. I think it touches on our frailty.”

Is Emanuel projecting her longing and grief onto a total stranger, or is there something more otherworldly at work? Is it an innocent preoccupation or a sign of deeper disturbance in the mourning girl? Or is she simply losing her mind?

“I would say there is a Polanski-ness to it,” Gregorini jokes. “There’s an underbelly about it. It’s rooted in real human stories and connections, but it definitely spreads its wings into a little surrealism and magical realism.”

Like a lot of movies at the festival, it’s not one that is easily summarized. “In terms of genre, it’s kind of doing its own thing,” Gregorini says. “It has a little bit of everything — including some absurdity and humor, just for good measure.”

NEXT MOVIE: Naomi Watts and Robin Wright in ‘Two Mothers’


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