The marketing campaign for this year’s Sundance Film Festival urges rebellion, renewal, and a return to the aesthetic roots of independent filmmaking, while festival volunteers wear jackets emblazoned with the establishment logo of corporate sponsor Kenneth Cole. In other words, it’s Sundance, Jake. And this year I’ve been wearing the (non-logo) badge that identifies me as a member of the three-person jury judging 14 entries in the World Dramatic category of the competition. The awards ceremony is tonight; I’ll report on some of the outstanding selections I’ve seen next week, after I’ve removed my ID badge.
So much for my silence on this site, while Owen has been commenting eloquently on what he and I agree has been a particularly rewarding Sundance. But nothing stops me from sharing my enthusiasm for two of the films I’ve liked best outside of my jurisdiction.
I’ll start with my favorite U.S. drama with movie stars: The Kids Are All Right, directed by Lisa Cholodenko from a screenplay she cowrote with Stuart Blumberg, stars Annette Bening and Julianne Moore as a long-time married lesbian couple in California, mothers, via sperm donor, of an academically gifted 18-year-old daughter (Mia Wasikowska) and an athletic 15-year-old son (Josh Hutcherson) on a quest to find their biological father. The kids don’t have to look far: Open records lead sister and brother to Mark Ruffalo as a free-wheeling, peace-and-love-style bachelor restaurant entrepreneur whose charm enchants his chromosomal offspring — and challenges their mothers.
Rebellious filmmaking? Yes, insofar as Cholodenko’s warm, smart, audience-friendly, often very funny movie features two marvelous, famous actresses in full flower as lesbians — not to mention gay sex, straight sex, and READ FULL STORY »