There’s nothing quite like walking along Main Street, Park City on the first morning of Sundance. The crisp sunshine, the excited chatter, the boundless promise of cinematic adventures, the fact the snow hasn’t seeped into your boots yet…
With the 2018 festival now upon us, here are five selections from the ever-fresh programme that the fine folks at Sundance have put together. Get ready to see these titles at a multiplex/arts cinema/streaming service near you soon…
5. The Miseducation of Cameron Post – dir. Desiree Akhavan
This is listed at #5 but really it’s #1, I just couldn’t wait to type it. Akhavan’s Appropriate Behaviour in 2015 shimmered with wit and originality, a personal story that millions connected with. Back with her AB co-writer/producer Cecilia Frugiuele and featuring a tantalising cast including Chloë Grace Moretz, Sasha Lane, John Gallagher Jr. and Jennifer Ehle, this adaptation of Emily Danforth’s novel about a teen sent to a gay conversion centre will surely be a must-see for 2018.
4. Sorry to Bother You – dir. Boots Riley
LaKeith Stanfield first appeared on my radar in an understated, stunning supporting role in Short Term 12, where he displayed the pain and fear of a foster child approaching adulthood with simple, furtive glances. He found a bigger audience as an essential part of Get Out last year (his understanding of the tone of that film is a big reason why it did SO much better than projected), and it’s about time he took a lead role. With Tessa Thompson, Armie Hammer, Terry Crews and David Cross also in attendance, it’ll be no bother to check out the feature debut from Oakland rapper Boots Riley.
3. An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn – dir. Jim Hosking
Two years ago on this blog I included a film called The Greasy Strangler in my list of exciting titles at Sundance 2016, writing that such garish grotesqueness could compel or repel viewers. After that film delighted audiences up and down the UK in the following year with it’s ludicrous, disgusting, Python-esque humour, I have no doubts about the potential of Hosking’s next film. Sky Elobar is back, and this time is joined by comedy stalwarts Aubrey Plaza and Jermaine Clement. There’s no word yet on whether sick bags will be needed or not.
2. Damsel – dir. David Zellner, Nathan Zellner
The Coens, the Lachowskis…isn’t it about time we had another sibling directorial partnership breaking new ground in movies? Well we do. The Zellner Brothers 2014 sleeper hit Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter played cleverly with truth and fiction, enticing us into a real-life story then deftly getting us to question how much we will believe. They’re back with a tale that sounds Coen-esque, as wealthy-pioneer-with-a-wonderful-name Samuel Alabaster heads across the American Frontier to marry his beloved Penelope. Both Zellner brothers will be in front of as well as behind the camera this time, with starring roles going to the promising pairing of Robert Pattinson and Mia Wasikowska.
1. Piercing – dir. Nicholas Pesce
You can’t do a Sundance preview without something from their outstanding Midnight section, which is known for it’s low-fi, schlocky horror but has also presented such smash-hits as The Babadook and Get Out in recent years. The cream of this year’s infested crop looks to be Piercing, an adaptation of a Ryu Murakami novel about a man seeking help to purge the problems of his past. Mia Wasikowska is here (again – does that lady ever stop?) alongside Sundance stalwart Christopher Abbott and Victoria star Laia Costa. Make sure your nerves are in strong supply before settling down for this one.
So there are five to tease your film taste buds – but there is SO much more to look forward to on the programme. Search through, pick out your favourites and get in touch with the pics you’ve picked out!