The Farewell Party
High drama and lowbrow, morbid humor get stitched together in this successful tragicomedy about terminal patients and assisted suicide. Works better than expected.
PARK CITY, Utah--Now the buzz has taken over, and I am seeing mostly good, sometimes great, films. You open the Sundance catalog on the first day of the festival and choose your films for the first weekend, and after that you go where the buzz sends you, because audiences are always honest.
PARK CITY, Utah--"Do you consider yourself a photographer?" asked Tom Bernard. He is the co-honcho of Sony Classics. I held up my camera and shrugged.
PARK CITY, Utah--The art of making a deal, Kevin Spacey explains, is not unlike the shell game.
PARK CITY, Utah--"I've worked hard to stay in shape," William H. Macy was saying, "but who would have guessed my first love scene would come when I was 50?"
PARK CITY, Utah--Is "Comandante" a bad film because it shows Fidel Castro, the old baseball star, effortlessly fielding Oliver Stone's softball questions? Or is it a good film for the very same reason?
PARK CITY, Utah-- "Somebody asked me today, do I like acting?" Al Pacino was saying. "That stopped me. I had never been asked that." What did you say?
Here are some of the highlights, and otherwise, of the first four days at Sundance:
PARK CITY, Utah--The question from the audience was pretty direct: "Did you draw on experiences in your own life in this performance?"
PARK CITY, Utah--Robert Redford remembers the early years of the Sundance Film Festival: "We had 30 or 40 films, in two theaters. I was standing in the street outside the Egyptian Theater, handing out brochures like a street hawker, trying to talk people into coming inside. I saw David Puttnam, who was running Columbia at that time, and gave him the pitch. He went in, saw Jim McBride's 'The Big Easy,' and bought it. That was the first film bought at Sundance."
PARK CITY, Utah--I have just spent an hour with the 2003 program for the Sundance Film Festival, and I am churning with eagerness to get at these films. On the basis of track records, this could be the strongest Sundance in some time--and remember, last year's festival kicked off an extraordinary year for indie films.