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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.

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Sunshine Superman

I found Jean Boenish’s philosophical musings less than persuasive. And I don’t think my fear of heights was the reason for my bias.

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

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Buzz proves to be honest guide

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.

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Redford reflects on indie films, political climate

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."

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Sundance holds great promise

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.

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