On three U.S. Dramatic Competition films of Sundance 2020, including two of the year's best.
Took the train down from Wilmette (well, Glenview) yesterday afternoon and, although was publishing new reviews on RogerEbert.com on opening night, I was able to watch the post-film discussions from my room at the Illini Union via Ustream. You can, too. And they've been archived here, as well.
A few notes, tweets, observations from Day 1 & 2:
Charlie Kaufman, the writer and director of "Synecdoche, New York" (2008), my choice for the best film of the decade, will appear after the screening of his masterpiece at Ebertfest 2010. The 12th annual festival will be held April 21-25 at the landmark 1,600-seat Virginia Theater in Champaign-Urbana, and for the first time ever, all festival Q&A sessions and panel discussions will be streamed live on the Internet.
Look at it this way. We have the chance to see virtually every American film that's released, and many of the English language films in general. But with the crisis in U.S. distribution, the only foreign-language films are those someone paid hard cash for, and risked opening here. "You always like those foreign films," I'm told, often by someone making it sound like a failing. Not always, but often. They tend to involve characters of intelligence and complexity. If
This is the best of times and the worst of times for the kinds of films we here in this blog find ourselves seeking. I'm talking about good independent films--which usually means films financed, released and marketed outside the big distribution channels. That's a vague category which might also include foreign films, documentaries and classic revivals. These are the films where the future of film as an art form resides.
I have nothing to say against mainstream movies, the kinds that open on thousands of screens and are the only movies most people ever hear about. I like a lot of them--too many some of my readers say. They fend nicely for themselves. Sometimes they can be genuine art. Good for them.
I speak instead of films that make their own way in the world, inhabiting those few theaters that are booked with taste and independence. Or films available only on DVD. Or films finding their largest audiences at festivals. Or playing in video in demand. Or rediscovered after some years. Or lost.