Left: Michelle Monaghan (“Sidney Hall”) at the Sundance Film Festival, 2017
Right: Elizabeth Olsen (“Wind River”) at the Sundance Film Festival, 2017 | photo credit: IMDb
The first film festival of the year is also one of the most important independent ones. But besides its spirit of inquiry and free-thinking, do you know what else I love about Sundance? Its casual dress code. Actors and filmmakers don’t have to glam up for the winterscape of the Utah mountains. Now, for the movie lover that I am, and one who has come to appreciate the importance of good winter clothes from a lifetime in the European Northern hemisphere, no less, that is pretty inspiring. It’s real and authentic and the people attending seem to have one thing on their mind only: watching and rewarding good indie films.
But, of course, winter style has its highs and lows, and we only like the best. And that comes in the form of the most elegant casual uniform: black sweater/t-shirt, blue jeans and a pair of nice-looking proper winter boots. A complete look will undoubtedly involve good layering, topped off with a nice, warm coat. The result? The essential style moves not only for a winter in the mountains, but for anywhere else as well.
Naomi Watts at the Sundance Film Festival, 2018
Michelle Monaghan at the Sundance Film Festival, 2017
As long as we are on the Sundance subject and because here on Classiq I like to talk about a little more than style, a few words about the films that have premiered these last years at the festival are in order. One of the best films of 2018, Leave No Trace, premiered at Sundance last year. Debra Granik’s film is a subtle, moving wilderness story of a man (Ben Foster) who takes his 13-year-old daughter, Tom (Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie), to live with him off the grid in a nature reserve near Portland, Oregon, rarely making contact with the world. And the previous year it was Wind River, starring Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen, one of the most underrated films of the last years. With a neo-noir touch and superb cinematography (the film was shot on the backdrop of the hostile wintery beauty of Wyoming), Taylor Sheridan’s well-crafted crime drama tackles a story that many American films are afraid to: the fraying community of and the pain endured by the Native American people, so often ignored as an act of historical penance.
So which movies from this year’s line-up have gotten my attention? One of them would be Velvet Buzzsaw, directed by Dan Gilroy, and which reunites the director with Jake Gyllenhaal after their spectacular Nightcrawler (Rene Russo was again co-opted for this one, too). The Mustang, directed by Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre, starring Matthias Schoenaerts and executive produced by Robert Redford, is another one.
However, as 45 of the 112 features screening in Park City this year were made by worldwide first-time directors, this edition of the festival is announcing to be very diverse. This couldn’t please me more, as we need a much wider audience for different perspectives and voices in film, and I can not wait to hear more about them, and hopefully watch some of them, too.
Robert Redford, President and Founder of Sundance Institute, said in an official statement: “Society relies on storytellers. The choices they make, and the risks they take, define our collective experience. This year’s Festival is full of storytellers who offer challenges, questions and entertainment. In telling their stories, they make difficult decisions in the pursuit of truth and art; culture reaps the reward.” The festival will take place between January 24th and February 3rd.