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Sundance


 

The 2021 Sundance Film Festival runs from Jan. 28 - Feb.3, in Park City, Utah

Sundance and other Park City Festivals news, past and future.   #sundance @sundancefest


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Sundance's Chilly Winner

 

Maybe it is the altitude or its location high in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, but Sundance Film Festival jurors seem to gravitate towards films that can be both chilly (and chilling) in tone and execution. Two years ago, it was FROZEN RIVER, a film about border smuggling in the frozen tundra of upstate New York that put one in the mood for an overcoat and a teeming cup of Ovaltine. Last year’s winner PRECIOUS, which just secured an impressive five Oscar nominations this morning, was less environmentally chilly but ultimately chilling in its depiction of urban poverty and child abuse.

 

This year’s frosty pick for top honors in the American Independents Drama Competition is WINTER’S BONE, a barebones indie written and directed by Debra Granik. Set deep in the Ozark Mountains of the American South (an area known for its unrelenting poverty), the film depicts the local culture of clans who live by a code of conduct that no one dares defy. When Ree Dolly's crystal-meth-making father skips bail and goes missing, her family home is on the line. Unless she finds him, she and her young siblings and disabled mother face destitution and homelessness.

 

In a heroic quest, Ree crosses the county to confront her kin, break their silent collusion, and bring her father home. With thrilling tension, WINTER’S BONE reinforces the idea that blood connection is the most potent, while also chronicling the dramatic rite of passage of a young woman from adolescence to adulthood. As our heroine braves immoveable obstacles, she redefines the notion of family loyalty and, in the process, discovers her own power.

 

The spare precision of Debra Granik’s direction, the lived-in feeling of the film’s script by Granik and Anne Rosellini and the stunningly genuine performances by the acting ensemble of  Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Dale Dickey, Garret Dillahunt, Sheryl Lee and Tate Taylor give the film an almost documentary-like authenticity. The real question is whether the film, which is still without a distributor attached, will find a company ready to champion its low-key charm and bring it to a wider audience.

 Sandy Mandelberger, Festival Dailies Editor

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About Sundance

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Ambiance from Park City Sundance film Festival January 19-29, 2012.

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