While we may not be too keen on trading this scorching Australian summer for the wintry cold of Utah, the World Movies team would love to be at the Sundance Film Festival right now. Opening today, the festival is the most important film event in the US and is a leading showcase for new films and emerging directors.
This annual celebration of independent cinema has been the launching pad for worldwide hits such as sex, lies and videotape, The Blair Witch Project, Garden State, Little Miss Sunshine and many more. To cure our Sundance daydreaming, we’ve compiled the films that would be at the top of our list if we were in Park City this week.
Before Midnight – Richard Linklater (US)
Almost two decades after Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke) met on a train bound for Vienna, Richard Linklater’s iconic couple are reunited again – this time in Greece. The film was shot entirely in secret last September, and the director has hinted that this will be the conclusion to the will-they-won’t-they couple’s cinematic trilogy.
Breathe In – Drake Doremus (US)
Gifted young director Drake Doremus is not wasting time between features, churning out this latest film before his last film – the universally acclaimed long-distance relationship drama Like Crazy – even hit cinemas. Featuring that film’s star Felicity Jones alongside Amy Ryan and our very own Guy Pearce, this drama follows a happily married NYC music teacher who becomes increasingly fixated with a foreign exchange student.
In Fear – Jeremy Lovering (UK)
From genre-masters Big Talk Productions (responsible for Shaun of the Dead, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and another Sundance 2013 premiere Sightseers) comes this British horror tale. A couple become lost on their way to a music festival and begin to be tormented by a mysterious stranger – sounds pretty standard right? Well, director Jeremy Lovering didn’t show the stars the script, and they were never told what was going to happen next to their characters, which may add something fresh to this horror entry.
Lasting – Jacek Borcuch (Poland)
Poland’s entry into the World Dramatic category at this year’s festival, Lasting looks set to be a haunting look at young love torn apart by secrets and guilt. While on holidays in Spain, Michal and Karina meet and fall in love. However a violent altercation with another man while scuba diving leaves blood on the hands of Michal, and his blossoming love with Karina is poisoned by the secrets he must maintain to cover up his crime.
The Look of Love – Michael Winterbottom (UK)
After his last film, Trishna, was acclaimed around the world but saw little box office success, UK film powerhouse Michael Winterbottom returns with The Look of Love. Reunited with 24 Hour Party People star and pseudo-muse Steve Coogan for the fourth time, this is a biopic about 60’s ‚ÄúKing of Soho‚Äù Paul Raymond – a pornographer that became one of Britain’s richest men.
Magic Magic – Sebastian Silva (Chile/US)
As highlighted in our Most Anticipated Films of 2013 blog, we’re excited for the latest film from Chilean director Silva – who won the Jury Prize at Sundance 2009 for The Maid. Starring Australia’s Emily Browning and an uncharacteristically serious Michael Cera, Magic Magic follows a group of friends in Chile who are oblivious to the fact that one of their friends is slowly losing her mind.
The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman – Fredrik Bond (US)
This is on our list simply for being a smorgasbord of our favourite actors from all over the world. Melissa Leo, Til Schweiger, Mads Mikkelsen, Aubrey Plaza, Shia LaBeouf and Evan Rachel Wood star in this film from first time Swedish director Fredrik Bond, about a travelling man who begins to be consumed with his love for a Romanian woman.
Stoker – Park Chan-wook (US)
Described as a ‚Äúhorror, family drama and psychological thriller‚Äù, we were sold on the basis that it is Chan-wook’s first English language feature after the phenomenal success of Oldboy and the other South Korean films in his Vengeance Trilogy. Starring Mia Wasikowska and Nicole Kidman, Stoker is the story of a strange and creepy uncle who moves in with a teenage girl and her emotionally unstable mother after her father dies.
Top of the Lake – Jane Campion (New Zealand)
Unlikely to get a film distributor considering its 7-hour running time, this New Zealand miniseries is getting lots of buzz at Sundance regardless for heralding the return of director Jane Campion. The story is perfect Campion fare, with a police detective attempting to solve the disappearance of the pregnant 15-year-old daughter of a drug kingpin. Starring Holly Hunter and Mad Men‘s Elisabeth Moss.
What They Don’t Talk About When They Talk About Love – Mouly Surya (Indonesia)
Touching and unique, this Indonesian film explores the blossoming of adolescent love and angst in the setting of a school for deaf, blind and impaired teenagers in Jakarta. Director and writer Surya studied film in Melbourne, and has been acclaimed for the scenes of cinematic poetry she creates with this film.
Want to know what it’s like to take a film to Sundance? Check out our interviews with Australian directors who have experienced it first-hand.