Text: Nailya Golman
Major American Festival handed out awards last week independent cinema "Sundance", which invariably hosts a dozen or two premieres, which we then wait for the rest of the year. The costume Colette with Keira Knightley, Ethan Hawke's biopic about country musician Blaze and the film Burden about an American who was taken away by love from the Ku Klux Klan, will find you at the box office and will hardly surprise you with anything. The list below is a movie that is more likely to be caught at festivals, on the Web or in limited distribution.
The most talked about film of the festival, coinciding with the main scandal of recent months and the height of the #MeToo flash mob. "The Tale" is literally a first-person story read aloud by Laura Durn's character, the author's twin, a female director named Jennifer. The text, written at the age of thirteen, was discovered somewhere by her mother and, apparently, she was terribly worried, because now she leaves her daughter a million messages on her answering machine, asking her to explain what all this means. She explains that she was involved in violent sex at school by a riding instructor and a running coach, but all these years she was afraid to say.
Without Boris Yukhananov's last year's film in the world, perhaps the ideal title for The Tale in Russia would have been Edification. Because first of all, Jennifer (both real and on-screen) shares here with the younger generation exactly the wisdom for which the #MeToo tag was invented: life is difficult, full of pain, humiliation, shame and distrust, but everything is about her own traumas. you still need to talk. Left in secret, they will not evaporate anywhere - they will only cripple you even more. And even if the story is not believed, it will be worse when you eventually stop believing yourself.
While Fox, returning to his suppressed trauma, struggles to deal with the demons inside, and HBO buys the rights to the film for several million dollars, reviewers are predictably divided into two camps. Some admire the director's courage and frankness, while others accuse the film of manipulative and fetishizing childhood sexual trauma.
Producer: Sam Levinson
“Nothing brings people together better than the good old tragedy,” a voiceover sounds against the background of scattering smoke, from which the silhouette of a girl armed to the teeth with katanas on her back, a leather jacket on her shoulders and an American flag tied to her eyes emerges. Here you don't even need to strain yourself with accusations - unlike "The Tale", Levinson's film from the doorway openly declares his intention to talk without scraping. This is a poster satire with naked selfies, urban scandals and a teenage hormonal storm as a spice - and the topics it touches are discussed in more detail on the Russian-language Internet using the hashtag #thisnapon. True, most of the heroes come to the desire to kill pretty quickly.
"A merciless war against toxic masculinity" (as one of the actors defined the essence of what is happening in the film in an interview) begins with a simple nightmare: the popular beauty Lily has fun and does not deny herself anything, until one day her phone and computer are in the hands of an anonymous person. portions of a beginner to merge on 4chan her personal life. And since the personal life of Lily and her three girlfriends (played by their elite squad from Odessa Young, Sookie Waterhouse, Hari Nef and R'n'B-singer Abra) intersect under various delicate circumstances with a good half of the city, everyone starts to get nervous very quickly. … The more frank text messages and photos leaked to the Web, the thicker the smell of violence, hysteria and misogyny in the city.
The problem with such films is most often that in pursuit of manifestos they lose all subtlety and human face.It will be possible to find out whether Levinson managed to avoid this danger only by watching the movie with his own eyes at the box office, but one can say for sure that it will go to wide distribution: they write that they bought it at a higher price than the aforementioned "Story".
Producer: Ari Arister
“My mother was a secretive woman,” painter Annie Graham says nervously at the funeral, meaning something very, very disturbing. Which is not entirely clear, but it is clearly transmitted through the female line. After the death of her grandmother, the life of the family comes down to the growing rumble of confrontation between Annie, desperately making doll houses from wood, and her daughter, gradually acquiring all the hereditary signs of a devilish nature: a rebellious attitude, unblinking eyes, an uncontrollable tendency to domestic violence against small animals. While the psychiatrist husband and the outsider son stagger somewhere on the edge of the script, the remarkably nervous Toni Collette and fifteen-year-old Milli Shapiro are quietly tearing themselves apart, each other, and any hopes of a happy ending.
The new brainchild of the fashion studio A24, the full-length debut of director and screenwriter Ari Arister, is the scariest film of the festival and probably one of the main genre indie hits of the year. As befits a worthy horror, "Hereditary" slowly, persistently picks at the fundamental human fears with a knife and provides food for serious reflections on the nature of things, while regularly knocking out cold sweat from the audience at every plot twist. You rarely see a film about which every second critic writes that during the session he fidgeted, squealed and covered his face with his hands in fear.
Improper parenting Cameron Post
Producer: Desiree Akhavan
The main prize of the jury was given to the screen version of the scandalous novel by Emily M. Dunford about an orphan schoolgirl, performed by Chloe Grace Moretz, who was caught by the orphanage workers on a date with the main school beauty. The girl is sent to the Christian boarding school "God's Promise", which specializes in guiding boys and girls on the path of "true" heterosexual orientation through prayers to Jesus and slogans "pray away the gay."
There, not only the absurd world of fanatical control with prayers and crosses awaits her, but also comrades in misfortune: for example, a one-legged tear-off (Sasha Lane is a disheveled tumbleweed girl from "American Cutie"), who always has a solid bag of grass in her prosthesis … Judging by the reviews, no one expected the victory of "Wrong Education" at the festival, but the social agenda probably played a role.
Producer: Paul Dano
A screen adaptation of the novel of the same name by Richard Ford and again the directorial debut, this time by the actor Paul Dano. 1960s, Montana. A fourteen-year-old boy witnesses the successive destruction of his parents' marriage (Jake Gyllenhaal and Carey Mulligan). The script, written by Dano together with his girlfriend, actress and screenwriter Zoe Kazan, neatly rearranges the accents in the original, turning the dry text into a harsh but very human drama.
Reviewers unanimously argue that Dano turned out to be a strong director, who never for a minute forgot about empathy for his characters. Dad leaves to look for a new life and new meanings, mom falls in love with another man. The boy continues to grow up alone. All this adds up to a sad and neat portrait of emotional and spiritual transformation: life cannot be turned back, but as if it is possible, if anything, to start over at least once more.
Producer: Tamara Jenkins
Tamara Jenkins, New York's queen of family dramas, makes films every ten years and has been on the Sundance program with each of them since the 1991 short. Its first full length hit after the American festival in Cannes, the second - "Savages" with Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman - won critics and received two Oscar nominations, the third - again a family drama (like the previous two, largely autobiographical) - opened " Sundance”this year.
Private Life is a story about how she and her husband, being already an elderly couple, tried to have a child. Endless gynecological procedures, attempts to persuade a niece to provide eggs, quarrels with a sister who opposes the whole procedure. All this affects the relationship of the spouses not in the best way - and it gradually becomes clear that in addition to physical problems, they face other difficulties for which there are no doctors or ready-made medical prescriptions. An extremely naturalistic portrait of a disintegrating marriage set against the backdrop of East County landscapes starring Paul Giamatti and Catherine Hahn.
In the early 2010s, the American independent film boom in science fiction - a wave of low-budget, to varying degrees inventive films about time travel in the garden, in the garage or in the backyard, the authors of which safely disappeared into eternity, with rare exceptions like Brit Marling and Shane Carruth. Director "Mandy" Panos Kosmatos shot, perhaps, the most retired (and certainly the most aesthetic) film of that wave "On the other side of the black rainbow", after which he fell silent for seven years. Nicolas Cage, whose blood-smeared face flaunts on the poster, has not received roles from directors who are congenial to him in the degree of madness for a long time - and so, Kosmatos, who returned to work, seems to be one of those.
The plot is simple and stylish: in the courtyard of the 1980s, Cage runs with a chainsaw through the forest and takes revenge, exterminating either sectarians or mutants who killed his wife. If you believe the foreign festival reviews, "Mandy" should be like the classic YouTube movie essay "Nicolas Cage is losing his shit", only with a timing of two hours and a very beautiful cinematography. It is also gratifying that Kosmatos (judging by "Black Rainbow", a man with an exceptional musical taste) is perhaps the only director on the planet who realizes that in fact, Johann Johannsson's music should be used to voice the songs about the massacre in the forest, and not intellectual blockbusters about aliens.
I'm sorry to bother you
The program's craziest film, as well as the most memorable debut: Boots Riley, a Marxist rapper from The Coup (known not only for her political hip-hop, but also for the perky woman Pam the Funktress, who played records with her breast), filmed an anti-capitalist satire about the alternative Oakland, where violent corporations, racist stereotypes and large-scale orgies flourish.
Luckit Stanfield imitates a "white" voice for disguise, Tessa Thompson plays an activist artist who made earrings from her heart, Armie Hammer - a crazy cocaine man who breeds mutant horses. Reviewers, of course, remember last year's hit "Get Out" with the same Stanfield in one of the main roles, but the description sounds more like an African-American version of "Tales of the South." That is very good.
Another memorable debut, much calmer. Beau Burnham, the sarcastic, stooped young man who came up with the series "Zach Stone Gets Popular," and a unique stand-up guy - talks about eighth graders. Every Sundance needs its own Little Miss Happiness, a touchingly intelligent film that everyone is crazy about.
However, Burnham's work seems to be somewhat harsher than the average growing up song. Here we are talking not so much about conflicts with parents and the awakening of sexuality in thirteen-year-old girls, but about a crisis of self-confidence that comes at this age. The crisis caused by the fact that the school is a social nightmare, more like an impassive purgatory than a world of new opportunities. It's easy to get into a moralizing or ecstatic hysteria when starting a conversation like this, as in the case of 13 Reasons Why, but Burnham seems to have found the right tone - light, playful and unobtrusive.
Producer: Josephine Decker
The young dancer Madeleine, under the supervision of an authoritarian mentor, gradually loses touch with reality in a series of frenzied training, from which her mother, agitated by what is happening, cannot dissuade her.The latter is played by the phenomenal, as they say, Miranda Julay, the coach is Molly Parker, and the main character is the young Helena Howard, who has already received a generous portion of journalistic compliments. But the obsession plot is just the base upon which director Josephine Decker conducts his own formal experiments, undermining the boundaries of film language with truly Godar's tenacity.
David, a recently widowed father, wakes up one day and does not find his daughter at home. At school, no one saw her either, and the girl did not leave any evidence, except for a few missed night calls on FaceTime. Beginning with a thorough search in all the computers remaining in the house and enlisting the help of the police, David takes on the task of finding traces of her on the air. The action of the film unfolds on numerous screens and displays, and the story changes registers in the range from a detective thriller to a family drama about how close people experiencing common pain find it difficult to say all the most important to each other in person.
Timur Bekmambetov's second and, apparently, successful American production project (Anish Chaganti directed and co-wrote the script) in the genre he dubbed a desktop thriller, received the Audience Award in the NEXT section and emotional praise from the press. Of course, there is something for that - a couple of years ago, many were skeptical about the idea that one formal technique could make a somewhat independent film, not just two or even a whole genre.
Photos: Gamechanger Films, Bron Studios, PalmStar Media, Beachside Films, June Pictures, Likely Story, SpectreVision, Cinereach, A24, Bow and Arrow Entertainment, Bazelevs Entertainment