On this edition of the podcast, we report on the Sundance Film Festival that wrapped last weekend, from two different perspectives.
1:35 Sundance Film Festival '08
2:09 Sugar (Boden/Fleck)
6:29 The Visitor (McCarthy)
8:05 Momma's Man (Jacobs)
10:15 Ballast (Hammer)
12:21 Mumblecore, Baghead (Duplass/Duplass)
14:28 Documentaries, Man On Wire (Marsh)
18:38 Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired (Zenovich)
21:16 Awards, Frozen River (Hunt)
22:50 King of Ping Pong (Jonsson)
23:47 Documentary Award Winners
24:34 Good Dick (Palka)
25:36 Pretty Bird (Schneider)
27:23 People, Parties, Products
32:22 The New American Realism
34:45 Checking in with Brian Darr
36:45 Sundance Collection: Edward II (Jarman)
37:57 Derek (Julien)
40:43 Ballast, take 2 (Hammer)
42:04 Eat, For This is My Body (Quay)
48:57 Brian's Sundance Recap
Coming Up: (yes, still) A year-end speed round, with reviews of I'm Not There, The Savages, My Kid Could Paint That, and quick reviews of nearly a dozen other new films that are in theaters now or will be on DVD soon, plus our 2007 year-in-review, all properly aged like fine but stinky cheese.
Guys, I enjoyed listening to this. Great idea to structure it in the form of two conversations. And it was fun to hear Brian, whom I've never met although I feel like I 'know' him well through the history of our blog interactions. Brian, this felt almost like meeting you in person.
Girish, you're speedy. I think you must have listened to us in helium mode. I'm trying to imagine The Chipmunks talking about Eat, For This is My Body.
Like most of the podcasts, the form is pretty much an accident, but what I really liked about participating in these two conversations -- aside from the obvious fun of talking to people about movies -- is that a few films work on both sides of the coin.
- Dennis Lim on mumblecore, writing in the NYT
- Les Maîtres Fous by Jean Rouch, on YouTube in three parts: one, two, three. I love it that YouTube has become a dumping ground for long lost shorts. Granted, you have to flip the record every few minutes, and the picture is tiny, but the last time I saw this film it was on a purple 16mm print at the PFA, so ... tradeoffs.
Hey, Rob -- Yeah, I did use 'the helium method' a bit!
You know our thick, annual TIFF program book? I usually don't read any part of any of the film descriptions/capsules because I like to be surprised, even by the minor points if I can. But being in the filmblogosphere, it's almost impossible to stay clear of spoilers, minor or sometimes even major. (It's probably worse for TV: see Mike Newman's post.)
I didn't want to pass up your podcast because I wanted to hear you guys conversing, but at the same time I knew that many of these films you're talking about are ones that I will likely see later this year. Thus my gingerly step through the delicate little minefield of your conversation. :-)
To clarify, I should remind readers that you state at the outset that the podcast doesn't contain any 'spoilers', just some minor bits of narrative information.
Yeah, I always figure that if someone is actively seeking out articles, capsules, blog posts, or podcasts, it's fair to say a little something about a movie as long as I withhold big plot turns or endings. But that's what the chapter stops are for in the "enhanced" version of the podcast -- skip around to what you want.
I'm the same way, actually. Many of the movies I see, including those listed above, I go into with little more than a title and a recommendation. I remember at TIFF a few years ago I thought that The Death of Mr. Lazarescu was going to be a documentary. Darren or someone corrected me before the screening -- with a chuckle -- but aside from the title, country of origin, and a general recommendation from the ether, I knew next to nothing. I definitely prefer that when possible.
Oh, and about TV spoilers: you're so right. I'm one of those DVD-only viewers of the Sopranos, and I'm perpetually three seasons behind. Which means that even glimpsing a headline in a newspaper over someone's shoulder in the subway can be a spoiler.
Thanks for the links!
I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've ever been so eager to see so many films coming out of Sundance. Your top 4 features are now at the top of my to-see list.
And, Rob, you totally need to watch The Wire.
Congratulations on yet another fascinating podcast. I love how your sense of humor shines through in these conversations and I think it's great that you invited Brian to be a guest commentator. The dude makes me laugh. Edward II as the sequel to Edward Scissorhands?!! Too funny.
Glad also that you referenced Jean Rouch, who I've been researching lately in preparation for an upcoming post.
Yeah, I think I'll put The Wire up at the top of my Netflix queue.
Darren, I'm sure you're really going to like at least 2 of the 4. I'm also pretty sure about Sugar. The Visitor is a movie I could probably recommend to my mom who wouldn't tolerate 10 minutes of Ballast. I like how these four movies have thematic similarities -- people who seem to be on a detour from life are trying to figure out if the detour should be the main road after all -- and yet they're very different films.
Thanks, Michael. I'm glad you're enjoying the 'cast. Rouch is one of those filmmakers whose thoughts about film fascinate me as much as the films he made. I wrote a little essay for Paste a while back called "The Hippo-Hunt Epiphany" that I should post here. Neat guy.
I'm glad my teenaged misapprehensions can be fodder for someone else's enjoyment. It's still weird hearing my own voice recorded (maybe I should have tried the chipmunk mode, though I prefer to think of myself as a purple people eater than as a rodent.)
I will definitely be recommending the Visitor to my mom. More pressingly, to my sister in Portland, as I see it's to play the upcoming film festival there. I had an uncontrollable grin on my face for practically the entire movie (except for during the sad parts where I had an uncontrollable frown). I'm nowhere near as enthusiastic for it as I am for Ballast, mostly because it doesn't sit quite as well, and I came to the festival looking for films that would. But for sheer enjoyment while watching it was pretty great.
One thing I meant to ask you, Rob, is if there were films you left Sundance regretful that you failed to fit into your schedule? For me it was Momma's Man, Man on Wire and Sugar, thanks to your reports and others'. Hopefully they'll get shown around this year.
I'm curious about several of the films that you liked that I didn't see, like the Derek Jarman stuff and the other New Frontier films.
Otherwise, I'd probably most like to see Trouble the Water.
A few others that I may check out at some point: U2 3D (which is now playing in SF at the Metreon), Patti Smith: Dream of Life, and Anvil! The True Story of Anvil. That last one in particular sounds fun.
In the World Cinema doc competition, I still think Recycle, Stranded, and Up the Yangtze sound good, but I never made time to see them.
During the fest there were a few films I kinda wanted to see that I've generally lost interest in now that I'm back home. Not that I'll avoid them, but they're just not on my radar. Things like Choke and Young@Heart -- I heard a lot of chatter about both.
I just read that Ballast has been picked up by IFC, so even if it never makes it to a Knoxville theater I'll at least be able to get a DVD fairly soon.
Great news. IFC has been picking up a lot of smaller movies in the last year.
For the April issue of Paste I had to write a handful of tiny blurbs about some of the Sundance films plus one larger blurb. Editor Josh Jackson wrote a handful of them, too. For my batch, I picked a mix of faves and talked-abouts. And for the lead I chose Momma's Man.
Here's Scott Foundas' Sundance wrap-up, from which I learned something that I might have found on my own if I'd bothered to look up the director of Man on Wire, James Marsh: he previously directed Wisconsin Death Trip, a movie I don't remember well except that it left me unsure what was true and what wasn't.