Sundance Film Festival 2018: 10 most interesting films being screened, from Juliet, Naked to Robin Williams docu

Mihir Fadnavis

Jan,18 2018 16:53:29 IST

It’s officially movie season in 2018 as the ten day Sundance Film Festival kicks off on the 18 January. It only seems like yesterday when Get Out, Call Me By Your Name and The Big Sick all premiered last year and went on to become the best movies of 2017.

A progressive movement has been observed as this year 37 percent of the 122 films premiering at the fest are directed by women. There are quite a few high profile films playing at the fest, including Claire McCarthy’s Ophelia starring Daisy Ridley, Naomi Watts and Clive Owen; Wildlife the directorial debut of Paul Dano which was written by his wife Zoe Kazan; Craig William’s Lizzie Borden biopic starring Chloe Sevigny and Kristen Stewart; as well as Idris Elba’s directorial debut set in Jamaica and a biography of Jane Fonda.

A still from Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind, which will be screened at the festival.

The biggies will eventually make a splash but here are the ten most interesting films to be screened, the ones that have been quietly building festival circuit buzz:

Piercing

Dir: Nicolas Pesce

Anyone who watched the terrifying black and white indie horror film The Eyes of my Mother would be desperately waiting for Pesce’s next film. And by the sounds of it Pesce has continued to forge new ground in the niche subgenre horror territory that he’s built. This time the story chronicles a businessman who plans to murder a prostitute in a hotel room, but is surprised when his potential victim turns out to be more than a match. With such an accessible yet original setup and Mia Wasikowska and Chris Abott in the lead roles this should be quite the gateway for Pesce into the mainstream.

Juliet, Naked

Dir: Jesse Peretz

Nick Hornby’s writing material has always translated into rather beautiful films, and the newest one seems to be another surefire crowd pleaser. Rose Byrne plays a woman whose husband (Chris O Dowd) becomes obsessively fascinated with a rock star (Ethan Hawke) who has released his first album in 20 years. When the woman dislikes the album and posts a negative review, the rock star gets in touch with her. The film is co produced by Judd Apatow and directed by Jesse Peretz who earlier made the fun Our Idiot Brother.

And Breathe Normally

Dir: Isold Uggadottir

Uggadottir’s debut chronicles two women whose lives interconnect when they are trapped in a strange circumstance. The film carries an undercurrent of social commentary as it explores the the bond between a struggling mother in Iceland and an immigrant.

An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn 

Dir: Jim Hosking

British filmmaker Jim Hosking made the most insane film of 2016 called The Greasy Strangler; it was meticulously crafted silliness made by stoners for stoners. Naturally it went on make a splash at After Dark sections in film festivals and gained a cult status. It seems Hosking found some fans in Hollywood as Aubrey Plaza, Emile Hirsch and Jemaine Clement are all part of his new film where a woman’s boring marriage receives a spark when a mysterious man from her past arrives in town with a bizarre magic show. All aboard the hype machine.

Mandy

Dir: Panos Cosmatos

Director Cosmatos blasted into the scene five years ago with Beyond the Black Rainbow, a stunningly realised psychedelic science fiction horror with retro music and very bleak, twisting story. For sci-fi nerds this was one of the all time great film debuts and it’s been a very long wait for his latest. The film itself sounds nuts – the setting is once again the 80s and Nicolas Cage and Andrea Riseborough play a couple who are violently assaulted on their vacation by an insane cult leader. Let’s hope Cage gets to do something unhinged on camera because we know only too well how much he likes that.

Damsel

Dir: Zellner Brothers

A few years ago the Zellner bros made an incredibly original film called Kumiko The Treasure Hunter which was a melancholic diatribe on loneliness, so the fact that their new film is a slapstick western comedy is refreshing. Robert Pattinson, continuing to choose interesting projects, stars as a man storming to the sunset to marry the woman he loves (Mia Wasikowska) but encounters a series of unforeseen mishaps. David, one of the Zellner brothers plays the hero’s perpetually drunk sidekick.

I Thing We're Alone Now

Dir: Reed Morano

Reed Morno delivered one of the best shows on TV last year with The Handmaid’s Tale, so any output from her is going to be positively gobbled up. The setup is once again high concept dystopia – two people (Peter Dinklage and Elle Fanning) wake up one morning and discover that they’re possibly the last humans on Earth. With Morano’s flair for rendering the darkest possible outcome of a dystopian situation it’d be interesting to see how she handles this scenario.

Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind 

Dir: Marina Zenovich

Few things are more depressing than waking up every morning knowing that Robin Williams is no longer with us. This documentary, which features extensive behind the scenes footage and never before seen recordings explores Williams’ life through the years. We never really knew who Williams was in his private life, and if this film has the requisite footage to render answers, it has the potential to be a roller coaster of emotions for fans of the actor.

Butterflies

Dir: Tolga Karacelik

Festival darling Karacelik returns to the circuit with his third film – a dark Turkish comedy circling a death in an estranged family. Three siblings who have never met each other unite for the funeral of their father whose only wish was to be buried in the village where butterflies come to die. As they wait for the butterflies to arrive all they can do is kill time by trying to understand each other and even their own selves. The setup is ripe for social commentary and metaphors, and considering how good Karacelik’s previous film Ivy was, this should be a treat.

Dead Pigs

Dir: Cathy Yan

Allegedly based on true events, this outlandish sounding film tells the story of a moronic pig farmer, an aggressive salon owner, an emotional busboy, an architect and a rich woman who tumble into each other as dead pigs float down the river towards Shaghai. This is Yan’s first film after her short film According to my Mother made a splash.

Updated Date: Jan 18, 2018 16:53 PM