Sundance 2007: Day Two

The latest mutterings of a mad mind... I blame the Skittles.

by Amber Wilkinson

No future Diet Pepsies will suffer as this one did.

No future Diet Pepsies will suffer as this one did.

In the quest to show you just how cold it is here, we thought you might like an iced coke. This is the unfortunate bottle of Pepsi that got left in the car overnight. Thank goodness it wasn't a can... the thought of the aftermath of can explosion isn't good. It was two degrees fahrenheit this morning... I don't even want to think about what that is in centigrade.

The best way to tackle Sundance, is to get up half an hour before you go to bed - since you need to be on your mettle to match the logistical problems the place throws at you. Take this morning, for instance. Eye For Film was bright eyed and bushy tailed (actually, that's a lie, but come to think of it a bushy tail would come in handy to keep the heat in) and heading into town at 7.20am to send in yesterday's blog. In the spirit of not having to lug a laptop we opted to bring memory sticks.

The Plan? Park car, use free computers in one of the many joints on Main Street, upload files, go to 11.30am screening. Doddle, yes?

That's until you consider the SPF factor (that's Sundance Piddle-about Factor, to the unitiated). This particular exercise appeared to have an SPF of two but in fact was at least SPF 20. Cashing in, is, as Robert Redford noted, sadly on the up, and free parking is an increasingly scarce commodity. In then end we spent 40 mins getting to town, 45 mins parking the car and catching one of the shuttle buses (great and free) to Main Street - the central hub of bars and general post-film action.

The New Frontier - in addition to being a festival section - has a lounge, which is part art installation and part high-tech extravaganza. The only problem is that it is so high-tech you can't upload any files to the computers there. Queue another hour's faff. Finally - the good Lord bless Adobe - we managed to find somewhere but by this time we were two films down on the day.

Still, there were plenty left to go. Eye For Film opted to divide and conquer - or at least subdue - heading to simultaneous screenings of Buried Dreams and Bugmaster.

Buried Dreams is a langourously paced film set in and around a gold mining operation in Burkina Faso, charting a man with a past's quest to forget. Bugmaster, meanwhile, is a mystical tale of a shaman exorcist travelling turn-of-the-century Japan chasing out bad spirits. Buried Dreams is a hit in terms of cinematography, though the slow-moving downbeat plot may not be for everyone. Bugmaster is, I'm told, beautifully shot, with original special effects but ultimately rather dull.

One thing that could never be described as dull, however, is a film by Crispin Glover. His surreal imaginings brought What Is It? to Sundance a couple of year's ago and now he's back with It's Fine, Everything Is Fine. Adding some unusual star quality to the press screenings, we spotted him deep in conversation in the Yarrow.

I have to admit I'd always imagined him to be distinctly angular and skinny when, in fact, he's comparatively debonair. Forget the movie image, in the flesh he's a good looking geezer and was dealing manfully with the management.

Not that Eye For Film is nosey or anything but we couldn't resist listening in... in the interests of news, you understand. He was trying to impress upon the staff member that "it's important to talk at the end." - one can only presume this is because he doesn't like to waste his breath on the high percentage of critics who tend to leave midway through his screenings.

He, in fact, went on to talk at the beginning and at the end of the film about a ladykiller with cerebral palsy - you can read all about that in our separate article.

While Tony got the lowdown on Crispin's celluloid, I headed over to the much less chirpy Ghosts Of Abu Ghraib. As you can imagine, it isn't a lot of laughs. What it is, however, is a very well put together documentary, talking to the victims and the perpetrators of the photos from Abu Ghraib which rocked the world. Scarily, the documentary also shows how the American Government was, in many ways, a willing accomplice to torture. I could go on... but I'll save it for the review.

Main Street by nightfall.
Bizarre to see so many people taking popcorn into the press screening - not exactly your popcorn movie... then again, you're reading the words of a woman who had Skittles for breakfast, so who am I to judge?

Headed down to Main Street briefly at the end of the night for a swift beer but with a 6am start beckoning (see, we're taking the getting up half an hour earlier thing to heart) we called it quits by 11pm.

Tomorrow we'll be checking out the Dramatic Competition entries Snow Angels and Teeth, and later on in the week, hopefully bringing you news of the Premiere of Clubland, starring Brenda Blethyn. Eye For Film will be eyeing the red carpet, so watch this space...

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We're looking forward to the Berlinale and the Glasgow Film Festival.

We've recently been at Sundance in Utah, Palm Springs, the French Film Festival and Tallinn Black Nights, Welsh horror spectacular Abertoir, the London Korean Film Festival and DOC NYC and the Valencia Film Festival.

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