Sundance Film Festival 2010: Day Six

Buried, Winter's Bone, Bran Nue Day, Contracorriente and a late-night podcast.

by Amber Wilkinson

Geoffrey Rush in Bran Nue Dae

Geoffrey Rush in Bran Nue Dae

"Embrace the cheese," Bran Nue Dae director Rachel Perkins tells us before the screening of her film. She could just as well be talking about the food round these parts. I've told you about Utah's unsung ability to be the 'cheese-with-everything' state but it never ceases to amaze me how they manage to cram as much of it into the most unlikeliest places. Breakfast scrambled eggs? You'll be needing cheese with that and forget about a meat sandwich that doesn't come with a sly slice of Monterey Jack. Even the Chinese restaurant in Park City offers cheese wontons... still the cheese goes well with my endless triangular dietary requirements, so perhaps I shouldn't complain.

Perkins is, incidentally, right about her film, it is pretty cheesey. The problem is, even if you buy in to the kitsch storyline of this musical, there are still a lot of flaws. Willie is a young aboriginal in the late Sixties, who runs away from school only to end up on a picaresque journey across Australia with a couple of hippies in a van and an elderly down and out, while being chased by the school's doctrinarian priest headmaster (Geoffrey Rush, clearly loving every minute of it and ensuring the cheese is served with a slice of ham). You can read the full review here.

Contracorriente
Contracorriente

No problems of tone with my first film of the day, Contracorriente (Undertow) which was seen by disappointingly few press at the screening I was at. It is a clever exploration of the problems of being a closeted homosexual, particularly in a small town.

This is certainly the strongest of the World Dramatic competition films I have seen so far - you can read the full review here - and I was also in for a treat with Winter's Bone.

Contracorriente
Contracorriente

Set in the Ozark Mountains, Nick had reviewed this earlier in the week and I couldn't agree with his assessment more. This is a beautifully constructed film, featuring the best performance by an actress all week. Jennifer Lawrence is towering in the role of Ree, reminiscent of a young Jodie Foster, finding vulnerability beneath steely grit. I was so pleased to see the film be named the winner of the US Dramatic Competition - and I really hope they market it right as it deserves to do decent box office on both sides of the Atlantic.

I managed to burn some midnight oil, to catch the much buzzed-about - and already sold - Buried, which in a nutshell is Ryan Reynolds. In a box. For 90 minutes. The director Rodrigo Cortes is Spanish by birth and quite the wit, describing Reynolds throughout the introduction as Robocop.

"Thanks for coming," he said in his introduction, adding "... and hopefully staying. I hope you're ready to suffer, guys."

He added: "What we have is a guy and a box... but you still are here.

Rodrigo Cortes and Chris Sparling introduce Buried
Rodrigo Cortes and Chris Sparling introduce Buried

"I'm very sorry that Ryan couldn't come - I know he is better looking than I, he's taller than I. He's really tall. That guy is fucking Robocop.

"I have this accent, it makes me look sophisticated, doesn't it? I sound 'deeper' than I am. I hope you, as Ryan said, like it as much as he hated doing it. If you like this film, I'm the director, so I'm responsible for your happiness. If you don't like it, I'm going to tell you 'what do you want? I didn't write this shit' [it was written by Chris Sparling, who also came up to introduce the film]."

You can read the full review here.

After bumping into a couple of other journalists at Winter's Bone and here, I agree to take part in their nightly podcast, which is a lot of fun, at least to do if not to listen to. You can make your own mind up by listening to it here.

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