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Sundance 2018 Critic’s Notebook, Day 2: Clara’s Ghost, Hale County This Morning, This Evening

Hale County This Morning, This Evening

For the second consecutive year, Sundance showed an Academy-ratio film with Ghost in the title, but Bridey Elliott’s feature directorial debut Clara’s Ghost is decidedly not A Ghost Story. Bridey stars along with father Chris, sister Abby and mom Paula (the only non-actor in the bunch, though she easily holds her own). The plot’s loose: sisters Riley (Bridey) and Julie (Abby) — former child stars as the Olsen-esque Reynolds sisters — come for a one-night visit home. Father Ted (Chris) has just lost his casting in a show being put together by Julie’s fiance and is feeling rancorous. Some magazine photographers come over to take photos of father and daughter and ask softball questions about what family means to them (Ted: “Family is the whipped…  Read more

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Sundance 2018 Critic’s Notebook, Day 1: Our New President, Three Identical Strangers

Our New President

Two things shape my Sundance coverage this year — one purely personal, the other macro. The personal was recently reading Christian Metz’s Film Language, the kind of text normally consumed in undergrad cinema studies (not my major) but belatedly a worthwhile book all the same; I wanted some new tools to think about movies, and this fit the bill. The opening essays are recognizably Barthes-ian contemplations of i.e. what makes the moving image more plausible than a still image and the middle gets mired in a lot of precise definitions of paradigmatic vs. syntagmatic, but the finale is a surprisingly fiery, non-scientific broadside against the Plausible, a category Metz essentially equates with political and economic censorship. The Plausible is: cultural and arbitrary…  Read more

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“Documentaries Are Less an Act of Creation and More an Act of Discovery”: DP Bob Richman on The Price of Everything

The Price of Everything

Brooklyn-born DP Bob Richman began his career as a production assistant for Albert and David Maysles. He’s since gone on to shoot some of the most widely seen documentaries of the past 20 years: An Inconvenient Truth, Waiting for ‘Superman’, the Paradise Lost trilogy and Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, to name a few. His latest feature, The Price of Everything, is a vérité doc on the puzzlingly astronomical price of fine art. Richman spoke with Filmmaker ahead of the film’s Sundance premiere about his preferred camera for vérité filmmaking, reuniting with director Nathaniel Kahn (My Architect) and the essential importance of a good sound recordist. Filmmaker: How and why did you wind up being the cinematographer of your film? What were the factors…  Read more

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The Sundance Question: What Roles did Chaos and Order Play in Your Films?

Photo: Kelsey Doyle

Each year Filmmaker asks all the incoming feature directors at Sundance one question. (To see past years’ questions and responses, click here.) This year, our question involves an issue that might be appropriate given the dramas of the previous year: chaos and order. This year’s question: As you made your film during the increasingly chaotic backdrop of the last year, how did you as a filmmaker control, ignore, give in to or, conversely, perhaps creatively exploit the wild and unpredictable? What roles did chaos and order play in your films? “Cats are Totally Un-Directable, Even with Food” Christina Choe | NANCY “One of the Most Chaotic and Stunning Moments of My Life”: Director Jeremiah Zagar | We the Animals “The…  Read more

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25 Films We’re Excited about at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival

Spheres: Songs of Spacetime

Sundance starts tomorrow, and just before the curtain raises we’re squeaking in with a list of films our correspondents — Vadim Rizov, Meredith Alloway and myself — are excited to see. I’m about to start packing, and colleagues from other magazines and companies are Facebooking their SARS-mask covered faces on their way to the influenza petri-dish of Park City. I could spin this intro out longer — quote Sundance festival director John Cooper on how this year’s festival is full of “alternative voices” — or perhaps left-turn into some metaphor or another, but I’ll just do what we do here and cut to the films. Below are 25 titles we can confidently say you shouldn’t try to miss. Madeline’s Madeline.…  Read more

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“If You Want That Melodramatic Shaft of Light, You’d Better Mean It”: DP Sam Levy on Shooting Lady Bird

Saiorse Ronan in Lady Bird

There’s a tradition of young directors looking for inspiration in the bygone eras of their adolescence. For George Lucas in American Graffiti, it was the California car culture of the early ’60s. For Richard Linklater in Dazed and Confused, it was the Texas high school rituals of the ’70s. And for Greta Gerwig in Lady Bird, it’s Catholic school and the suburban doldrums of early-aughts Sacramento. Written and directed by Gerwig, Lady Bird follows the titular character (Saoirse Ronan) through her senior year of high school as she fights with her mom (Laurie Metcalf), pines for a philosophical dilettante from the neighboring all-boys school (Timothée Chalamet), and dreams of escaping Sacramento for college on the East Coast. The film’s 2003 setting…  Read more

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Filmmaking

The Rainbow Experiment

Time’s Up for the War on Stories

Christina Kallas, writer-director of multi-protagonist feature films 42 Seconds of Happiness and The Rainbow Experiment, which will have its world premiere at Slamdance on Saturday, January 20, takes a look at the current shift in storytelling and shares her thoughts on how to pursue a…  Read more

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Jan 17, 2018

Festivals & Events

Our New President

Sundance 2018 Critic’s Notebook, Day 1: Our New President, Three Identical Strangers

Two things shape my Sundance coverage this year — one purely personal, the other macro. The personal was recently reading Christian Metz’s Film Language, the kind of text normally consumed in undergrad cinema studies (not my major) but belatedly a worthwhile book all the same; I…  Read more

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on Jan 19, 2018

VOD Picks

  • The Killing of a Sacred Deer Black Comedy
    A24
    Official site
    12/26/17 MOD VOD
  • Good Time Drama Thriller
    A24
    Official site
    11/21/17 MOD VOD

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