I will admit that I haven’t seen Jim Hosking’s previous Sundance venture The Greasy Strangler—a grotesque exercise in trying to annoy as many people as possible. After speaking with others at my screening who had seen The Greasy Strangler, it was evident that no one particularly liked it. So why were we here, seated for his sophomore feature? Morbid curiosity perhaps?
Credit should be given where it’s due, there are few directors with as a vision as singular as Hosking, a style that’s about as anti-Hollywood as it can get. Will he be able to retain his signature idiosyncratic style with top-tier comedic actors like Aubrey Plaza, Craig Robinson, and Jemaine Clement on board? To answer that question: yes he can, for better or for worse. Fans of The Greasy Strangler will revel in this offbeat trip. To everyone else, I recommend you don’t waste your time.
Crystal Moselle’s previous film, the documentary The Wolfpack, chronicled the lives of a group of cinephile brothers who were confined to their Manhattan apartment for 14 years. Skate Kitchen, Moselle’s narrative feature debut, brings another slice of New York’s bustling culture to the big screen: the eponymous all-girl skate group. Moselle met several members of Skate Kitchen by chance on the subway in 2015, and the film marks their second collaboration after a Venice-bound short film. The film is like a narrative-documentary hybrid as she enlists the group to play fictionalised versions of themselves; a modern cinéma vérité. It’s evident how much she admires the skaters, as Skate Kitchen blossoms into a feisty coming-of-age tale about the enduring power of female friendship in the search for identity.
It’s a common tradition in the all-girl sleepover to lie down, stare blankly at the ceiling, and talk about the future. It’s a utopian view of the future, of course, in which you have your dream job, a giant house, and you can go on those luxury vacations usually reserved for celebrities and millionaires. Texas BFFs Angela (Maia Mitchell) and Jessie (Cami Morrone) have dreams of their own: waste time away on the beach at Galveston. That all seems rather quaint, but for high school dropouts living paycheck-to-paycheck waiting tables at a diner—a little getaway means a lot.
Female directors may have been few and far between at Cannes, with only three films directed by women in competition, but the upcoming Sundance Film Festival: London promises a refreshing change. The British iteration of the famous festival brings a condensed lineup, but women are front and centre as 58% of the films showcased are directed by women. Films starring women will also be gracing the 4-day festival including Hereditary and Eighth Grade. The festival will also host panels and discussions on the state of the film industry and whether it is making steps towards inclusivity. For this Sundance preview, we highlight all of the female-directed films in the lineup.
THE TALE dir. Jennifer Fox
Jennifer Fox’s harrowing autobiographical look at sexual abuse will be opening the festival following its premiere on HBO last Saturday. Laura Dern stars as Jennifer, a woman who is forced to reconcile the sexual relationship she had as a 13-year-old. In the age of Time’s Up and #MeToo, films like these feel timely, but it’s necessary that women get to tell their own stories in their own words.