The festival’s official awards ceremony is still hours away as we post this link, but as The Reeler notes, “Hounddog” director Deborah Kampmeier has already received the VW Relentless Drive Award from Sundance’s official vehicle sponsor. The prize includes a new car and is touted in a full page ad on the back of the festival’s official daily newspaper. Meanwhile, the film has stirred audiences all week, and been subjected to a number of negative reviews. Among the harshest comes in the latest festival dispatch from Manohla Dargis in the New York Times:
As sincere as it is stupid, “Hounddog” is pure art-house exploitation, as evidenced by the images of its 12-year-old star dressed in a wet T-shirt and panties, of her writhing on a bed and of her awkwardly grinding in a hootchy-kootchy pantomime to the Elvis Presley song of the film’s title. As in “The Accused”…the film’s narrative momentum builds to the rape, which is discreetly staged; unfortunately, it is also presented with some of the same tropes of the classic movie love scene: there is a shot of the girl’s clutching hand and, after the assault, a close-up of her face. Ms. Fanning’s commitment to this material is unwavering in its creepiness.