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sundance 14.3: politics and protest

sundance 14.3: politics and protest

Day three in Park City for me was day one for the Sundance fest…

After the ritual of checking in and catching up with old friends and colleagues at the fest HQ, it was time for the opening day press conference. Robert Redford‘s brief remarks about politics and protest paved the way for much more direct comments prior to the opening night screening of Brett Morgen’s “Chicago 10” (as we reported in our latest indieWIRE Dispatch tonight). His comment about the government owing the American people, “a big, massive apology,” will probably get picked up by the mainstream media. And his remarks tonight made me wonder whether Sundance and/or independent film are on a path to being even more overtly political or protest-oriented.

As for the film… i’ll share a few somewhat initial reactions. First, it strikes me as a particularly personal project for Morgen and a rather bold move for the festival, choosing such an unconventional film to open the event. A lot of things about this year’s festival seem to indicate that they are trying to make a statement. I’ll have to consider that further. Anyway…”Chicago 10” is a button-pushing new film that challenges its audience in both form and subject matter. I had a positive, but at times clearly mixed, reaction to the movie, occasionally jarred by its unexpected aesthetics. Often, it works quite well and drives home a powerful message about protest and youth, however in other instances I found it lacking a bit of context and depth. In the end, I found it stirring, and successful, as a truly unexpected hybrid historical document.

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