Sexuality and fame in focus at Sundance Film Festival’s in-person return – 12/07/2022

Documentaries that address sexuality and fame through the stories of personalities such as actress and model Brooke Shields and singer Little Richard are among the highlights of the Sundance Film Festival, whose schedule was announced by the organizers this Wednesday (7) .

Co-founded by actor Robert Redford and recognized for launching the best in artistic, documentary and independent cinema, the festival will return to its in-person version in the mountainous state of Utah, in the western United States, starting January 19, after two virtual editions due to to covid-19.

This edition’s programming includes productions by movie stars such as Anne Hathaway, Emilia Clarke, Jason Momoa and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Another highlight is the return of British actress Emilia Jones with two new productions to the first festival that screened “No Rhythm of the Heart”, winner of the Oscar for Best Film starring her.

– Stories with another perspective –

On the documentary side, Sundance features “Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields,” which tells the story of the supermodel and actress who rose to fame at age 12, and reflects on the objectification, sexualization, and commodification of women and children.

“Judy Blume Forever” depicts how American author Judy Blume’s young adult fiction came under fire for its sexual content and offensive language in the 1980s, which led her to oppose censorship and book bans.

Both productions “show trends we’ve seen in recent years in biographical work,” which allow viewers to “re-evaluate the story and see it from a different perspective,” said John Nein, Sundance’s head of programming.

Similarly, “The Disappearance of Shere Hite” follows pioneering feminist author Shere Hite, who was forced to hide from public view after severe criticism of her book “The Hite Report” (1976) on the female orgasm, which became a bestseller and set off the effects of a sexual revolution.

The documentary “Little Richard: I Am Everything” addresses, in turn, the origins of the flamboyant black rock ‘n’ roll star, who renounced homosexuality and embraced Christianity before his death.

The productions offer “an opportunity to engage with history in a very different way” through “the life of a figure in the world of arts and culture,” Nein said.

Another topic present in the festival’s program are productions about Iranian women.

Documentary “Joonam” and fiction films “The Persian Version” and “Shayda” explore stories of women in Iran and its diaspora as the country is rocked by protests against its strict rules on how women must dress.

– Constellation of stars –

Hollywood stars will return to the festival in person after two years of virtual press conferences.

“Game of Thornes” star Emilia Clarke shares the screen with Ejiofor in “The Pod Generation,” a social satire set in the near future in which a company has invented a detachable uterus, allowing couples to share their pregnancies.

Hathaway and Thomasin McKenzie star in “Eileen,” about a young prison secretary who befriends a glamorous guard with a dark secret.

Jason Momoa, the current “Aquaman”, narrates a documentary about the deep ocean and a mysterious organization that plans to extract metals from the bottom of the sea.

Emilia Jones returns to the festival with the dramas “Cat Person”, an adaptation of the famous New Yorker story, and “Fairyland”, based on the best-selling book about the AIDS crisis in San Francisco.

The Sundance Film Festival runs from January 19-29, 2023.

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© Agence France-Presse

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