Bill Cosby and Princess Diana: The Sundance Film Festival featured some of the most talked about series and films of the year
The Omicron has pushed the Sundance Film Festival into a virtual format for the second time in a row, but that hasn’t stopped it from showing over the weekend some films and series that will be talked about a lot over the coming year.
Sunday, 23 January 2022, 01:49 Updated: 01:57
Share on Facebook
Share on WhatsApp
Share on Twitter
Share on Email
Share on general
Trailer for the series "We Need To Talk About Cosby" (Showtime)
Festivals make plans - and God laughs.
After for the first time in history taking place virtually last year, the Sundance Film Festival was supposed to return to a physical format in Utah.
Everything was ready, but at the last minute the omicron arrived and forced the event managers to change plans.
And so, the festival kicked off on Thursday as it is taking place virtually for the second year in a row.
All this did not hurt its quality: the flagship event of independent cinema maintained its status as one of the most important festivals in the world and presented a varied and high-quality menu, featuring a world premiere of works that will be talked about much over the coming year - if not in theaters, then on Netflix and other platforms.
Here, at the tip of the fork, is an overview of the notable films that were screened this past weekend.
We will expand on all of them when they come to screenings in Israel in one framework or another, so in the meantime with a short opinion and a general impression.
More on Walla!
An Israeli film about a massacre in '48 will be screened at the Sundance Film Festival
To the full article
From "We Need to Talk About Cosby" (Photo: Courtesy of the Sundance Festival)
A four-episode documentary series by the creator of Showtime, directed by black comedian Wu Kamau Ball.
As its name implies, it deals with the discourse surrounding Bill Cosby, who is both one of the most important figures in the history of the American cultural world, and a convicted rapist.
As the director said before the screening - "I'm very unhappy to present this document to you. I wish I did not have to do it."
Dozens of women have complained over the years that Cosby attacked them, and it is likely that the true number of women raped is several times greater.
Many of them are interviewed for the series, and it presents their testimonies in full, without manipulations and without editing.
In addition, it includes a variety of fascinating archive footage and conversations with people who worked with the comedian and agreed to be interviewed - many of them, for example the stars and stars of the "Cosby family", preferred not to.
As befits a series lasting no less than four hours, this puzzle includes many pieces: this is a series about the actions of Cosby, who was released from prison only for technical reasons, and also about the people who knew and kept quiet and were able to whitewash them; This is a series about the culture of rape, which made such acts possible in the first place; It is also a series that dares to bring up for discussion the complex question, what to do with the comedian's legacy, whose contribution to the community and black culture is indisputable.
Of all the points the film makes, here is the most interesting point to me. The star, it will be recalled, played a doctor in the Cosby family, and is usually seen as a kind of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - a sympathetic comedian, social activist and philanthropist during the day, who was a sexual predator at night. The truth is more complex and difficult: his positive actions His activity as a philanthropist gave him access to sacrifice and made it easier for him to whitewash his actions.The image he built for himself as a national mother helped him gain the trust of those who had become his prey.
The series lasts four hours and could have been much shorter.
As usual in his day, the first episode is the strongest of the four, and the fourth weakest of them all.
It does not diminish its power and importance and there is no doubt that all of America will talk about it when it goes on a weekly broadcast in Showtime later this month.
It is not yet clear when it will be broadcast in Israel.
Bill Cosby after his release last summer (Photo: AP)
More than half a decade after her death, the figure of Princess Diana fascinates popular culture more than ever. In addition to "The Crown", of course, we can also mention "Spencer", called by her original family name, which we chose here for the best film of 2021 (due to the Corona, its release in Israel was postponed to next month). Over the weekend another movie also joined the list, simply called "The Princess".
Unlike "Spencer," a feature film in which Kirsten Stewart plays Diana, this time it is a documentary, written by director Ed Perkins and producer Simon Chin, who was previously signed to "Looking for Sugarman" and "The Green Prince."
The film is made up of archive sections only, with no additions - not even narration. Thanks to fine research and even more brilliant editing, he manages to use this mosaic to tell the story of Diana, of the royal family, of British society between the 1980s and 1990s and especially of the media and its consumers.
Before the screening, Perkins said it's not just a movie about Diana, but a movie about us - and he's right.
The yellow media was compulsive towards the princess, came down to her life and contributed to her tragic end, but pointing an accusing finger at her only is the easy solution.
"The Princess" also presents us, its consumers, who encourage this yellowing, superficiality and dehumanization.
The British public loved the so-called "Princess of the People", but it was a suffocating love - not in the metaphorical sense, but the literal one, and the ending was tragic.
"The Princess" is a sad movie.
Usually, even in sad movies there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Here, too, the tunnel awaiting Diana is not metaphorical, and at its end no light awaits
From "The Princess" (Photo: Courtesy of the Sundance Festival / Kenneth Gavin)
And here's another sad documentary, this time about Shane O'Connor. Unlike Diana, she is still alive, but that does not make her story any less tragic: this month, as I recall, her 17-year-old son put an end to his life, and she herself was hospitalized. Out of respect for her, director Rebecca Ferguson has meanwhile decided to avoid interviews about the film.
Musical docu is a common and generic commodity nowadays, but like O'Connor herself, this film turns out to be something special, which enlightens the eyes and extinguishes the soul.
In Ireland where O'Connor was born and raised, each had three parents - a father, a mother and the Catholic Church, and each of them abused her. She was one of the first prominent artists to raise the miracle of rebellion against this establishment, and even if she lost personally, she won in the national sense - Ireland recently recognized the church's historic crimes, and repealed its abortion laws, some of the strictest in the Western world.
O'Connor is responsible for what are perhaps two of the most powerful moments in the world of contemporary music / culture: when she tore to pieces a picture of the Pope live on Saturday Night Live and as a result had to face deafening boos in a tribute show to Bob Dylan she attended, but refused to leave
O'Connor herself, what shakes the film is the reactions to it. Following all this, and following her refusal to attend an event in which the American national anthem was played, Frank Sinatra stated that he would like to kick it. Joe Peshi stated that he would like to slap her. Both of these statements were received with laughter and applause at the time
O'Connor was also one of the first prominent artists to appear on television with baldness. This, too, as seen in the film, cost her a long succession of sexist, merging and miserable bites
O'Connor, in whatever form she wanted to be, had a mesmerizing and extraordinary charm, wonderfully musical and cinematic.
The film mentions that she is much more than a singer of one hit, if by chance someone chooses her to remember her that way, but he also mentions that the song most identified with her, in whose name the film is also called is indeed one of the greatest covers of all time and a once-in-a-lifetime song
From "Nothing Compares" (Photo: Courtesy of the Sundance Festival / Andrew Catalin)
The song, by the way, is not played in the film, because Prince's administrators did not allow it.
This is after at the time, according to O'Connor's testimony, Prince violently attacked her out of possessiveness and zeal for his song.
Nothing Compares is a movie about a great singer, and little people.