Recently I’ve seen two very different films that deal explicitly with grief, Mia Hansen-Løve’s THE FATHER OF MY CHILDREN and Mike Cahill’s ANOTHER EARTH. One’s a drama, and very French at that. The other a science fiction melodrama, and quite American. I saw them nearly back to back and the experience inspired a few thoughts. First, WOW – these directors are really young (Love 29 when she made her film; Cahill 32). Second, how bold (in a good way) to mine this experience of family and loss from an adult (parent, spouse) perspective from the other side (that is, under 40). Third, does it work?
It’s kind of puzzling to me that ANOTHER EARTH is billed as a science fiction/fantasy/drama. The story of Rhoda (Brit Marling), a young woman who kills a man’s wife and child in a car accident and then tries to atone for her mistake, is more like a quietly played drama set against a backdrop of space travel to a second, identical planet Earth. Still, it’s that backdrop as well as the film’s deftly handled inclusion of the complicated physics and math involved in the exciting multiuniverse theory that made it a shoe-in for the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize at Sundance earlier this year. And all science aside, the muted way the film portrays the moral dilemma Rhoda is faced with made it an only all too worthy winner of the festival’s Special Jury Prize as well.
(Photo by Chelsea Lauren/Getty Images)
It’s been a long week—exhilarating, grueling, and never, ever dull—but Sundance 2011 is officially over. The stars, the studio executives, and the filmmakers have all packed up their North Face gear and headed home, wherever that may be.
Looking back on the last several days, there were some amazing, quintessentially Sundance-ian moments. We got to meet Robert Redford! We got to talk to young, idealistic, and extremely talented new artists (Brit Marling, Mike Cahill, for instance) whom we will certainly be hearing more from, and who are a reminder of Sundance’s real purpose (beyond an excuse to see a lot of great movies in the middle of a snowy paradise). As Marling told us, just following the premiere of ANOTHER EARTH, “I feel so lucky to be a part of this. Sundance is bringing together all these people and you know, brings them all into this little, this tiny town in the middle of the snow, and everyone can just talk and revel in ideas and make them into realities. It’s pretty awesome.”
Lots of critics are scrambling to tell you which films are poised for success following the Sundance Film Festival this year. Deadline.com’s Nikki Finke has compiled a list of heretofore under-the-radar directors whose names you might hear a lot more often from now on. On the list: ANOTHER EARTH director Mike Cahill; Paddy Considine, whose…
UPDATE: Michael Douglas and Evan Rachel Wood have received praise from critics for their roles in KING OF CALIFORNIA, which had a limited release in theaters this past September 2007. With a theatrical release coming this January 28, 2008, Variety’s Justin Chang describes HOW SHE MOVE as a “moody, intelligent take on conventional material.”