The documentaries did justice to this downer of a decade. Many of the ’00s best Sundance docs filled the gaps left by mainstream journalism; all of them told important stories with sophistication and intelligence. Our top 10 include “Grizzly Man” and “Zoo.”
THE WEATHER UNDERGROUND
UTOPIA IN FOUR MOVEMENTS.
Love it or hate it, AVATAR has revived for many audiences the old-fashioned notion of movies as a social experience. Billed as a “live documentary,” Sam Green’s UTOPIA IN FOUR MOVEMENTS does effectively the same thing, on a smaller scale but with bigger ideas. Performed twice at the Sundance Film Festival this week as part of the New Frontier section, this was a charmingly homespun cross between a “benshi” silent-film show and a PowerPoint presentation: Green stood before the audience, narrating and cuing still and moving images while three musicians performed a score by co-director Dave Cerf.
As in his Oscar-nominated THE WEATHER UNDERGROUND (Sundance 2003, co-directed with Bill Siegel) Green sifts through the ruins of extinguished idealism. UTOPIA IN FOUR MOVEMENTS is as much a story of failure as it is one of hope.