The Sundance Film Festival’s last big arthouse hope — Andrew Dosunmu‘s Where Is Kyra?, a funereal quicksand piece about an unemployed middle-aged woman (Michelle Pfeiffer) in a terrible financial jam — screened last night at the Marc, and it’s more or less a bust. (That’s my opinion, at least.) It’s a carefully calibrated, well-acted, oppressive gloomhead flick that feels like it’s happening inside a coffin or crypt. This is Dosunmu’s deliberate strategy, of course, but the end-of-the-road, my-life-is-over vibe is primarily manifested by the inky, mineshaft palette of dp Bradford Young — HE’s least favorite cinematographer by a country mile.
Most of the big buyers will be leaving Park City today, which means that barring some huge, out-of-the-blue surprise, the festival has produced only three significant standouts: (1) Luca Guadagnino‘s Call Me By Your Name (which I totally flipped for two days ago), (2) Michael Showalter and Kumail Nanjiani‘s The Big Sick and (3) Jeremy Gasper‘s Patti Cake$, which I blew off last night in order to see Michael Almereyda‘s Marjorie Prime — another bust. (I’ll catch Patti Cake$ on Friday, 1.27 at the Prospector.)
There are plenty of cool-sounding films yet to screen. I’m especially interested in Marina Zenovich‘s Water & Power: A California Heist, Miguel Arteta‘s Beatriz at Dinner and Brian Knappenberger‘s NOBODY SPEAK: Hulk Hogan, Gawker and the Trials of a Free Press, all of which will be press-screened today.
Thank God that the lah-lahs, the corporates and the giggling entourages are leaving today. Now the real film festival can begin. Shorter lines, less intensity, increased cinephile devotion.