The morning of Day 5 at Sundance was by far the highlight of my entire trip. Ever since seeing Like Crazy I had been in contact with John Guleserian, the Director of Photography. Ideally, I would have loved to have him come to our house for an on-camera interview but his schedule didn’t allow that. We decided to meet for breakfast instead. He invited to the Filmmakers lounge at the Marriot in Park City and we had a two hour conversation about everything. It was absolutely fantastic. I got a lot of insight into what the life of a DP is like. I learned about how he got to where he is and he even gave me tips for my future. I felt so lucky to be sitting across from the DP of my favorite film I saw at Sundance and to be learning so much about my aspiring position in the film industry.
At 12:15pm a few of us went to go see Pariah. The first scene opened with a club-banging hip-hop song and a vertical dolly shot following a stripper down a pole. The audience quickly realizes we are in a lesbian strip club. Throughout the movie you learn that the main character, Alike, is fighting a battle everyday by going to school dressing like a guy and being comfortable lesbian then coming home and hiding her true identity from her family. Her dad is more supportive of her in all aspects of life while her mom is very tough on her and pleads with her on clothing and choosing better friends. Her mom is so wrapped up in the image of how she would like her daughter to appear that she completely forgets to let Alike be herself. Not only is the mom getting angry at Alike but she begins to get suspicious of her husband because he’s always “working.” We never know for sure if he was cheating but we can assume he was since anytime his wife wanted to be close to him he backed away and one time Alike walked in on him on the phone with someone that he refused to reveal to Alike. As the movie progresses Alike is continuing her early journey discovering herself as a lesbian and even experiments with other girls but appears to be overwhelmed by stress confusion and denial. The movie is very personal to the director Dee Rees who probably went through something very similar. When Alike finally comes out and tells her parents she’s lesbian her mother immediately lashes out screaming and hitting her. Luckily Alike’s father is there to protect Alike. Alike then makes the decision to continue school far away from home to concentrate on her passion for writing and find acceptance in her life. I think Pariah is a great message to other young lesbian or gay individuals growing up and it’s especially good message to the parents who are in denial that their children are gay. The film tells them that they need to accept their children and allow them to grow up being comfortable with themselves.
Later in the day a few of my classmates and I went to see Todos tus muertos (All Your Dead Ones). The description stated that a farmer wakes up one morning and finds a bunch of dead bodies in his crop field. It sounded very interesting but I found the film to be very boring. Maybe the fact that it was in Spanish and I had to read subtitles took away from the film but I honestly just got bored with the characters standing in the same field 75% of the entire movie deciding what to do with the body.
I did, however, enjoy hearing the director and crew speak about the movie afterwards during the Q&A. They said this one of the first movies to come out of Colombia that is addressing the issue of their ongoing civil war. They were excited to show Colombians their film when it becomes released after the festival. I am interested to find out the Colombians’ reaction and see if they like the filmmakers choice to poke fun at the situation in their country.
Later in the evening, I decided I wanted to end the day watching a movie I would enjoy. My fellow classmate Greg and I hopped on the bus about 2.5 hours before show time and went to the Yarrow Hotel theater to go see Martha Marcy May Marlene. My fascination with cults drew me to this film. Also, Mary Kate and Ashley‘s younger sister, Elizabeth Olsen, was starring in it which was exciting for me because I don’t believe I’ve seen her in anything and was eager to see how see measured up to her notorious twin sisters. Unfortunately, after waiting in the wait-list line over the 2 hour period we did not get in. I was fairly upset because this was the first wait-list situation where I was unsuccessful at getting into the film. It was very frustrating because only five people got in which was the least amount of people I had ever seen get in from “wait list” especially because it was a midnight showing and it wasn’t the premiere of the film. As frustrating as it was, it allowed me time to buy doughnuts at the local grocery store and to more importantly get a good night’s sleep. I hope to see the film when it’s released because it was getting great reviews at the festival.