The 2014 Sundance Film Festival is the 30th since its establishment in 1981. This year there were 12218 films submitted as this film festival offers a global stage for many experimental films, and has always been a canvas for LGBT cinema. It will run from the 16th to the 26th of January in Utah, having opened with Whiplash, and will close with Rudderless. Here are my picks:
The plight of lesbians and gays within orthodox Muslim communities has long been a heavily-debated topic. This film however takes us out of the restrictive middle-eastern environment where gay rights are as sparse as water and into New York. The story follows Shirin a young Brooklynite struggling to create an identity for herself. The story starts shortly after she has been dumped by her girlfriend and after many failed attempts at fitting into some clique she is now desolate and alienated.
She has to relocate and simultaneously is again confronted with either keeping her family happy and denying her own happiness or fighting for love.
This film is interesting because it hypothesizes upon the ideal that your mental/emotional location plays a greater role in your freedom than your geographical location. So this is a piece of advice to our Russian LGBT friends, they may handcuff your arms, but they can never handcuff your soul or mind.
This film follows the rollercoaster ride between a daughter and her mother whom is undergoing a sex change. The filming was only conducted on Tuesdays and lasted for a year. This interesting film asks us to take a closer look at one of the most fundamental relationships a person has, between parent and child. The issue of sex-change is both controversial and sometimes leaves us with questions.
I would like to think this film teaches us that your sexual identity doesn’t define you or your ability to love, that your parent is your parent regardless of their sexuality and that their love for you remains even if their hair greys and skin sags.
Love is Strange
After 39 years of George (Alfred Molina) and Ben (John Lithgow) finally decide to tie the knot but despite 39 years the biggest struggle is yet to come. With the marriage made public, George is fired from the orthodox Catholic School where he teaches and the pair are left destitute having to leave their home and live separated.
The acting has been heralded as world class, but with such excellent actors as Molina and Lithgow one would expect nothing but the best. But their ability to portray such deep love that shouts amidst the silence and conveys a thousand messages with a stare is truly remarkable.
This is a story for the 21st century and encompasses real life events. People are losing their homes, couples are forced to separate due to finances, people do lose their jobs and everyone wants a happily-ever-after.
These three films all deserve praise in their own rights, they may not have made the Oscars shortlist but they tell real stories, ask hard-hitting questions and show off real talent.