PARK CITY, UTAH — Robert Redford didn’t mince phrases in his opening remarks at Sundance this 12 months: “Harvey Weinstein was a second in time, and we’re going to maneuver previous that,” stated the star-studded occasion’s 81-year-old founder, kicking off a movie pageant that was much less about showy titles promoting for file income and extra about fastidiously carving a path onward and upward from the fallout of 2017’s #MeToo reckoning.
The pageant made its intentions loud and clear with placards displaying a brand new code of conduct — “Sundance Institute is dedicated to permitting attendees to expertise the pageant freed from harassment, discrimination, sexism, and threatening or disrespectful habits” — and a hotline for anybody who skilled or witnessed it. Late-night events with free-flowing alcohol had been nonetheless on provide, though the warmer tickets gave the impression to be brunches and daytime panels the place inventive sorts may bond and talk about the way forward for movie and leisure. One of many fest’s hottest talks featured 84-year-old Supreme Court docket Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, topic of the documentary “RBG,” in dialog with NPR’s Nina Totenberg. On Saturday, Park Metropolis hosted a Respect Rally alongside marches in massive cities all around the nation to commemorate the anniversary of the 2017 Girls’s March.
On its movie roster, Sundance 2018 served up a large and various array of movies with ladies behind the digicam and in entrance of it, from director Jennifer Fox’s sexual-abuse memoir “The Story” to the Chloë Sevigny-starring “Lizzie,” about Lizzie Borden, to the proudly goofy feminine skate boarders of Crystal Moselle’s “Skate Kitchen,” to Toni Collette’s shrieking, goose-bump-inducing efficiency within the occult horror flick “Hereditary.” Ginsburg, Joan Jett, Jane Fonda and lawyer Gloria Allred had been all featured in documentaries, whereas the doc “Half the Image” took on the entire topic of feminine administrators, and the dearth thereof, in Hollywood. A few actresses gave the impression to be in nearly each movie you noticed: Ann Dowd (”The Handmaid’s Story”) might have set a file with 5 movies in competitors, whereas Andrea Riseborough, one of many business’s most proficient chameleons, performed 4 roles, all of which she stated had been exhausting to come back by: “I’ve at all times discovered that the elements on the market are both chaste Mom Teresa figures or extremely sexualized and demonized figures,” she stated at a Sundance panel — whereas noting that issues are wanting up, given the statistic of practically 40 p.c of this 12 months’s in-competition administrators being feminine.
Crystal Fox and Andrea Riseborough attend a screening of “Burden.”FilmMagicThe fest additionally picked up the place one among its hits final 12 months, the Oscar nominee “Get Out,” left off in its exploration and satire of race relations. “Tyrel” takes a extra muted method to the expertise of being the one black man in a gaggle of associates, with Jason Mitchell’s Tyler caught away for the weekend with a cabin filled with fratty white guys. “Blindspotting,” co-written by and starring “Hamilton” alum Daveed Diggs, is a drama set in a hyper-real, gentrifying Oakland, Calif. And “Sorry to Trouble You,” one of many pageant’s wildest entries, revolves round a black telemarketer (Lakeith Stanfield) who’s sucked right into a deeply sketchy world when he begins utilizing his “white voice” on his clients.
In its farthest look ahead, the pageant expanded its virtual-reality choices, rolling out one deep-space-set quick, “Spheres: Songs of Spacetime,” which visibly shook up Redford when he watched it (unsurprisingly, maybe, “Mom!” director Darren Aronofsky was a collaborator on it). VR attendees may additionally observe NASA astronauts on their excessive coaching regimens, turn into intergalactic cartoon feminine warriors, journey on Amazonian hallucinogens and really feel ice-cold snowballs and creeping spiders within the palms of their digital arms, in the event that they dared.
This much less bombastic however, in some ways, extra daring Sundance is a throwback to its earliest days within the 1980s, when Redford started to alter the movie panorama along with his scrappy indie pageant. This 12 months, it appears to be on the verge of one other main seismic shift.