03 December, 2010
by Sandy Mandelberger, North American Editor
European films will have a strong showing in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, which runs from 20-30 January in the ski resort town of Park City, Utah. The fact that the films are all world or international premieres is further testament to the Festival’s importance as an international launching pad for films, not only for the North American market. In this sense, Sundance is now competing head-to-head with the Berlin and other European showcases for first access to new European titles. The full roster of films in this year’s Festival was announced yesterday and can be viewed on the Festival website: http://www.sundance.org/festival/
For the World Cinema Dramatic Competition, five European films will compete for the top jury prizes. They include:
• “Days of Respite” (Quelque Jours de Repit, Algeria/France, Amor Hakkar). This timely film tells the story of a pair of gay men who have escaped from Iran who seek safe harbor in a small French village, where a lonely middle-aged woman offers aid.
• “The Guard” (Ireland, John Michael McDonagh). With a high profile cast that includes Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle, and Fionnula Flanagon, this subversive comedy focuses on a small-town cop with a confrontational personality, a fondness for prostitutes and absolutely no interest in the international drug-smuggling ring that has brought a straight-laced FBI agent to his door.
• “Happy, Happy” (Sykt Lykkelig, Norway, Anne Sewitsky). Norwegian actress Agnes Kittelsen stars as a perfect housewife, who just happens to be sex-starved, and struggles to keep her emotions in check when an attractive family moves in next door.
• “Lost Kisses” (I baci mai dati, Italy, Roberta Torre). In this intense coming-of-age tale, a 13-year-old girl in the deprived outskirts of a sprawling Sicilian city becomes a local celebrity when word spreads that she can perform miracles.
• “Tyrannosaur” (United Kingdom, Paddy Considine). Actor-turned-director Considine makes his directorial debut with this powerful drama about a man plagued by self-destructive violence and rage who has a chance of redemption when he meets a Christian charity shop worker with a devastating secret of her own.