By Sean Boelman
After a virtual edition in 2021 that was one of the most successful and talked about film festivals of the year, Sundance hoped to return in 2022 with a hybrid edition to knock cinephiles’ socks off. And while Omicron did derail those plans, Sundance went ahead with an all-virtual edition on the same dates, with only one film in the selection opting out of the pivot.
As a result, film fans across the United States have the opportunity to watch all of the great films that are part of this year’s Sundance lineup from the comfort of their own home. From high-profile premieres of star-studded projects to new discoveries of independent films from the U.S. and abroad, there are plenty of great films to choose from.
We at disappointment media are excited to be covering the 2022 edition of the Sundance Film Festival, and we have gotten the chance to see some of the films that will be playing at the fest beforehand. Here are some of the films that we think you shouldn’t miss this opportunity to see them now:
The Cow Who Sang a Song Into the Future
There is always at least one major discovery to be found in the World Cinema Dramatic competition at Sundance, and hopefully this year, it is the Chilean film The Cow Who Sang a Song Into the Future. There are a lot of moving parts in Francisca Alegria’s drama but they all come together in a way that is profound and poetic. Alegria sets out to explore its central themes in the human drama while also offering a timely environmentalist message, and she pulls it off very confidently, especially given that this is her first feature.
One of the highest-profile films to premiere at this year’s festival, Dual is sure to earn some eyes thanks to it’s A-list cast. Director Riley Stearns’s follow-up to cult-favorite dark comedy The Art of Self-Defense, this film yet again uses his deadpan style, albeit this time in the context of a sci-fi premise. Karen Gillan plays a woman with a terminal illness who clones herself, but then must fight her clone in a duel to the death when she miraculously recovered. It’s a wild premise that’s just as wild in execution as it sounds. You won’t want to miss this.
The French abortion drama Happening was one of three films that France was considering to submit for the Academy Award for Best International Feature (a submission which was given to the not-shortlisted Titane), and they made the wrong choice by not selecting it. Audrey Diwan’s film is absolutely harrowing, and while it deals with subject matter that has been explored in several films recently, none of them has had as visceral of an impact as this one does. It’s a bit on the graphic side, so it’s not for the faint-of-heart, but it’s the type of film that will leave the viewer feeling shaken.
The crisis involving Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was a major news event in 2014, and while that is a major plot point in Maryna Er Gorbach’s film Klondike, there is much more to the film than that. It’s really the story of a family torn apart by the uncertainty of war. It’s the type of film that is just building and building and you’re waiting for it to explode, and once it finally does, it just absolutely crushes you. It’s understated, yet impactful in its approach, and something that will linger long after the credits roll.
Sundance documentaries can be a bit hit-or-miss, but Sierra Pettengill’s Riotsville, USA is one of the most successful in recent memory. Composed entirely of archive footage, the film explores a training compound to help the military and law enforcement prepare to respond to the protests and riots happening in the 1960s. There is an eerie parallelism to be drawn between what was happening then and now, especially in regards to how the government saw it, which makes this one of the most angering films to play at this year’s festival.
The 2022 Sundance Film Festival runs virtually from January 20-30.
The Snake Hole
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