Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Future Of Film
The 100 Greatest Video Games
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Kevin Feige:
My Movie Life

The Marvel supremo's pick of the flicks
Want To Be An Empire Journalist?
Find out how here
Empire Blogs
Words From The Wise

Back to all blogs Comment Now

Sundance 2013: The Round-Up Part 4

Posted on Monday January 28, 2013, 18:18 by Damon Wise in Words From The Wise
Sundance 2013: The Round-Up Part 4

Documentaries continue to thrive at Sundance, and music docs are usually well served there, having hosted the world premieres of DiG!, Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man And Patti Smith: Dream Of Life in recent years. This year saw the debut of Brett Morgan's film about The Eagles, but instead I opted for Greg Camalier's Muscle Shoals, about an area of smalltown Alabama that in long stretches of the 60s and 70s changed the sound of modern music forever. At nearly two hours it may be too much for the uninitiated, but for fans of the Muscle Shoals sound – borrowed by artists as diverse as Aretha Franklin, the Rolling Stones and Lynard Skynard – it may not be enough.

Taking a steady, organic approach to the medium, Camalier's film makes a nice change from the usual TV-ready docs that use rapid-fire talking-head soundbites to push the story forward. Instead, the musicians are given time to tell their stories, and though all are engrossing, few are quite as remarkable as those of Rick Hall, who established the Fame Studio there in the early 60s. Hall is incredible, a real Southern redneck who lived wild as a child and grew up to embrace the R&B sound that was coming from his neighbourhood. Through Hall, that sound evolved and expanded, aided by master musicians such as David Hood, Dan Penn, Jimmy Johnson and Spooner Oldham, who confounded the press and music industry by not being black, as their music suggested. The music is obviously unbelievable, starting with Wilson Pickett's Land Of 1,000 Dances, but this is also a very human story and convincing argument that sometimes the soul comes before the sound.

“James Franco Presents Kink” said the poster at the screening I attended, but sadly the actor/producer wasn't on hand to do the honours for Christina Voros's study of San Francisco fetish website kink.com. Fetish might be an understatement, as kink.com is most definitely NSFW, being a site devoted to BDSM: Bondage, Domination and Sado-Masochism. Voros's film certainly goes the distance, featuring extreme sex and graphic nudity, but she does find the real personalities behind such a dark form of pornography and there is a lot of humour here – plus it's fascinating to see what porno looks like when it's de-aestheticised. It did get a little repetitive, though, and though Kink does try to show the kink.com filmmakers as artists, their work ethic seems a little bit flaky at best.

With all the talk of gun control in the run-up to Sundance, I figured Valentine Road would be a must-see. Although it's an interesting film about a terrible murder, I'm not sure it will travel much outside the US. It tells the story of Larry King, who, at 14, decided to indulge in his transgender fantasies, flirting with a white supremacist the same age and getting a bullet in the head for his troubles. King's story is heartbreaking, and it's touching to see so many schoolfriends still keeping his memory alive, but the Marta Cunningham's tender film also shows how his killer's story wasn't simple either; both boys came from troubled homes, making the final outcome all the more miserable and needless. However – and it is quite a big however – this accomplished doc does go a little soft on the adults in the story, from the dippy teacher who gave little Larry a dress to another who practically calls him the Antichrist. Disappointingly, the issue of gun control simply comes and goes.

More angry and engaged was Audrey Ewell and Aaron Aites's 99 percent – The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film, a very handing recapping of the life and impact of New York's reaction to the financial crisis of 2008. At first the film appears to be a simple, sympathetic document of the initial occupation, and after 20 minutes you might wonder where it will go next. But instead of staying with the obvious, the filmmakers begin to explore the other strands of the story, following individuals whose lives were impacted by the movement in unexpected ways, from a woman whose house is being repossessed to a former cop who allows himself to be arrested in uniform. Rather excellently, it not only articulates the problem, 99 percent also offers something in the way of a solution. It won't be enough but it may prove ammunition for a stealthy class war that, as this timely film shows, is affecting us in more ways than we may ever know.

Coming next: Escape From Tormorrow, Blue Caprice, The Way Way Back...


Login or register to comment.

Currently No Comments

Log in below, or register to post comments
Username:
Password:
Remember Me:

CATEGORIES

Empire States (440)

Under The Radar (317)

Infinite Lives (92)

Small Screen (57)

Words From The Wise (35)

Cannes 2011 (28)

Off The Wire (24)

Comic-Con 2010 (21)

Casting Couch (2)

Oscars 2011 (1)


RECENT POSTS

4K Or Not 4K?: First Look At Sharp's '2.5K' Quattron Pro Technology
By James Dyer

Sherlock Series 3, Episode 3: ‘His Last Vow’ - Initial Spoiler-Filled Reaction
By Ali Plumb

Sherlock Series 3, Episode 2: ‘The Sign Of Three’ - Initial Spoiler-Filled Reaction
By Ali Plumb

Sherlock Series 3, Episode 1: 'The Empty Hearse' - Initial Spoiler-Filled Reaction
By Ali Plumb

Empire Visits Fresh Meat Season 2
By Phil de Semlyen

True Blood: Season Four - What A Witch
By Helen O'Hara

My Problems With Sherlock
By Ali Plumb

Supernatural Vs. The Vampire Diaries: Battle of the Buffy Successors
By Helen O'Hara

Why The US Office Is Undeniably Better Than The Original
By Ali Plumb

The Walking Dead: Days Gone Bye
By James White


RECENT COMMENTS

4K Or Not 4K?: First Look At Sharp's '2.5K' Quattron Pro Technology
"It doesn't matter if there are 50 billion pixels. The human eye cans perceive anything smaller than "  rubenjames
Read comment

4K Or Not 4K?: First Look At Sharp's '2.5K' Quattron Pro Technology
"4K TVs are actually not that expensive anymore and the 'Quattron' costs 2.300€ (60inches).<"  DrGreenSkunk
Read comment

4K Or Not 4K?: First Look At Sharp's '2.5K' Quattron Pro Technology
"So this is basically the "HD-ready" version of 4K."  grucl
Read comment

Sherlock Series 3, Episode 2: ‘The Sign Of Three’ - Initial Spoiler-Filled Reaction
"Terribly self indulgent episode, I fear Sherlock has crawled up his own a*se!"  darthmhall101
Read comment

Sherlock Series 3, Episode 3: ‘His Last Vow’ - Initial Spoiler-Filled Reaction
"It was by the far the best episode of series 3, with a good plot, engaging villain and great dialogu"  dunc2001
Read comment

Sherlock Series 3, Episode 3: ‘His Last Vow’ - Initial Spoiler-Filled Reaction
"With all this talk of Bond I can't find any mention here of the MOST obvious link. Mycroft at the e"  JediBobster
Read comment

Sherlock Series 3, Episode 3: ‘His Last Vow’ - Initial Spoiler-Filled Reaction
"nobody else think magnussen was blind ? I also think the irish bird is either moriarty or his sist"  elsquig
Read comment

Sherlock Series 3, Episode 3: ‘His Last Vow’ - Initial Spoiler-Filled Reaction
"Sorry but I was kind of disappointed with 'Series' 3 (series being a loose term for 3 episodes!).<"  MDG_78
Read comment

Sherlock Series 3, Episode 3: ‘His Last Vow’ - Initial Spoiler-Filled Reaction
"I enjoyed this episode and thought it was a good finale for season 3. But is it just me or are they "  Pandora
Read comment

Sherlock Series 3, Episode 3: ‘His Last Vow’ - Initial Spoiler-Filled Reaction
"So many "M" names - Moriarty, Mary, Magnussen, Mycroft, Molly, Mike Stamford, even Mrs Hud"  craftyexpat
Read comment


POPULAR POSTS

What's The Best TV Show Ever?
307 comments

Lost: The End
112 comments

The Show Must Go On
102 comments

Why The US Office Is Undeniably Better Than The Original
57 comments

My Problems With Sherlock
49 comments

Sherlock Holmes And The Curious Case Of The Princess Bride
43 comments

Supernatural Vs. The Vampire Diaries: Battle of the Buffy Successors
35 comments

Can Claudia Winkleman Save Film 2010?
20 comments

Can Torchwood Travel?
16 comments

Sherlock Series 3, Episode 2: ‘The Sign Of Three’ - Initial Spoiler-Filled Reaction
15 comments


BLOGGERS
Damon Wise (297)
Helen O'Hara (168)
James Dyer (86)
Amar Vijay (71)
Ali Plumb (56)
James White (29)
Phil de Semlyen (19)
Owen Williams (15)
Ally Wybrew (2)
Ben Kirby (1)
Ian Nathan (1)
Dan Jolin (1)
David Parkinson (1)

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Making Of The Lost Pilot: An Oral History
The cast and crew look back at the epic season opener…

Empire's Gone Girl Review
Our official verdict on David Fincher's adaptation of the best-selling novel

The Future Of Film: The Streaming Services Will Be Major Studios
(Or how Hollywood will have to start worrying about Netflix)

The Empire Podcast #129: Liam Neeson Interview
Plus Max Irons, Sam Claflin, Douglas Booth, Holliday Grainger and Jessica Brown Findlay drop by to talk The Riot Club

The Future Of Film: We'll Be Watching Films In Virtual Reality
Immerse cinema aims to become the must-have experience for the filmgoers of the future

The Future Of Film: Cinema Will Cross The Uncanny Valley
The future of VFX, from believable digital humans to underwater mocap

The Future Of Film: There Will Be Another Indie Golden Age
Independent producers are growing from micro-budgets to something a lot bigger

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)