This year’s Sundance Film Festival was the most unique one ever. Due to the pandemic, the fest was a hybrid virtual and in person affair. Along with being able to watch films from the comfort of their homes, film fans were also able to go and see the films live at drive ins and and satellite theaters around the country. The event went off smoothly, with an easy to use platform that came as close to replicating the festival atmosphere as it possibly could. More importantly, there were some great movies. Here are our favorite movies form the recently concluded 2021 Sundance Film Festival.
An emotional documentary that demonstrates what the Harlem Cultural Festival meant to people who were able to see it live in the opening seconds. Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson’s directorial debut is an emotional one that looks at a pivotal time in Black culture. Summer of Soul catalogs the shift in American society while also focusing on fashion and music. The concert footage has never been seen before and is simply amazing.
A frank depiction of the adult film industry, Pleasure is an emotionally powerful film with a great story. Sofia Kappel is fantastic in her debut role as a woman who moves to Los Angeles to become the world’s biggest porn star. The rest of the cast are just as good bringing an almost improvisational feel to the movie. A well crafted story.
Directed by Sean Ellis, Eight for Silver, is a creative twist on a legendary movie monster. This film features fantastic scenery and plays with tension and atmosphere to create a truly creepy tone. Ellis twists folklore and sensibilities of the time setting to introduce a unique terror. Gory and filled with some pretty gruesome visuals, Eight for Silver is a standout in the genre.
BJ’s Mobile Gift Shop is Jason Park’s film about BJ, a young Korean-American, who is a very successful entrepreneur. Ran out of a suitcase, BJ seems to have an endless supply of anything a customer might need. Set in Chicago, Park’s story is clever, funny, and filled with heart. BJ is played by Johnnyboy Tellem who gives a tremendous performance. This short film leaves a lasting impression.
This film is a powerhouse of talent. Starring Daniel Kaluuya, LaKeith Stanfield, Dominique Fishback, and Jesse Plemmons, this historical drama tells the riveting true story about the assassination of Fred Hampton, Chairman of the Black Panther Party. Shaka King’s directing is dynamic and heightens the apprehension of the film’s events. This film is educational and is sure to generate some very important conversations.
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