Friday, February 01, 2008

Park City Dispatch 8––On GreenCine Daily

Docs Rock at Sundance

As in recent years, the documentaries once again stole the show at Sundance 08. Among the 41 films I crammed into nine days, 23 were nonfiction titles.

Topics included: social activism, environmentalism, economic concerns, anti-war issues, the corrosion of democracy, world politics, displacement, gender identity, inspiring senior citizens, and entertaining biographies of Roman Polanski, Hunter S Thompson and Patti Smith.

One festival highlight was certainly the premiere of U2 3D, a genuine concert experience utilizing the technology of 3-D and surround-sound. Leave it to Bono, the Edge, Adam and Larry (all in attendance at the screening, along with Al Gore) to merge rock-and-roll with social activism. After the screening, Bono's response to an audience question about whether the band might consider doing a "deeper" show, inadvertently spoke to the festival's raison d'etre: "Underneath there is a narrative running: social activism, human rights, non-violence. Taking human rights on the road is not a flippant thing to do," he reasoned. "I think you might know that in this country."

I marveled at many of the documentaries' timeliness and the prescience of the filmmakers, many of whom spent upwards of three, four, and five years in production. For example, I.O.U.S.A., Fields of Fuel, Secrecy, Flow: For Love of Water, Dinner with the President, The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo, Slingshot Hip Hop and Bigger, Stronger, Faster each address topics of immediate national and international concern.

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Originally published on GreenCine Daily, 1/31/08.

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