Black Future Feminist fans, we got a special treat for you from our resident intern Jaya Robinson! On this past January, Jaya had the opportunity to attend this year’s Sundance Film Festival which was held in a virtual format!! Check out below her commentary and spoiler-free reviews of some of the festival’s feature films!!
This year I was fortunate enough to attend the Sundance film festival last month, so I thought I would give you guys a spoiler-free review of the four movies I saw!
‘After Yang’ (Directed by Kogonada)
After Yang was the first movie I saw at the virtual festival and it is definitely one of my favorites from the ones I saw. It is a movie set in a very technologically advanced society in the future and it follows one family in particular when their daughter’s android (Yang) breaks down and her father Jake played by Colin Farrell looks for a way to repair him. It is a beautiful movie that deals with loss and human connection. The acting is really a key part of the movie too, along with an excellent cast. The cinematography is also something that I really think of when I hear about this movie, just because it was so beautiful. After Yang is set to be released in theaters on March 4th.
‘Master’ (Directed by Mariama Diallo)
Switching gears almost drastically, the next movie I watched was a horror/commentary on the black experience in academia. The movie follows two characters, Gail Bishop the new “master” at a prestigious New England university, and a student Jasmine Moore that is being terrorized by this “Salem Witch Trials” era legend on the campus. Each navigate different sides of the university’s haunted past and even more terrifying present. This movie was definitely my favorite of all the movies I watched at the festival, the horror aspect and the commentary really made me think of how black women are treated at predominantly white institutions (PWIs). I really loved how the movie was divided into specific chapters that were referenced in the dialogue. Not only was the writing amazing but Regina Hall’s performance really stood out to me, especially seeing her in a much more serious role. This movie will also be available to stream on Amazon Prime on March 18th.
‘892’ (Directed by Abi Damaris Corbin)
892 is another hard hitting movie that is based on a real story. The movie follows Brian Brown Easley who once his disability check fails to deliver from Veterans Affairs is close to becoming homeless. As a result, with no other options in place he decides to hold up a Wells Fargo bank by saying “I’ve got a bomb.” Rather than being a fictional tale this movie is all too real, this movie showcases what some forgotten veterans face. This is usually not the type of genre of movie I gravitate towards, but this movie draws you in completely. Even all the way to the end you are invested into this movie and what will happen next. With stellar performances from John Boyega, who showcases his amazing acting range and Nicole Beharie, these performances really bring the movie together. This movie also features Michael K. Williams’ final role on the big screen.
‘Honk For Jesus, Save Your Soul’ (Directed by Admamma Ebo)
Where do I begin with this well done dark comedy? There is a lot to say about it, but first let us begin with what the movie is about. It follows Trinity Childs played by Regina Hall and her husband Pastor Lee-Curtis Childs played by Sterling K. Brown in the aftermath of a big scandal, trying to rebuild their once prominent church. The writing, in particular, nails the sometimes ridiculous nature of mega churches. It is filmed like an episode of The Office, following the mock documentary format that often lands with the audience. Although it is advertised as a comedy it does do well with juggling two genres of a more serious drama and outright comedy. This is another example of how Regina Hall steals a movie, she puts on another show stopping performance that really makes you invested in the movie. You don’t usually see a mock documentary in a movie format and I think that’s what makes it work, especially for a directorial debut film.
All in all, even though some of the movies that I watched were not some of my favorites, I am really glad I was able to attend and be a part of the Sundance community for the first time. When it is all said and done, I look forward to seeing everyone’s reactions to the movies once they officially release!