Day Five took an unpredictable turn for me this year — a first in my nine year history at Sundance — where I did not see one film, did not go to one party, and did not leave the comfort of my condo, due to the terrible chest cold and cough I’ve tried to fight off without success. I’m sorry to report that the biggest news of the day was that I slept in until noon, and the second highlight was the load of laundry I did with all my long underwear and wool socks that have been keeping me warm this week. Fortunately, the views out each of the windows in the Deer Valley condo I’m staying are conducive to writing, so I was able to catch up on some of my Sundance coverage. Fueled by Emergen-C, Airborne cocktails and Odwalla Monster-C juice, I was determined to spend the day at rest so that I could kick this cold quick.
Getting some distance from the festival and all its hoopla was actually quite good. I’m here for 10 days, so it was nice to be able to recharge a little bit, and reflect on some of the films I’ve had the chance to see this week. Some of the recurring themes I’ve noticed this year (in the US Narrative Competition films) is typical Sundance fare: love and sex, self discovery, drugs and recovery, and the struggles of living in a rough economy. This year seems like there is even more of a focus on characters trying overcome hard times with the hope of having a better life. Perhaps now, more than ever before, there is a relatable quality to these films because of our collective experience (I’m speaking about the 99%) living in a country that is suffering economically. Through very personal storytelling, Sundance films provide a window to the issues and concerns of the day, and its no surprise that we are seeing films that matter even more. If you want to escape you can head to your local multiplex, but if you would like to be affected emotionally in ways that surprise you, you come to Sundance.