In the fifth episode of the Sundance 2023 podcast season, we discuss some of this year’s buzziest titles, including William Oldroyd’s film Eileen, Andrew Durham’s film Fairyland, and some hidden gems like Babak Jalali’s film Fremont and Rachel Lambert’s film Sometimes I Think About Dying.
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Listen to the whole Sundance 2023 season
Today is the third of many episodes of the 2023 Sundance season of the Seventh Row podcast.
Sundance 2023 runs from January 19-28, and we’ll be covering this year’s festival in a new podcast season about the films this year and how the programming fits into the festival’s history.
Listen to all the episodes to discover the year’s best and worst films, and how this year’s program jives with past festivals.
About the episode: Eileen, Fairyland, Fremont, Sometimes I Think About Dying, and more films
- 00:00 Introduction
- 01:49 Brief thoughts on Mutt, Cassandro, Polite Society, Theater Camp
- 17:58 Sometimes I Think About Dying directed by Rachel Lambert
- 28:45 Fremont by Babak Jalali
- 36:16 Eileen by William Oldroyd
- 51:43 Fairyland by Andrew Durham
- 1:08:59 Sundance bingo
In this episode, we discuss some of the buzziest films of the first half of the festival and some of our favourites — though there isn’t much overlap. We give brief thoughts on the films Mutt, Cassandro (starring Gael García Bernal), Polite Society, and Theater Camp. Next, we go deep on festival favourites like the sophomore feature films from Rachel Lambert (Sometimes I Think About Dying) and William Oldroyd (Eileen), as well as Babak Jalali’s low-budget film Fremont. We also discuss why the film Fairyland. about queer culture in San Francisco in the 70s/80s and the AIDS crisis, was disappointing.
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The Seventh Row Podcast spotlights under-the-radar, female-directed, and foreign films. All of our episodes are carefully curated. Indeed, we only discuss films we think are really worth your time and deserve in-depth critical analysis.
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How to follow our Sundance 2023 coverage
Subscribe to our newsletter for updates on the 2023 Sundance podcast season and coverage on the website.
Follow Seventh Row on Twitter and Instagram @SeventhRow; Alex Heeney on Twitter and Instagram @bwestcineaste; and Orla Smith on Twitter and Instagram.
Show Notes on the E5 of the Sundance 2023 podcast season:
- Read Orla Smith’s analysis of Thomasin McKenzie’s performance in Leave No Trace, which appears in our ebook Leave No Trace: A Special Issue. Leave No Trace premiered at Sundance, and McKenzie returns to Sundance this year as the lead of William Oldroyd’s Eileen.
- Read Alex Heeney’s analysis of Gael García Bernal’s performance in Ema, and why he is one of the very best actors working today. Bernal stars in and is the highlight of Cassandro.
- View the list of all of the films covered on the Sundance 2023 podcast
- Sundance 2023 season (FREE): Catch up with all of our episodes.
- Discover all of our past podcast episodes on films that screened at Sundance.
Related episodes to E5
All of our podcasts that are more than six months old are only available to members. We also regularly release members only bonus episodes. Many of the episodes listed here are now only available to members (Members Only).
- Ep. 1: Leave No Trace (FREE): We first fell in love with Thomasin McKenzie for her work in the Sundance film Leave No Trace, which we wrote a book about. In this companion episode to the book, we discuss why the film was so great and what a talent McKenzie is. McKenzie returned to Sundance this year as the star of William Oldroyd’s film Eileen.
- Ep. 22: The King (FREE): In this crossover episode with our Shakespeare Podcast, 21st Folio, we watch the terrible film The King for you, and report back on what a mess it is and how under-used Thomasin McKenzie is.
- Ep. 91: AIDS on screen, featuring It’s a Sin (MEMBERS ONLY): In this episode, we give an overview of films/TV/recorded theatre dating back to the 1990s that have addressed the AIDS crisis. It’s a must listen before seeing Fairyland and offers many recommendations for films that address the AIDS crisis well (which Fairyland does not).
- Ep. 98: Angels in America adaptations (MEMBERS ONLY): Tony Kushner’s Angels in America is one of the most famous AIDS plays, and we delve deep into the HBO miniseries and the National Theatre’s 2016 recorded production. We also talk about how the two productions address the AIDS crisis and how the views of the play have shifted in the last 20 years.
Listen to all the related episodes. Become a member.
For exclusive access to all of our episodes, including all of our in-between season episodes:
For exclusive access to all of our episodes, including all of our in-between season episodes:
Speakers on this episode
Host Alex Heeney is the Editor-in-Chief of Seventh Row. Find her on Twitter @bwestcineaste.
Host Orla Smith is the Executive Editor of Seventh Row. Find her on Instagram @orla_p_smith.
The transcript for the free excerpt of this episode was AI-generated by Otter.ai.
Alex Heeney 0:16
Welcome to the fifth episode of The Sundance 2023 Season of the seven throw podcast, Sundance runs from January 19 to 2920 23. Today we'll be discussing Eileen, Fairyland. Sometimes I think about dying and other films we've seen so far. I'm Alex Heeney, editor in chief of seventh row, and this is my 10th year covering Sundance.
Orla Smith 0:39
I'm Orla Smith, the executive editor of seventh row and this is my fourth year covering festival.
Alex Heeney 0:47
Sundance marks the beginning of the new film year as a festival made up primarily of world premieres. In this podcast season, we'll be talking both about the films we see at the festival and how the films is here fit into the context of the history of the festivals, programming.
Orla Smith 1:02
And the last few days have been mixed bag.
Alex Heeney 1:07
We've seen a lot of bad films like some that are so bad, we're like, should we even mention them?
Orla Smith 1:14
And to be clear, with these episodes will be coming out several days after they actually recorded. So if you see us raving about films on Twitter in real time, ya know that we are stuck in the past in a bit of a slump?
Alex Heeney 1:32
Yeah. And we're gonna save the discussion of some of the bad films for later. Till we both seen them, like cat person.
Orla Smith 1:41
Oh, yeah, I can't attest to it being bad, but I trust that it is. And I like it. Okay. But yeah, I mean, I think there are a few films up top that like we don't really want to linger on.
Alex Heeney 1:55
We just want to say that they were. Well, I guess you liked one of them.
Orla Smith 2:00
Did I? Didn't you? Oh, yes. Yes, I did. I liked Mutt.Yes. Well, I guess let's start there. Mutt I liked fine enough. It's in the US Dramatic competition. It's about a trans man in New York City, navigating a day in the life, you know, interacting with people from his past like his estranged sister, his estranged father, his rangement Yes, his estranged, I suppose ex boyfriend from from before he came out. And it's, you know, it's very Sundance.
Orla Smith 2:49
But I will give credit to the film that, when it began, I basically said to myself, I was like, you know, boyfriend shows up, like, all these things happened, like, okay, and practice out loud to myself. And then this is going to happen at the end. And by that point, you know, like, this character will have an I really felt like, I knew the cliches this was going to follow because so many Sundance films do. And I think actually, the film really self consciously does subvert some things in a way that felt quite refreshing. Like, like this boyfriend appears, and the boyfriend previously, you know, thought he was in a relationship with a woman. And then our main character came out as a trans man. And they haven't really talk sense. And you assume that the the blow up was very much just like a gay panic thing or like him not being able to accept that he's trans or whatever.
Orla Smith 3:48
But then it turns out actually that the thing that ended their relationship was a lot more complicated and not just one sided. I thought that was really interesting, although I really think the film kind of picks it up and drops it off a bit. And it could have been really interesting to explore kind of the character or main characters of an unreliable narrator. But I do appreciate a lot of the ways the film subverted cliche. The dialogue can also be like pretty stilted at times, and very rightfully, like, I am writing a screenplay. And yeah, I I'd say is worth checking out. Maybe not urgently. That's certainly not the worst that the US dramatic competition has
Alex Heeney 4:42
but the big news of it is Henry Gamble's in it,
Orla Smith 4:45
Henry Gamble. I shouted Henry Gamble by TV. This actor Cole Doman he looks really familiar. The film he plays he plays the ex boyfriend. And I was like, Who is this guy? I looked it up and he's Harry gamble from her new grandpa's birthday party. And we love Henry gamble. So that was a really that was a really pleasant pleasant surprise
Alex Heeney 5:10
I actually did that when I watched Cassandro, "I went It's taco with the K not a C like you might you look like you think it might be with a C but it's with a K". That's from girls
Orla Smith 5:24
love to talk to my my screen in the middle of a virtual Sundance 20 films in and also Mutt has like there's okay well, I was talking to a friend of the podcast Fiona Underhill about how many how many movies this year like a big theme is periods.
Alex Heeney 5:46
Orla Smith 5:47
So you have so far I've seen I think periods should kind of
Alex Heeney 5:52
go yes like first period and fancy dance there's period sex in
Orla Smith 5:58
fair play. In polite society, like one of the ways that they managed to get through like guards in polite society is by like telling the guard I have to get through because like the bride you know, she I need to bring her this tickers you know, she she used is that time of the month, and the guard is like so flustered that he lets them in because he doesn't want to ask questions about periods. So periods are like a breaking it and entering device.
Alex Heeney 6:28
Thomas McKenzie's character shouts Well, at least I have a time of the month.
Orla Smith 6:33
But Mutt, actually, like has a really, really similar period.. dynamic, we're gonna say that, to fancy dance because it's in the section of the film, where the main characters estranged Young 13 year old sister is hanging out with him in the day. And then the sister gets her first period. And he has to kind of like help her through that experience. And it becomes like a moment of bonding between them when they have quite a tense relationship to start with. So you have in both those films that kind of dynamic of like, older character and a younger relative having their first period, so periods are really front of the mind of the Sundance programmers this year.
Alex Heeney 7:29
So speaking of taco with a K that is a character played by Roberta Collindrez, who shows up in Cassandra, a film about Lucha Libre rest wrestling, which is like a form of Mexican wrestling. I honestly could not care less about anything related to wrestling, but I watched this movie because Gael Garcia Bernal always delivers. And it's a movie in which Gael Garcia Bernal delivers. screenplay is like pretty blah. It's kind of like he wasn't closeted, but then when he took on playing an exotico character, which is like, I guess there are different kinds of characters in Lucha Libre, and one of them is I don't know, I guess flamboyant. They don't really explain what it is. But he kind of dresses up in a more flamboyant way. He kind of finds another side to himself. That's part performance, but maybe also like part a part that he'd been repressing. Yeah, it's kind of just about his rise that once he does that, he then becomes famous. And you watch that happen, which is not very interesting, but you know, Gael Garcia Bernal like, what can't this man do? I really don't know that there's anything this man can't do, including rocking another bad hairstyle.
Orla Smith 8:59
And similarly, what ways can movie continue to under use Raul Castillo? Many
Alex Heeney 9:06
apparently many, many ways. He shows up for a hot minute to be Cassandro's boyfriend, or as his real name is Saul, Saul's boyfriend, but like his closeted boyfriend who's actually married and they have to keep it a secret. And he's Raulo Castillo's character plays a top and he's sort of a jerk to Saul because he's closeted and worried about losing his kids and his wife. And that's kind of the not much else happens with him. There's a sex scene.
Orla Smith 9:48
Someone should give him a good roll again.
Alex Heeney 9:51
Somebody really should give him a good role again,
Orla Smith 9:55
Andrew Haigh get in here.
Alex Heeney 9:56
I know. If only he liked working with the same actors multiple times. Seems like he should write.
Orla Smith 10:03
Only Tom Courtenay gets the privilege.
Alex Heeney 10:05
Yeah. Well, like you could give Raul Castillo a nice like supporting role in something. Yeah. I will say it's a step up from Roger Ross Williams is last. Which I did not like life animated actually did not like would be an understatement. didn't hate Cassandro. So there you go.
Orla Smith 10:29
What else have we seen? I saw polite society, the new, plucky British comedy. It was fine. My one thing I'll say about it is I think it does the tone that it's trying to do. And that tone is not for me. People have said that it's like Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. And I would say that that's pretty accurate. And I don't like that film. So if you do like that film, there's a good chance that you'll have a lot of fun with this. But I didn't love it. There's some weird this is always fun to think about and British film, so some weird class stuff. In the film, which was the thing that I like kept bugging me throughout. First of all, like they go to a private school, the main character, but it's not really like mentioned, I only know that because that some point, one of her parents is like, make some offhand comment about you know, how hard they work to put them in that school or whatever. But like, nobody who goes to the school like has like, a posh accent, which you would like, at least some people would have. It just seemed
Alex Heeney 11:46
If they didn't have it going in, they would have it coming out.
Orla Smith 11:49
Yeah. And it has like the sex education syndrome of portraying like British schools where like, everything looks like how American high schools are portrayed in a way except that they have uniforms. But the uniforms are like not look like that look at any uniform have ever seen in British school,
Alex Heeney 12:09
do they also say grade 12 Instead of like, fifth form
Orla Smith 12:12
we don't get into that, but I'm sure that they would. And also they have 16 year olds driving and owning cars, which is also seems like a very American thing. And like, there's also like a bunch of guns in the movie, which I know like, can exist in England, but it just like makes me feel like I'm watching an American film. And people just like have guns around.
Orla Smith 12:33
And the main character like I think the film is trying to talk about class to some extent, because the main character sister is marrying this guy who is like mega rich, like they live in like a mansion. And so the film in the film, the main characters are positioned as like the the poor family who are marrying up. But it's like an even though I know that it's true in comparison to this guy. It's so funny to watch it. Because I have so much house envy for them, like they live like right near shepherd's bush, which is like pretty, pretty like towards the, you know, it's not on the very outskirts of London, and they have like a really big suburban house like a very lovely, lovely house. And as someone who is like thinking about where I'm going to be living in four months, and constantly stressing about that, I'd be like, I would be happy to live in just one room of your house. Your house must be so expensive. So that was what I was thinking about when I was watching polite society. And it's, it's fine to me. I'm sure it will find its audience
Alex Heeney 13:44
theater camp, which we both saw. Neither of us really liked it. I don't think
Orla Smith 13:51
it has a couple moments.
Alex Heeney 13:54
It has a good like last 10 minutes when you actually get to see them put on the show that they've been doing throughout the film.
Orla Smith 14:03
But it's not bad.
Alex Heeney 14:04
It's no no. It's like it's just good enough.
Orla Smith 14:08
Yeah, you know,
Alex Heeney 14:09
it's it's intended, it's if I
Orla Smith 14:11
was one of those parents going to the theater camp, final show. And I would be expecting to be like bored, I would be like pretty pleased with what they gave me at the end. But yeah,
Alex Heeney 14:24
as someone who was a musical theater camp kid for many, many, many years, I can't say I saw any of my experiences reflected on screen aside from that I know some of those songs and yes, we sang them at theater camp. Yeah, it was just like kind of like two dimensional and not very funny and try
Orla Smith 14:42
fit can't, can't decide if it if it wants the characters to be two dimensional in the in the with the intent of going for something more absurdist or if it wants to be real people we care about and it kind of flip flops between the two. And then like at the end it expects us to care about that. And when it hasn't done any of the work to set that up, and it kind of has very little structure.
Alex Heeney 15:08
It has things that are supposed to be like theater inside jokes. But there are like as inside as Tar jokes are like, if you've ever been like if you've ever listened to classical music, there's nothing insider-y about it. It's just like, the difference between you've listened to some classical music and you have it. And like this is like, Have you ever heard of a musical theater show? Then you know, who Kander and Ebb are? That's not like a funny thing. And that's kind of where this film sits. Like they didn't even have interesting commentary about like, say what audition song people chose to sing. And what that says about them, it's just eugh.
Orla Smith 15:50
I think some of the jokes in isolation hit. Some of them, like delivered pretty well. I mean, I think the actors are doing a bad job. No, just for Yeah. It was formalises the word
Alex Heeney 16:04
it was done through improvisation. And yeah, you can tell like, Yeah, I mean, you implication well, and then edit it, but maybe they didn't actually get enough good material. So
Orla Smith 16:17
yeah, I mean, as someone who has watched a lot of mumblecore film, you, you need to take the right lessons from that kind of approach to making a film, which is you need to like make sure that you have a very solid structure to improvise within. And this movie doesn't particularly. It does feel like it was sort of thrown together from like people being like, Oh, this is funny. I'll do that quickly. Oh, this is funny. And some of which are funny, but it doesn't string together at all. So I just kind of you kind of feel lost in the middle of this big sludge.
Orla Smith 17:05
All of our episodes are carefully curated so that we only discuss films we think are really worth your time and deserve in depth critical analysis. We tend to dedicate episodes to thought provoking under discussed films that no other podcast will cover with such depth. We've talked in this episode about a few of the films or topics that we've covered in such episodes. Like Leave No Trace, sorry, Thomasin McKenzie, and our episode on interest in America adaptations as well as our episode that tackles a brief history of AIDS on screen to listen to all of our episodes become a member today. You'll also get a discount in our shop to purchase our books and filmmakers like Celine Sciamma, Kelly Reichardt and Joanna Hogg. All of whom have screened at Sundance to become a member go to seven dash ro.com/join.
Alex Heeney 17:58
Shall we talk about sometimes I think about dying, which was a film we both liked. And I was hotly anticipating because I had seen heard about I think when we recorded recorded the episode heard about Rachel Lambert's debut, and I think that watched her debut tweet Yes, a great Marin, Ireland who will come back to you when we
Orla Smith 18:20
Oh, yeah. Yeah. And so this is a strange case, sometimes I think about dying, because it is a film based on a short, which is, you know, common, but it's the short film was not directed by Rachel Lambert. Yeah. The short film was directed by another person who is, is the former director, the I believe one of the writers in the film is the person who directed the short film, but she did not direct this Rachel Lambert did. And I feel like that's, that's i It seems, I guess what happened there is a writer was like, I'm not the best person to direct my scripts. And don't we always say that more writers should do that. Or the other way around?
Alex Heeney 19:03
It's usually directors that shouldn't write. Usually, the writers that direct are like, late in their career, like Martin McDonough, and have a big ego and decide their directors now.
Orla Smith 19:16
Yeah, I mean, I also think you see a lot of like, first-time writer-directors at festivals, like Sundance, who don't know how to kind of, I mean, maybe their scripts are bad do maybe their scripts are right, who knows, but they certainly most of them don't know how to, like, block a scene. And and the thing about this film is Rachel Lambert really does know to make a film. This is really formally well executed, thoughtful. I was wary of it at first, especially before you told me that Rachel Lambert was a bit more of a known quantity. Because it does look like it could be so Sundance-y See it's called Sometimes I think about dying. It's you, you get afraid that that's going to be like, isn't this quirky? And the movie really pleasantly surprised me? Because like, it's really not like that. It's very understated, I'd say,
Alex Heeney 20:19
Yeah, I mean, it's like 20 minutes into the film, before we find out that Daisy Ridley is going to speak and in an American accent.
Orla Smith 20:26
Yeah, she really doesn't talk a lot.
Alex Heeney 20:30
I think what I really liked about it, I mean, is like, it's about this woman who's kind of lonely and isolated. And Rachel Lambert is really good with her sound design, and her blocking reframing to really make you feel how this woman is surrounded by other people at work. But that only makes her feel more and more alone. Yeah, and as she sort of starts to open up a little bit toward the end of the film, a little bit being the operative word here. Like the nature of those background sounds, just sort of like starts to change a little bit. And they feel a little bit warmer as a bit as opposed to, like, Quite so. Harsh and unpleasant. It's like a difference between office chatter where you like, want to kill yourself. And literally, she does think about dying. And imagine various ways of killing herself. And, and then later, it's sort of like, more of a feeling of, oh, there's kind of some community around me.
Orla Smith 21:29
Yeah. And, and it captures an office so well, like she, she lives in Oregon, right in a more kind of remote parts of Oregon. Which, by the way, for a film about sometimes I think about called Sundance, I think about dying about a depressed person. I found like the opening, like 15 minutes of this film, kind of so soothing in a way, because it actually looks really nice to live there. Yeah.
Alex Heeney 22:05
Nice everywhere. Yeah. Pacific Northwest is nice.
Orla Smith 22:09
Yeah. And you get a lot of like, you know, slow shots of the environment. And I'm like, I could do with a little time spent here. Oh, like a place where you can have an office job and afford like a decent home by you live by yourself. I like to live there. But yeah, I don't know. It's the office itself is just like, I think they work in some kind of like, Administration for shipping.
Alex Heeney 22:41
Yeah, the port authority for the tiny town they live in?
Orla Smith 22:46
Yes. So they're like, right by the ocean. And it's a very, like, plain dingy office. But like they have she has populated this office with like, really good character actors who
Alex Heeney 23:04
they feel like people who could be in a Soderbergh film.
Orla Smith 23:07
Yeah. There's they so like, mundane in the kind of chatter they have, but so real, and so idiosyncratic. Each each of the people in the office you really get to know and you really get to know like the type they are. They all feel really distinct. Like real people. They look like real people.
Orla Smith 23:28
And there's really funny bits, like when they have a new person in the office, and they'll have a meeting. And they all have to go around and say their name and their favorite food. And each of their answers is really funny in their own ways, including friends, which is friend I like cottage cheese. which no one no one's hurt food is classed as cheese except for Fran.
Orla Smith 23:55
And yeah, I like she does such a good job of creating a weld and a mood. And this script is quite simple, but it's like and I think in another directors hands the simplicity and straightforwardness of the script could feel like could make for quite a boring film. But because Rachel Lambert creates this world that feels so real. I was perfectly happy to kind of live within it and follow Fran within it. And she she completely elevates the material. Yeah. Yeah, and I think Daisy Ridley is really good in it as well. Like, I mean, again, like she's surrounded by very skilled character actors, and she's more of a star but she This is a part that again, if it had been played with more quirks and could have come across really grating but she really, really You underplays the role, and sells Fran as quite a thoughtful person. Even though she is very quiet and very withdrawn and very unsure of how to ingratiate herself socially.
Alex Heeney 25:18
Yeah, I think it's kind of a, it's, it seems like unexpected casting, but it's actually kind of smart casting because you think, Well, what made her good in Star Wars was it's not really the speaking parts. It's all the stuff in between, and the ability to like, embody the character. And I think this movie really makes use of that. That's, you know, it's worth recognizing that that's a skill. And that that brings to the film.
Orla Smith 25:45
And actually Sundance is like, full of like, British actors. Look, who look kind of like Daisy Ridley. I'm referring to Amelia Jones and Emilia Clarke. And I think Daisy Ridley shows herself to be of all the type. That's the most actually skilled.
Alex Heeney 26:08
Yeah. I my one issue with the film is also an issue I had with Rachel Lambert's first film, in the radiant city, which is, she tends to like to make films about these sort of like vague, central characters. And I think she doesn't want to make choices about them, because she wants them to seem she like wants to live in that ambiguity, which is often a good idea. But I still felt like I didn't really know Fran by the end. And like part of that's because friend doesn't know who she is. But like that's a problem in sometimes I think about sorry, not that this is something to think about dying.
Alex Heeney 26:47
There's also a problem in the radiant city where it's about this, these two brothers, one of them is in prison, and for doing something horrible, and his brothers snitched on him. And it's about the brother coming back home to their small town after 20 years, to go to the to his brother's trial. And they wonder the family wonders whether they can get this estranged brother to speak in favor of the incarcerated brother. And the film never really answers the question of like, why did he do it? Or how does he feel about it? Instead, it raises questions that I'm not sure she was intending to raise, like, did they both do it and one of them took the blame. And so like, there's a lot of great atmosphere, and you're like really drawn in and want to know more about these characters.
Alex Heeney 27:38
But I feel like both films kind of keep you out a bit of a remove from these characters in a way that I found a bit frustrating. And that might be more script thing. And she did co write her first feature, but she didn't write this one. But it seems like it might also be like a, an interest of hers, like trying to have vague characters. And I don't necessarily think that you have to have characters who have clear cut ideas, but sometimes it's I felt it was a bit alienating in both of her films. So I'm curious to see where she goes next. Because I think she gets really great actors, and gets really great performances out of them. Or even gets great performances out of actors you didn't necessarily know were great. And, and like you said, she's really really I think she's a really great visual style is really skilled at sound and image and blocking and framing. And you don't see that a lot. Her films don't look like anybody else's films. All right, speaking of the Pacific Northwest.
Orla Smith 28:46
Yeah. Fremont I wanted to talk about even though you haven't seen this film, Alex, it's one of my favorites for the festival so far. And I found it to be quite a good double bill with sometimes I think about dying. I mean, I watch them one one day and on the next because they're both first of all that like exactly the same length. For reasons that work for both films have tight 90 minute. Yeah. Which is always nice. Yeah. And they've been,
Alex Heeney 29:21
you know, the 90 Minute films have had a higher batting average this year than the two hour plus films. Yeah, there's a reason for it.
Orla Smith 29:28
Love the two most of the two hour plus films I've wondered, why is this two hour plus? Yeah. So this is also a character study about a very isolated, young woman who doesn't really speak to a lot of people or have many strong relationships. Who is I think the film also is reluctant to fill in details. about her character in the same way that is true about sometimes I think about dying, although we do. I think we learn maybe slightly more about her background through scenes where she's in talking to a psychiatrist. And he is really, you know, you know, trying to get information out of her that she is very unwilling to give. But this film is, it has a, it's about a young woman of about 24, called Donya, who is from Afghanistan. And she came to Fremont, California, eight months previously, and has been working in a fortune cookie factory. And she to start the movie, she just is working like packaging up the fortune cookies, and she has a friend who she does it with, who's kind of one of her only friends. And then she gets promoted to the person who writes the fortunes, which is very exciting. And she, we kind of just follow the rhythms of her life, the film is short and black and white, and it has a very odd time tone, it's kind of very deadpan and slightly surreal in the way that dialogue is delivered and the way that people act. Not totally surreal, but slightly heightened, which just kind of serves to highlight her alienation, I suppose. And it took me a while to get used to the way that the film was pitching itself to me. But it really, I think, eventually settles in, and it really works. So we see her at the fortune cookie factory, we see her spending time with her one friend who works a fortune cookie factory. We see her regularly going to a restaurant run by an Afghan man who she talks to and watches, soap operas in their language. And then we see her at the motel where she lives talking to some of the other immigrants who work there. And then we see her she she can't sleep and all she wants is a prescription for sleeping pills. But in order to get them she has to actually talk to a psychiatrist, which she was doesn't want to do. And so we see their repeated conversations. And he is very funny. And he said by Greg Turkington, who is also one of those people who, whose face you probably recognize, but his name, you probably don't know. And he was
Alex Heeney 32:35
meant by Rick aalverson, who I interviewed about that
Orla Smith 32:41
film. Yeah. And I think he was in the comedy as well. Bear and gamble. Yeah, he was. And yes, he's like, his performance is very, is very funny. He tries many different methods by which to get through to her such as like showing her his favorite book, which is White Fang by Jack London, he says is my favorite story about an immigrant. And then he tells her the entire plot of White Fang, and he can't stop himself from crying at the end. And she is very unmoved. And then she gives him one of her fortune cookies, and he spends about a minute struggling to unwrap it. And then he decides he's going to write his own fortunes and try to read them to her to see if she finds them very profound. And she doesn't particularly.
Orla Smith 33:30
But we've got kind of all those different circumstances I mentioned, we see them repeated again and again, throughout the film as her routine, circles back on itself and repeats and repeats. And we just get the sense of her as this character who is kind of exhausted by life and recovering from her past. She was a translator in Afghanistan, working for the US. And she basically became a translator so that she could emigrate. And the other translators she worked with were killed. And she says she, she's lucky and they were unlucky. And you get the sense that she feels a lot of guilt. And she feels very depressed, obviously, about what she's been through, but she is insistent that she isn't struggling and that she's only needs sleeping pills. And that's it and she's kind of very resistant to explore the difficult feeling she's, she has, so she just lives this repetitive and very disconnected life.
Orla Smith 34:40
And then she decides to send out a message in one of the Fortune cookies, basically, like with her name and her number, hopefully hoping that somebody interesting will decide to call her and her life can be shaken up a bit. And it doesn't exactly go to plan but she does end I'm having a very interesting encounter in the third act with Jeremy Alan White who is the in the internet's new boyfriend after the bear. And it kind of ends in a place that is quite lovely. And lightly hopeful, but not in a in a tricolor way and not in an unrealistic way. It's it's, I know it's a film that I've thought about a lot.
Alex Heeney 35:35
This is our second podcast season about a film festival you can catch up with our women at can season from May 2022, where we focus more on the history of the Cannes Film Festival and its track record, or lack thereof for programming films directed by women. You can find out all about that season at seven dash row.com/women at Ken that's sav e n t h dash r o w.com/women. At C A N N E S we'll put a link to that in the show notes. You can also scroll back in your podcast feed to our first season and you will find our women it can season there
Orla Smith 36:16
I think Eileen was one of our most anticipated films of the festival just because I mean it features slash is made by a few known quantity. Yes. It's directed by William Oldroyd, who is somebody I am slash was, you know, slightly on the fence about interrupted Lady Macbeth, which is his first film, which is a film that is not, which is very competently directed, but it's not a film I liked, mainly for script reasons, but obviously a director can be held slightly at fault.
Alex Heeney 36:52
And performances made Florence pugh
Orla Smith 36:56
Exactly. So he knows how to direct actors. That's one thing we know. And it's been a while. But this is his second film. Finally, Eileen, which is a film based on a novel by the one of the internet's others. Favorites are Tessa, how do I say NA, Mosh Mosh fake? Yeah, that would be my guess. Yes. Who has written a bunch of books like my year of rest and relaxation, which is also being made into film that Eileen is I believe the first is adaptation of her work. Yeah. And it is set in the 1960s and follows a young woman called Eileen who's played by Thomas and Mackenzie, who is one of our favorites. And who actually broke out at Sundance several years ago with Leave No Trace, which he wrote a book on. And
Alex Heeney 37:50
I hadn't realized or Tessa Marsh fair wrote, causeway.
Orla Smith 37:54
Yeah, I don't think she originated it. But I think they brought her on board at some point in the process for that script. And I think what's the secret team look? Yeah, the guy who wrote Yeah, the guy who wrote I think Cosway had more than two writers. Yeah. Three. I think one of those was the person who kind of originally I don't know, but I think at some point, they brought her on, and I guess it's
Alex Heeney 38:16
like, global Yeah. Who also did yeah, Eileen. So yeah,
Orla Smith 38:20
so So two of them writing William alto directing. And basically, it follows Eileen who works at a prison. It's the 1960s It's New England. And a new employee enters the prison who is a psychologist who is played by Anne Hathaway. And Eileen becomes infatuated by her. And then something unexpected happens. About an hour into the film, which is about 90 ish minutes long.
Alex Heeney 39:01
Involving Marin Ireland,
Orla Smith 39:03
involving Marin Ireland. Oh, she is in the film before that, but then she appears again in an unexpected way. And there are a few other people in the film. Owen Teague is in a couple of shots. We like them in Montana story 2021 And, and Shea Whigham, king of Sundance is back. Bad dads of Sundance. Yes, he was in fancy dance playing a bad dad who plays bad dad this film as well. And I don't know because it's it's certainly one of the best directed films of Sundance, and it's certainly one of the best actors films of Sundance. And yet, it is not totally satisfying. Now. You Yeah, I was saying to Alex before we recorded that. i i certain point I I felt like we were just about to enter act two and then I checked in there were like 30 minutes left of the film that we were an hour in. Because she's, you get the sense that there's this, this growing attraction to Anne Hathaway's character who invites Thomas and Mackenzie's character Eileen out to drink. And that feels like, you know, the start of like several scenes where these two characters will get to know each other. And then Anne Hathaway disappears. And then like, there's at least like half an hour after that, and I cannot remember what happens in that half an hour, because none of it is particularly distinct. And then Anne Hathaway appears again, and you're like, Okay, so this is like, the act to have their relationship and there's gonna be more scenes that happened. And then all the plot happens all at once. And so it's, which I think is, is kind of like, what they were going for, but I'm not sure it works.
Alex Heeney 41:03
I mean, you sort of appreciate that you're kind of along for the ride, and you don't know exactly where it's going, which is, you know, rare for a Sundance film.
Orla Smith 41:11
Yeah. Yeah. And I would say what's interesting is that there's one of the most successful films at Sundance this year, is a fair play. And, and
Alex Heeney 41:24
you might think it would go, but
Orla Smith 41:27
the one line everyone used about fair play in their initial reactions were that it was like a new great erotic thriller. And, yeah, and and even if it's not totally successful, as such, I feel like Eileen is,
Alex Heeney 41:39
it's more of an erotic thriller than fair play is,
Orla Smith 41:43
it's much easier to describe this film as an erotic thriller that it is that one. But yet it goes in some unexpected directions in the last act that don't like totally make sense for various reasons. One of the reasons is that Anne Hathaway Well, I found her very, very compelling in the film her because we don't really learn much about what motivates her character. Her actions in the last third are pretty explicit, inexplicable. And, and she kind of exists
Alex Heeney 42:21
to dazzle and then to drive the plot.
Orla Smith 42:25
Yes, and she definitely dazzles. But I wish and I don't think it's Anne Hathaway's plot at all. But I wish the script gave us a little bit more meat on the bone with her character. Whereas the whole thing is experienced through Thomas and Mackenzie's eyes. And I think she's really wonderful in it, she really holds the camera. And she's also a very kind of withdrawn character. So we spend a lot of time with her on her own. And Thomasin McKenzie, is really was another thing to watch.
Alex Heeney 43:02
great at being quiet. At least she's showing everything in her face in her body.
Orla Smith 43:08
She's really compelling to watch think, and kind of perceive the world around her. And I feel like,
Alex Heeney 43:16
and to Oldroyd's credit, he gives us time to watch her like there are scenes that go on for three minutes. And it's just watching her think, yes, exactly what's going around her. And that's always a great thing to have when you have an actor who can handle that, and a director who's willing to give them that.
Orla Smith 43:36
And if it was, this was the most space Thomasin Mackenzie has been given to be good in a film since Leave No Trace. Yeah. So it's really nice to see that to be reminded of what a compelling actress she is.
Alex Heeney 43:49
Orla Smith 43:51
she's and I
Alex Heeney 43:51
really fantastic. And it's kind of like, it seems like weird casting at first, but it's also another kind of, like, genius piece of casting. Because the character is like, the idea behind the character, she kind of like looks like a young innocent, but then actually she goes around masturbating in an inappropriate place.
Orla Smith 44:11
I mean, the opening scene is is her masturbating in appropriate places.
Alex Heeney 44:16
Yeah, she can, like does that in other places, too, that are much more inappropriate than that.
Orla Smith 44:25
Like work like work
Alex Heeney 44:27
in plain sight, not like in a room with a closed door
Orla Smith 44:34
with a window right behind her.
Alex Heeney 44:36
Yeah, she's like in a public space part of work, not like in a bathroom. And it's kind of so it ends up working out really well as somebody who's sort of like a little bit socially awkward, which we know she can do before because she did that and leave no trace, but somebody who's maybe a bit precocious but also maybe doesn't really know who she is like These are things that she's done before, but she gets to do it in a new context, because it's like somebody who's also it's like dealing with weird sexuality things.
Orla Smith 45:10
Yeah. Like you said, Think she she appears is it kind of innocent, but there's this darkness beneath it and that that the film requires her to kind of have a very brisk turn. Yeah, the third act. And because Thomasin McKenzie threads that through, she really sells that turn.
Alex Heeney 45:29
She has to be kind of hungry and ruthless. And then you feel both of those things hungry, ruthless, and yet unassuming.
Orla Smith 45:38
Yes, the only place where her character kind of loses me is at the very end, because I think the film is just kind of confused. What it's saying. Yeah, but, but Thomasin Mackenzie herself kind of carries us through most of it, making her very psychologically coherent human being. It's weird, I'd kind of recommend it. And I it's not. It's not a terrible watch. It's very well executed. It's very well acted. And it's
Alex Heeney 46:11
a slow burn, though, I feel is worth saying because like, you're just kind of, you're engaged and you're interested, like, Who are these people and what's going on and what's gonna happen, but I've heard it described also as like a caper, which makes it sound a lot more like I have, like, a lesbian rom com caper is how someone described it to me, I think this is secondhand from somebody else. And I was, I would say, it is not a rom com,
Orla Smith 46:38
I would say it's a rom com.
Alex Heeney 46:40
It's not a caper. It's sort of a thriller, ish.
Orla Smith 46:45
I think it but but it's like, for the first hour, it is a slow burn drama. And then it becomes a thriller, in its final act,
Alex Heeney 47:01
and it's not really a psychological thriller, because it kind of loses sight of the character psychology, although that happens a lot in psychological thrillers. And yeah, I
Orla Smith 47:12
can, I can see some hints at kind of what they're trying to say. But I don't necessarily think any of those things felt particularly revelatory for me. And they're not necessarily fully fleshed out. Yeah, way.
Alex Heeney 47:26
There's a lot of stuff you spend a lot of time on. You're like, well, I liked this actor. So I'll go with it. And then you kind of at the end, you're like, I guess this was setup. Like, I guess that was only there for setup, but didn't really go places with that, either.
Orla Smith 47:48
Yeah, it's a weird one, then. I think for the pure shock value, the last site does quite entertaining, where I think there are moments when it it drags a little bit in the first hour for me, but there is a payer. But the payoff, when taken as a whole is not necessarily super satisfying.
Alex Heeney 48:11
Yeah. I think maybe you liked it more than I did. And part of why I hesitate to not not recommend it is because it's so nice to see Thomasin McKenzie doing really great work. I mean, yeah, we really love to leave no trace, we wrote a book on it called leave no trace a special issue. And Orla, you wrote this really wonderful, detailed analysis of her performance in that film. And I feel like a lot of the things that you point out about what she brings as an actor you really get to see and Eileen and you and I have been watching every little glimpse of Thomasin McKenzie we could find in the intervening like four years and being really annoyed. Wasn't much.
Orla Smith 48:56
I did what was the one that I skipped, or I skipped a few but the first one I skipped was, was the king is practice not in it that much.
Alex Heeney 49:04
I watched that one. I skipped the Edgar Wright movie. I think you saw that
Orla Smith 49:09
I saw that. I had a a an episode with the king where I asked on Twitter. Is the king worth watching? Just for Thomas and Mackenzie? And then I got an angry DM from a Timothy Chalamet being like you've portrayed Timothy shallow me, why would you not watch it just for him? I thought you liked him. I said no. Thomasin McKenzie is my new friend.
Alex Heeney 49:36
Well, I tried to block the king out of my memory. But now that you mentioned it we did actually do an episode on the king where we ripped it to shreds so that you don't have to see it. I suffered so that
Orla Smith 49:47
I did not do better. I did not suffer. And I think you like Anne Hathaway's performance less than I do I think she's really excellent. I think she's really excellently used here. And I think she kind of She, she plays charismatic in such an enticing way. But she does offer equally enticing, kind of like hints under the surface and she gets to unravel a little bit and I found her really compelling but I but I also wish that the film was more interesting. Yeah. Who her character is because I think an actress like Ghana had the way could have done even more with this had the been more to the character.
Alex Heeney 50:34
Yeah, I mean, I think I found her bid mannered and that and so sometimes it felt to me like an Anne Hathaway TM performance.
Orla Smith 50:43
I mean, I seven said find her man had by found her purpose fully mannered. Yeah, I'm not sure how it landed with me.
Alex Heeney 50:50
I'm not sure I agree with that. But I would agree with you that there are a lot of moments where you get to see where you see like an insight into this character that is maybe not on the page, but that she's bringing. So I don't think she's bad, but sometimes, it feels like she's playing Cate Blanchett. And in Carroll.
Orla Smith 51:12
They are definitely performances in conversation with each other. Like you definitely think about Cate Blanchett. And Carol, even just the way she styled?
Alex Heeney 51:23
Yeah. Although, oh, boy, her wig is bad. Yeah, if you want to hear us talk about Leave No Trace, it goes all the way back to Episode One of the podcast. Back can we didn't know how to do sound or have proper microphones, but we had passion for the film.
Orla Smith 51:41
Yeah, we did. Certainly,
Alex Heeney 51:43
I guess we want to talk about fairy land, which, of course was on our radar, partly because I will watch anything set in San Francisco. Because I used to live there for six years. And I miss it. And also, because we've been thinking a lot on the podcast in the past about depictions of aids on screen like we did, in our episode 91 aids on screen. We went through like a whole history of AIDS, depictions on film and a little bit on of TV. And then we also did an episode comparing to adaptations of Angels in America. So that's episode 98. Those are both members only episodes, you if you want to listen to them, you can become a member at seven dash rho.com/join. But I think we both like that those were both very educational episodes for us, because we learned like we watched just a ton of movies about AIDS in a short period of time, and I'm sure that is part of how we're reflecting on Fairyland, which doesn't handle it so well.
Orla Smith 52:51
Yeah, I found this one of the most frustrating viewings of the festival, because it's not like it was it's a film, though, where there's nothing to it. There's actually a lot to this film, and to the story. That, and I and throughout the film, I saw so many opportunities for this to be a more insightful, more interesting film, if it had picked up on certain threads that it drops, or if it had taken a keen interest in, or a slightly different perspective on the dynamics that it depicts. But it consistently goes for the most kind of generic telling of its story. In a way that is really yeah, really frustrating to watch. It's about a young girl, who is where we first meet her played by a child actress who is adorable. And her father and we start the film when her father and her find out that her mother has died in a car crash. So we don't really get to see any of their life with their mother in the Midwest. But as basically as soon as the mother dies, her father, he's played by Scoot McNairy whisks her off to San Francisco, and immediately basically starts to live his life as a gay man. Other the way he describes it later in the film is that he's bisexual, possibly, but you think about it. He basically only dates men now, post wife, but he also kind of implies that he was, you know, in love with well,
Alex Heeney 54:41
it's not it's very ambiguous, very vague, like him. He definitely loved her mother.
Orla Smith 54:48
But then I started having sex with other people as
Alex Heeney 54:51
well. And he talks about how he she he couldn't give her what she needs, which I kind of read as because he's gay. Yeah. So Oh, but you know, it's like the 60s and 70s. You got married? You needed a beard? Yes. Somebody liked and who, you know, was willing to take you on you did it.
Orla Smith 55:14
So that he starts living kind of a life that it seems that he had been yearning to live and now just has the opportunity to live in San Francisco. Having sex with many men doing drugs, and,
Alex Heeney 55:30
you know, so many boyfriends like an aspirational amount.
Orla Smith 55:34
Yeah. And but he also has, like, uh, you know, she's about six, right? Yeah. He has a six year old daughter. But that won't stop him. He'll, she'll just run around and live her life, and he'll live his life and her parents slightly.
Alex Heeney 55:54
Slightly being the operative word.
Orla Smith 55:55
And there are there are, there are some nice things about the way that he brings her up, he brings her up with a certain openness. But he also doesn't
Alex Heeney 56:05
judge her except for, for when she judges him for being a bad parent, which he often is.
Orla Smith 56:11
Yes, but the thing about, yeah, the way he parents is he, you just sense that he is a man and a rest of development, because he is only just now getting to live a life that he wanted to live when he was younger. And he is kind of living at full throttle. Yeah, despite the fact that that gets in the way of being there for his daughter sometimes, or a lot of the time. And so it's interesting, because you do kind of you understand what factors have led him to be the kind of person he is and to act this way. But it's also you're seeing the film from the perspective of his daughter, and you seeing how really, it's unfair to her. And he's also a writer, and he kind of writes about his life. And she at some point, when well, the film flashes forward, and we then spend a lot of time with her as a young woman, an older teenager, and then a young adult play by Emelia Jones. And there's a scene where like, he reads excerpts of his book, and she just gets really frustrated with him. And you get the sense that he's he's kind of like a bit of a self absorbed writer. And it's, it's very, it's a very complicated relationship. And she gets really justifiably angry with him, and with the way that he has parented her, and I find that dynamic, really fascinating. But I wish the film more interesting, because I think the film to
Alex Heeney 57:56
recognize that he passive aggressively takes out a lot of his anger at all the world on her. And then whenever she takes out her anger on him occasionally in like a not nice way, like with gay, gay bashing,
Orla Smith 58:11
or maybe she's not actually gay fashion, actually. She just refuses a slow phobic slurs. Yeah, yeah, she like she will like all the time. Not all the time. There's a scene where she lashes out. Yeah, homophobic slur,
Alex Heeney 58:25
but he lashes out at her all like, when he gets aids and wants her to take care of him. He's like, I know, you don't want to be here. But guess what? I didn't want to be your dad when I became a single parent. And you're like,
Orla Smith 58:36
well, he doesn't say it like that.
Alex Heeney 58:38
I know. He says I wasn't as ready to be your dad. But I did it anyway. And it's like, well, one of you chose to be a parent.
Orla Smith 58:48
Well, that's what he says actually, that and the thing that annoyed me about it was that, yeah, he wasn't ready to be a single father. He doesn't say he wasn't ready to be a father. He be a single father. Which makes me think how much parenting were you doing? Yeah. Live like, Were you just not parenting then? And now you have no choice? Like, that's definitely what I took from it. Because like, if you like, I mean, no one who's in a couple who decides to have a child. You know, like, you don't think that you're going to become a single parent. Yeah. And obviously that your partner All right,
Alex Heeney 59:22
I'm certainly not trying to say that. He doesn't have the right to, you know, find it.
Orla Smith 59:28
He should at least have some experience parents, you should
Alex Heeney 59:30
have some experience of parenting and it's not her fault. Like this, like this isn't payback, like the fact that her mother died it shouldn't there shouldn't be like payback for that. Because she was still around and was suddenly his problem like, that's not her fault.
Orla Smith 59:47
But I think what the film does is it treats her anger as just normal like the way teenagers are always angry. Yeah, parents, but it's not it really is. I don't think it takes her anger. She Seriously now, and I don't think it holds him to task enough, especially in the second half when he is dying from AIDS. And she becomes his full time carer. And there's a scene where he says she's kind of acting kind of stroppy. And he says to her, I know you're angry, but you need to understand that you to like, be conscious of the fact that you're angry at AIDS, the disease and not angry at me, and you need to stop taking it out on me. And I couldn't help but think like, Okay, I feel bad for you, because you're dying. But she is angry at you. Like she and she has a right to be angry at you. But just because you're dying doesn't mean that her, you know, you haven't actually resolved her anger towards you. And the way the film does resolve it is by him, is by him kind of saying, Yeah, I know, I fucked up. But know that I did it. nobili trying to live my life. And I'm like, wait, but you haven't actually apologized, you haven't apologized,
Alex Heeney 1:01:11
he also takes out his anger about having AIDS on her. And like, after spending most of her childhood being pretty indifferent to her and abandoning her a lot of the time, in ways you shouldn't do as a parent even as like a 60s 70s parent where it was fine to leave your five year old at home by themselves. Like, not only does she do that, but then when she grows up and is I don't know, maybe suddenly interesting to him, then he gets kind of controlling, and he doesn't want her to go away to school. And then he tries to persuade her to move back home. Like he now suddenly he wants to have control over her. And then like his big speech at the end is about how he let her have freedom. And it's like, you didn't really seem to want to do that when she was an adult. And like, the film can't really deal with the complexity of the fact that yeah, that AIDS is really bad. It's really shitty that he got AIDS, and that the world didn't care. And he was left on his own. And all he had, the only thing he could do was to ask his daughter to care for him. Like, the film only sees that side of it, and not the other side of like, Yeah, but it's also kind of his perfect excuse to get her to come home like he was trying to do for years. You know, like, if you hadn't already been doing that, then I wouldn't read it that way. But he had already been trying to interfere with her decisions and her attempt to separate herself from him and his life. And he she's not allowed to take out her anger on him. But he's allowed to take out his anger about AIDS on her. But also she has justifiable reasons to be angry at him for how he's parented her. And the film is kind of like, Yeah, but really, she just angry at like, homophobia and it aids and the patriarchy. It's like, Yes, that's true. And I feel empathy for him, I understand why he's behaving in the way that he is. But that doesn't mean it makes it okay for him to be behave that way. It just delta shitty deck of cards, and I feel for him, and I get that he's gonna make mistakes.
Orla Smith 1:03:27
Yeah, and I think the film is just, it just seems afraid of the complexity of what if your dad has AIDS, but also, he's been a bit of a shitty dad. And you want to resolve that. But you? Also, you, you he's at the end of his life. Yeah. And it's, it would have I think there is a really complex film in here. Yeah. If you actually tackled that, if you like, either had him. I mean, it's based on a true story. And I am curious to read the memoir that it's based on, which is written from her perspective to see if it has the same problems or not. But it is. I think the film really needed to deal with, like the reality of how his behavior affected her even if he didn't get even if he never kind of apologized while he was alive or or made amends or acknowledged the harm that he had done. Yeah. And it actually just ends like right after he dies. Yeah, like, we don't get to see how she can rebuild her life without him, which I think is would have been a really important part of this story, which is told from her perspective.
Alex Heeney 1:04:48
And there's nobody in her life there to tell her that she has a right to her anger. Like instead, it's mostly about how she's been hiding the fact that she has a gay Bad. And now she's coming out of the closet. And I say it like that, because that's kind of the film draws this weird false equivalence between hiding having a gay dad and being gay, which are not the same things, even if they may both be like traumatic in different ways. But like, I guess because of that we never get to really see or have an actual confidant or any way of dealing with things. So instead, we just get a bunch of unnecessary speeches from her father played by Scoot McNairy. Like, we get an unnecessary speech about how he was oppressed, and now he's like, reclaiming his life. It's like, Yeah, I figured that out from the way you're behaving like a 16 year old. And, you know, lots of speechifying. Not a lot of like real reflection.
Orla Smith 1:05:57
Yeah. And I think like, I think scoop Nair is good. Yeah, yeah.
Alex Heeney 1:06:01
He's been asked to deliver a bunch of bad news. Yes.
Orla Smith 1:06:04
I think he's maybe he I think he gives us the strongest performance in the film for sure. And I think he people as much as he could, to the roll. I just wish that character had been explored in a different way. I think he really could have, you know, he could have excelled with stronger material as well. Yeah, good. And
Alex Heeney 1:06:27
it's another bad screen place.
Orla Smith 1:06:29
And it has there's a bunch of like names and supporting roles, but none of them are given particularly a meteor interesting stuff to do. Like Geena Davis is there for a bit, but only for a bit. And
Alex Heeney 1:06:45
Charlotte, the progeny of Charlotte Gainsbourg and Yvan Attal, who sweeps Emelia Jones off her feet when she goes to study abroad in Paris.
Orla Smith 1:06:57
His his fun his he was it was it like he looks like a bookshop or something is like I like it is very socialist, or something.
Alex Heeney 1:07:08
I think that she's reading or something.
Orla Smith 1:07:10
Yeah. Yeah. Meanwhile, he's like, richer than God.
Alex Heeney 1:07:16
Well, he's the progeny of Charlotte Gainsburg.
Orla Smith 1:07:19
Well, of course. But yeah, it's and then Emelia Jones is kind of one of the stars of Sundance this year with this and cat person. And it's interesting because cuz she was obviously like a hot new thing with CODA and I thought she was really excellent in that film. And, but um, I haven't seen cat person. Yeah, I know. You have thoughts. I think at this film. I felt she was often on for me. Especially towards the beginning. I kind of wasn't really sure about her performance. I think she plays the stuff. When she's a carer for her dad quite well, I think she kind of portrays just the kind of oppressive cloud of depression that she's under quite well. Yeah. But I I don't think she's on like, super sure feet throughout the film. So I'm, I think the jury's kind of still out on Amelia Jones. I think she is perhaps promising, but I'm not
Alex Heeney 1:08:23
sure. How many films so quick.
Orla Smith 1:08:27
Alex Heeney 1:08:29
She's kind of the same in cat person. Although the script for that is so bad that I don't know how much you can blame her for not being better.
Orla Smith 1:08:41
Yes. tuned into one of the episodes for a more thorough beating a cat person alongside fairplay. Yeah. Which will be less thoroughly beaten, I think, but still given a little bit of a wrap up. Okay, well, this is a favorite segment of the Sonos podcast, which is send us bingo. And so in all of our wrap ups, we are going through the Sundance bingo card, which you can find a link to in the show notes so you can play along.
Alex Heeney 1:09:14
Yeah, I've updated it since like our first episode because I spotted some typos and things.
Orla Smith 1:09:23
So we have been just ticking off because and the bingo card. What it does is is is highlight the fact that every year there are some very predictable programming trends in the Sundance program. And it's very easy by just putting a couple of those tropes on the bingo card to get a a line pretty quickly. I'm not gonna lie. Yeah.
Alex Heeney 1:09:48
But I've got quite a few three or four in a row.
Orla Smith 1:09:52
Yeah, I've got a bunch of threes to last time I had ticked off. Patriarchy sucks indeed. In a story director vice at blur acknowledges the pandemic a middle aged woman makes GBS sexual choices. And I think I have oh and British Well, dramatic competition film. And I think I have crossed of two or three more since then. Yeah.
Alex Heeney 1:10:17
I'd had rape culture already. But yeah, cross that off. Now if you include fair play.
Orla Smith 1:10:23
Yeah. Rape culture, I think I crossed off a fair play. And I've crossed our first feature by a relatively famous actor. I was I saw a theater camp.
Alex Heeney 1:10:34
Okay. Yeah, I can, I couldn't even decide what I what counted for that.
Orla Smith 1:10:38
How I think that um, bad, bad behavior would count. Yeah. And then I could take her for made and or set in San Francisco Bay area. So I mean, we've got a couple there.
Alex Heeney 1:10:51
Yeah. I mean, I we haven't talked about them on this podcast yet. I don't think but I've got climate changes bad doc and climate changes that drama.
Orla Smith 1:11:02
I haven't had any of those yet. But I've got some on my watch list.
Alex Heeney 1:11:05
I've seen to disability docs. We haven't talked about them yet. So I took off probably ablest disability dark ones in your bio, but I have seen my biopic about a famous actually a biopic and a doc about a famous person that would be Cassandra, and also the Michael J. Fox. So yeah, we've seen several made and are set in the SF Bay Area.
Orla Smith 1:11:31
My surprising one was today, I managed to take off incest twice. Yeah. But the first one was very surprising. I won't elaborate on this but polite society, which is like a crowd pleaser movie. That will probably be like rated like 12. Has like is it incredibly like incest it like? It's kind of the plot twist is very interesting. Although there's still some like incest, the dynamics that preclude the incessant plot twist. And I was I was really surprised that that was the film that allowed me to take off the Insert square. And then I guess you could take it off with Eileen as well. Yeah. But yeah, that was a shock.
Alex Heeney 1:12:26
I sort of cheated, because, well, I'm taking off feminist horror film by a woman. Because I would say
Orla Smith 1:12:34
feminist isn't bracket is in quotes.
Alex Heeney 1:12:39
Because I think cat person is sort of trying to be a horror film. And also pod generate, if we take horror more generally, and just sort of treat it as like genre, which a lot of people who are in the horror realm do. They talk about horror, but like, or their publication is called horror, but really, they mean, like anything within the genre realm. Then pod generation also counts. And both of those are feminist in quotes.
Orla Smith 1:13:06
I've definitely, like tried to avoid the horror film as much as possible this year, because I don't try Sundance horror programming.
Alex Heeney 1:13:14
Oh, yeah. Well, I tried to and I still got two horror films.
Orla Smith 1:13:20
I think I'll watch infinity pool. But I don't know yet. If that's trying to be feminist or not? Probably not. Probably not. And the one thing that I don't think I can like know if I can take off until the end of the festival is great film, nobody will see and will disappear. Yeah, I feel like by the end of the first I think I've got a few contenders. But by the end of the festival, I'll know what people have, like forgotten about.
Alex Heeney 1:13:45
I'm pretty certain slow is mine for that. I know that.
Orla Smith 1:13:50
I think you're absolutely right. I think there are a few. Like I thought more people would be talking about a still small voice. And yet, I feel like nobody saw it. Like there is stuff like that. But we'll see what wins awards, I suppose. I think like even
Alex Heeney 1:14:08
machine I feel like nobody's talking about it. But it's going to Berlin, so it has a chance to not disappear.
Orla Smith 1:14:14
Yeah, in fact, I'm going to tick off that square now. Because I really think you're right that nobody has seen so
Alex Heeney 1:14:20
yeah. And nobody is going to see it. No matter how loudly
Orla Smith 1:14:27
Polka yes, if it is given.
Alex Heeney 1:14:31
Yeah, we're hoping you will be able to see it because it really was very good. Well, if you enjoyed this episode, our fifth episode of The Sundance 2023 podcast season, we recommend catching up with the first four episodes of the season. In our first episode, we preview the festival. The second one we talked about the spotlight section at Sundance. And the third one we talked about some of the highlights so far in cluding slow and fancy dance. And in the fourth episode, we go deep on indigenous films at the festival. So we recommend going back and checking those all out. Those are all free. A bunch of episodes have come up in our discussion today that you may be interested in. They are all members only as our all of our episodes more than six months old, plus a smattering of members only bonus episodes. So if you want to listen to those and also have access to our entire archive, plus all of our future episodes and the episodes we're doing now that will be locked in six months to members only, you can become a member at seven dash rho.com/join. So the episodes we mentioned and I'll put these in the links in the show notes as well, or our very first episode of the podcast episode one will leave no trace where we talk about Thomasson Mackenzie's big breakout film, really great film that also screened at Sundance. If you want to hear us talk more about AIDS depictions on screen that are better than Fairyland, you can check out Episode 91, where we do sort of a brief overview of aids on screen dating back to the 80s and featuring the relatively new TV show it's a sin. And we're joined on that episode by AIDS theater expert, Dr. Emily Garside, who also joins us to help frame our discussion Episode 98, where we talk about two Angels in America productions, one being the Mike Nichols TV show and the other being the National Theatre production which is has been recorded and you can actually watch now on and T at home. Both really great in different ways. And if you want to be spared the trouble of watching the king since Thomas and McKenzie is not in it very much and it is quite bad, but want to hear us say funny things about why it is so terrible. You can head back to Episode 22, which we have appropriately titled The King attempts to adapt Shakespeare's Henry the Fifth, again to listen to all of those become a member of seven dash rho.com/join.
Orla Smith 1:17:18
As we always ask, if you like this episode, and like this podcast, please rate and review. We found out recently that in order for us to put our podcast episodes on Rotten Tomatoes, we need at least 200 ratings. And we are quite far from that. So we really like I think if you rate our podcast and it takes a couple seconds, you're really materially helping us to get the podcast in front of more people which putting it on Rotten Tomatoes really helps to do. So that would be amazing if you could do that. And then if you really really want to help us out, you can write us a review because it always makes our day we love to read them. And you could also help us out by just sharing the Sundance season. If you're enjoying it, share it on social media, send it to a friend that you think might like it. And we want to get this out there a little bit more. So that would be lovely.
Alex Heeney 1:18:19
If you can find all of the episodes of the season, the show notes, the bingo card, more info about the season all at seven dash row.com/sundance. And if you want updates on the podcast season, delivered directly to your inbox. You can also subscribe to the newsletter at email dot seven dash rho.com/sundance 23. We'll put links to those in the show notes. Or allow where can people find you.
Orla Smith 1:18:50
You can find me at all my info on Twitter. And you can find me at all or underscore p underscore Smith on Instagram. And you can find me on this podcast.
Alex Heeney 1:19:00
And you can find me Alex Heeney on Twitter and Instagram at V West Cineaste BW ESTCINE A S T E. You can find both of us on this up and throw twitter and instagram account at seven throw s EVNTHROW. And of course on this entire Sundance 2023 season. four episodes previous plus more episodes to come. So we hope you'll tune in. Thanks for listening
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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