Sundance: Sundance 2015, Day 5: Experiments, pariahs, and the world’s worst nightmares

Spend a few days at a film festival and the movies start talking to each other. Sometimes, it’s just a simple overlap in theme, subject matter, or setting—the way, for example, that a screwball comedy like Mistress America can faintly resemble an earnest melodrama like Ten Thousand Saints, if only by virtue of both being about surrogate siblings. Other times, one film can play like a rebuttal to another, making an opposite point about the same subject. It’s all a happy accident, assumedly, with the context created by writers, like myself, looking for easy ways to transition among wildly different films. But I do have to wonder if the programmers don’t sometimes intentionally organize the schedule around common themes or related creative gestations. Why else but for ease of conversational grouping would Sundance premiere new films by Joe Swanberg and Kris Swanberg within hours of each …

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