The coronavirus emergency did not ‘kill’ the cinema. Proof? The program of the Sundance Film Festival 2021, with many titles with excellent potential forOscar and numerous indie films with storylines that redefine the genre. In short, one line-up which has nothing to envy to the pre-pandemic editions. Among highlight of the event, which will take place from January 28th to February 3rd, with a mix of digital and in-person events (in compliance with the rules on social distancing), there are also the directorial debuts of two actresses – Rebecca Hall and Robin Wright – with a strong political tribute to an icon of the 60s, the first, and a thriller, indeed much more, about the end of the world, the second. Waiting for the opening night, here are the 10 films not to be missed (here instead you can check if you have seen the best of 2020).

1. Land

In his first project in front of and behind the camera, Robin Wright she is sensational as a woman seeking isolation and solitude in the harsh landscape of the Rocky Mountains following a personal drama. It is a stimulating analysis on human resilience that sees the protagonist face great challenges and then finally move towards healing.

© Courtesy of Sundance Institute

2. Passing

Two childhood friends face interracial relationships and pitiful weddings against the backdrop of 1920s New York in this star-studded adaptation by Rebecca Hall of Nella Larsen’s groundbreaking novel. Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga play the two friends alongside André Holland and Alexander Skarsgård as the restless husbands.

© Courtesy of Sundance Institute

3. Mayday

Grace Van Patten, Mia Goth and Juliette Lewis lead this magnetic ensemble cast directed by Karen Cinorre. Mayday it’s a charming one action movie that follows in the footsteps of a woman transported to a parallel reality. Here she joins an army of warriors engaged in an endless war but the time to return home is running out.

4. How It Ends

Where would you go if the world was about to end? In this pre-apocalyptic drama comedy written and directed by Daryl Wein and Zoe Lister-Jones, the latter plays a free spirit who manages to get an invitation to a crazy party the day Earth is hit by an asteroid. Expect go-go laughs and a host of celebrity extras (Olivia Wilde, Helen Hunt).

© Courtesy of Sundance Institute

5. In The Earth

As the planet is desperate for a cure for a deadly virus, a scientist and park manager venture into the wilderness in this topical ecological horror directed by Ben Wheatley. The cast is made up of many rising stars of cinema – Joel Fry, Hayley Squires, Ellora Torchia – while the anguished atmospheres will keep you nailed to the chair… by fear.

© Courtesy of Sundance Institute

6. Judas and the Black Messiah

To tell the tumultuous facts that led to the death of the leader of the Black Panthers, Fred Hampton, at the hands of the FBI in 1969, Shaka King hired two big names in cinema: Daniel Kaluuya, as the revolutionary activist, and LaKeith Stanfield. in those of the informer who betrayed him. Expect fiery speeches and a devastating ending.

7. I Was a Simple Man

After two very successful roles in Crazy & Rich is Wall Street Girls – Business is Business, Constance Wu returns to the big screen with this surreal tale about a family struggling with the death of the progenitor, directed by Christopher Makoto Yogi. Set on the bleak north coast of the island of Oahu in Hawaii, the film confronts the ghosts of its past.

© Courtesy of Sundance Institute

8. John and the Hole

The premise of Pascual Sisto’s psychological thriller is deeply disturbing: in a seemingly unwarranted way, a 13-year-old boy (Charlie Shotwell) traps his family (Jennifer Ehle, Taissa Farmiga, Michael C Hall) in a hole underground. The result is an anomalous coming-of-age tale unlike anything you’ve seen in the past.

© Courtesy of Sundance Institute

9. On the Count of Three

Advertised as one black comedy From the blackest of humor, the film debut of the actor and comedian Jerrod Carmichael centers on two friends who make a pact to end their lives. The cast is made up of indie darling Christopher Abbott and Carmichael himself in the lead and supporting roles the hilarious Tiffany Haddish and Henry Winkler.

© Courtesy of Sundance Institute

10. Mass

The performance powers of four film veterans such as Jason Isaacs, Martha Plimpton, Ann Dowd and Reed Birney form the ground on which to anchor Fran Kranz’s extraordinary reflection on loss and deep-seated divisions in society. The story follows two pairs of parents who meet years after a shooting that changed their lives forever.

© Courtesy of Sundance Institute

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