SUNDANCE ‘09: Sunday, January 18th

Six movies today. Almost seven but I didn’t want to sell myself short with Tze Chun’s Children of Invention, which is one of my most anticipated films of this year’s festival. Therefore, I’m seeing that first thing Tuesday morning. Once again, I’m not overtly disliking anything I’m seeing—I still feel strongly that this year’s lineup is generally much stronger than last year’s—though I certainly haven’t had a Momma’s Man type of moment. But for now, here are yesterday’s all-the-way keepers:

Lunch Break — This is the first Sharon Lockhart film that I’ve seen, and it might very well end up being this year’s true revelation for me. A slowww-motion dolly through the longest warehouse ever in one unbroken, eighty-minute take? Yes, please! Lunch Break makes Bela Tarr look like Road Rules. There is a hypnotism at play here that gets a viewer’s brain working in an unusual way. As the film evolves and we approach the next worker in line, they start to blend in with the equipment and appear to be pieces of machinery themselves. I’m dying to know more about how Lunch Break was made. And I’m also finding it hard to leave that warehouse behind.

The Carter — Another one of my most anticipated films of the festival, Adam Bhala Lough delivers with this glimpse into the weed-clouded, syrup-glazed mind of Lil’ Wayne, who confirms his standing as one of modern music’s truest geniuses. Bhala Lough’s style is a perfect fit for Lil’ Wayne, who we get to see behind closed doors, recording-recording-recording (he says he records two new songs every day), getting interviewed, and performing to screaming fans all over the world. In some of those interviews, the The Carter has a Don’t Look Back feel (note to interviewers: don’t get too analytical about Wayne’s process or you’re out the door). My favorite moment might be when Wayne pantomimes without actually lip-synching–he’s too busy smoking weed–to a track that is blasting out of a stereo. Bhala Lough superimposes the track’s lyrics over the image, and the stream-of-consciousness lyrical flow confirms Wayne’s mad genius. I can’t wait to see this movie again.

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