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AN UNREASONABLE MAN
One of the most polarising figures in the political world today, Ralph Nader is, for better or worse, An Unreasonable Man. His impact on or world today is difficult to calculate, whether as a consumer advocate watchdog, presidential candidate, or public pariah. His refusal to support whatever or whomever the lesser of the two evils is, and instead forge his own crusade, has won him accolades from some, and attacks from others. While some interpret his "unreasonableness" as a brave stand against complacency, other accuse him of, in part, ruining the democratic candidate's chances in the last two presidential campaigns. An Unreasonable Man was rapturously received at Sundance, and is receiving raves from critics for it's frank, unflinching portrait of an unapologetic and yes, unreasonable man.

FACTORY GIRL
After what seemed like endless delays, this tale of art imitating life imitating art is finally set to pose and pout it's way into theaters. Factory Girl is the tale of notorious Edie Sedgwick (Sienna Miller), a beautiful and wealthy college student who drops out of Radcliffe and moves to Manhattan. There she meets Andy Warhol (Guy Pearce), the Svengali who ultimately turned her into a star of the New York 60s scene. Directed by George Hickenlooper, Factory Girl is a companion piece of sorts to his Mayor Of Sunset Strip, in it's explorations of the fringe and the famous, and Edie is portrayed perfectly by Miller, herself someone who is well aware of the joys and costs of being an "it" girl.

SUNDANCE WRAPS
Following a Saturday evening awards ceremony, Sundance wrapped its 10-day run today with a series of award-winner screenings on Sunday. At the Saturday event, the drama Padre Nuestro, directed by Christopher Zalla, was announced winner of the Dramatic Grand Jury Prize. The Documentary Grand Jury Prize went to Jason Kohn's Brazil-set corruption saga Manda Bala (Send a Bullet). Audience prizewinners included James C. Straus's John Cusack-starrer Grace Is Gone for the Dramatic Audience Award and Documentary Audience Award recipient Hear and Now from Irene Taylor Brodsky. The complete list of awards is available on the festival website.

 
     
 

DOGGED OUT
In the wake of the controversy involving Hounddog, the Sundance premiere which featured a brief scene in which the character played by young actress Dakota Fanning is raped, a North Carolina politician is proposing that the state Senate review and approve screenplays for films receiving the state filming tax incentive...

 
     

TEMPORARY INSANITY
Mike White’s comedy The Year of the Dog, which premiered in Sundance this week in the Premieres section, shares a premise with the similarly titled Joan Didion memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking. That is, when one is grieving, one experiences a kind of insanity, the “magical thinking” of Didion’s title. One’s relationship to the rest of society as well as one’s self is occluded by the memory of the deceased...

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SEEING IN THE DARK BY PETER BOWEN
Gary Tarn’s first feature Black Sun defies definition and categorization. Mostly screened at documentary film festivals, and soon to be shown on HBO, the film is more cinematic essay or visual poem than traditional documentary. It ostensibly tells the story of the French painter Hugues de Montalembert who was permanently blinded in 1978 when, during a violent scuffle, a mugger threw paint thinner in his face. In the film, de Montalembert, who is never seen on camera, narrates his own journey into blindness, partially by employing texts from his memoir, Eclipse. His speech, edited and scored like a piece of music, is laid by Tarn on top of a series of disparate images from around the world –– closeups of passing New York pedestrians, ritual dances from India, landscapes of Maine, architectural animation. Mixing de Montalembert’s voice, these images, as well as a haunting score composed by Tarn, the film becomes as much a visual and emotional experience for the viewer as it is a recapitulation of de Montalembert’s own experiences...

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