Sundance Comes to the Tropic

Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway

5/5 (1)

This year has been an odyssey of odd moments, but now the Tropic is back to host the iconic 2021 Sundance Film Festival from January 28th to February 2nd. Selected films – all world premieres — will be screened both in the cinema and in two outdoor locations at the Key West Lighthouse and the Warehouse at Manley deBoer and Strunk Hardware.

On opening night, from filmmakers Albert Birney and Kentucker Audley “Strawberry Mansion” is a quirky sci-fi story about the mining of actual dreams for tax purposes during REM sleep. Generic auditor Preble (the director Audley) travels to a reclusive artist’s home for a “dream audit.” Audley and Penny Fuller as the eccentric artist are magnetic in their roles. Fans of Phillip K. Dick, Monty Python and George Orwell will be riveted. (Showing at The Warehouse at Manley DeBoer—Strunk Hardware and the Tropic, 9:20 pm.)

January 29
“Luzzu” focuses on Jesmark, a struggling Maltese fisherman who is attacked on all sides, both economically and environmentally. Unable to make ends meet, Jesmark turns to a criminal enterprise. As a real life existential tale, the film has elements of apprehension and suspense. A bold and unflinching study of life on the water by director Alex Camilleri, “Luzzu” excels in its focus on the human will to survive. (Showing at The Tropic, 4 pm)

“Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided to Go For It” blazes across the screen in a vivid bio-documentary about the iconic actor by Mariem Pérez Riera. With intimate access to the performer, it is as personal as it is illustrative and not to be missed. (Showing at the Key West Lighthouse and the Tropic, 7 pm)

January 30
In 2004, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, known as ISIS or Daesh, attacked the Yazidis, an Iraqi minority. Daesh kidnapped thousands of women and girls and used them as sex slaves. Director Hogir Hirori details the efforts to save these young women. The film, “Sabaya,” is stirring and impactful. (Showing at The Tropic, 5 pm)

The vibrant Erin Vassilopoulos comes to Sundance with a feature debut “Superior” based on a previous short film. The story of two imperiled sisters, combative and conflicted is addictive, thrilling and hypnotic with accents of De Palma and Hitchcock. (Showing at The Warehouse at Manley DeBoer—Strunk Hardware and The Tropic, 9 pm)

January 31
“Cusp” by Parker Hill and Isabel Bethencourt documents a year in the life of three Texas teenage girls. With the film’s cinema verite “fly on the wall“approach, the film skirts the themes of Richard Linklater but has an immersive rhythm all its own. (Showing at The Tropic, 6 pm)

From a memoir by Misha Defonseca, comes an adaptation of “Misha and the Wolves” by director Sam Hobkinson. The tone of the story, of an orphan in the Holocaust, parallels Jerzy Kosinski, yet its unusual edge makes it hard to define, blurring the line between human and animal barriers. (Showing at The Warehouse at Manley DeBoer—Strunk Hardware and the Tropic, 8pm)

February 1
“Users” by director Natalia Almada creates a cinematic image poem about the relationship of her own son to the technology that spins around him. Propulsive, immediate and meditative, Almada’s all-seeing camera depicts the boy as an unblinking terrestrial astronaut taking messages in and transmitting them to a new future. (Showing at The Warehouse at Manley DeBoer—Strunk Hardware and the Tropic, 6pm)

“Life in a Day 2020” is the result of 15,000 hours of footage from 192 countries, highlighting the eerie summer of last year during the pandemic. Kevin Macdonald continues on his painstaking quest to capture life at the moment. (Showing at The Warehouse at Manley DeBoer—Strunk Hardware and the Tropic, 8:30 pm)

February 2
In yet another timely documentary, Maisie Crow highlights three Latinx teens training to be border police in El Paso, Texas. “At the Ready” is emotional, unsparing and pensive and treads difficult and painful ground. (Showing at the Key West Lighthouse and the Tropic 6:30 pm)

Last but not least is the affectionate coming of age tale “Marvelous and the Black Hole” by director Kate Tsang. With an offbeat flavor and nods to Michel Gondry, this fast paced feature is carbonated and colorful. (Showing at the Tropic, 9 pm)

With a selection of films unparalleled with a perspective far and wide, open your eyes and plug in. Limited seating, so get your tickets now. See you at Sundance in the Tropic!

Write Ian at ianfree11@yahoo.com

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