The house band at a bar called the Spur was Porch Pounder. Not sure what the name signifies, but it’s Sundance — hard to tell what anything means here. At the midway point of the flurry of screenings and parties, they’re all starting to blur together.
Tuesday’s big premiere was a film called Cargo, a competiton entry that, in my opinion, doesn’t quite work. Well-crafted, with a strong performance by Peter Mullan (On a Clear Day) that anchors director Clive Gordon’s thriller, but not a success as far as the story.
Another one of the 120 Sundance features, The Foot-Fist Way, a tae kwon do comedy, screens at midnight. Before the screening, a party for the film at Harry O’s, a restaurant at the fest’s epicenter for velvet-rope events. Todd English, noted chef and founder of Olive’s, serves up rack of lamb as part of a weeklong culinary celebration called Chefdance. Upstairs from this elegant affair, a decidedly different vibe pervades X-Dance, an unnerving mob of hirsute snowboarders.
As I complete interviews along Main Street, it’s hard not to feel likewe’re in Times Square — or an ad agency. At the Stella Artoishospitality tent, I interview Hadjii, star/writer/director of a comedycalled Somebodies, kind of a brainier Friday. Down the street, at the Turning Leaf Lodge, I speak with Terry Zwigoff and John Malkovich (pictured) of Art School Confidential.Hard to tell these corporate suites apart. Only the music tells thestory. At the Stella Artois tent, a band does Crosby, Stills and Nashand America covers — a sharp contrast to the hard-driving electronicbeats pumping out of the other tents. No one will accuse Stella Artoisof corrupting Utah’s youth.
Up Main Street, at the VW Lounge, Sam Shepard and Wim Wenders are renewing their Paris, Texas connection with a reception for Don’t Come Knocking. It’s nice to know that some people at Sundance have met other folks 20 years ago. Gives the place a needed sense of history.