Sundance 2019 Preview

by Rosalie Kicks, Old Sport

Film pals! I am beyond ecstatic to report, that I, your trusty Old Sport, will be on the ground in Park City this year for the Sundance Film Festival. Beginning Thursday, January 24 until Sunday, February 3, this year’s fest is hosting 112 feature films from around the world, with a record number directed by women!

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Flim-Flam and Other Such Scams

by Judson Cade Pedigo

Recently, I was looking through my daughter’s bookshelf for a bedtime story when I came across something that would change the course of my life forever, a Step Into Reading book about Harry Houdini. Some might call it fate or just my habit of being a packrat (I supply myself with such a steady stream of junk that I’m constantly finding things that I’ve bought but have totally forgotten about. So it’s like getting it all over again! I’m like the dude from Memento except with a staggering Paypal Credit balance instead of a dead wife.) but I became an instant Houdini fan. I guess I’d always taken Houdini for granted. I knew he was a master magician and also a lazy plot point for the writers of Last Action Hero to get that kid into movieland (Magic ticket my ass, McBain!) but that was about it. Now I know, Houdini is the greatest man who ever lived. What I’ve found most interesting is Houdini’s war on fake mediums. As spiritualism became fashionable in America following the end of World War I, for every sincere follower this new religion gained, it attracted just as many opportunists willing to take advantage of the bereaved for their own financial gain.

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In Crimson Peak

by Shayna Grissom

I am drawn to films that are big, shiny and boldly colored. The Fall, What Dreams May Come, The Fountain, and of course Pan’s Labyrinth, are films that pull my attention every time. I want to feel immersed in a film’s colors and shapes. In an age of loud and flashy, the symbolism behind imagery is often left more to marketing strategy and lacks the sincerity that I need to connect with a film.

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Gaslighting, the Gothic and...

by Fiona Underhill

There has been a recent trend in film that has started to crop up more and more, featuring a theme that has become a buzzword of recent times: Gaslighting. Since the ‘Me Too’ and ‘Time’s Up’ movements have become such huge stories in the news and media, this term has been bandied about frequently. Another reason it is cropping up so much is that we are in an age of distrust, ‘fake news’, propaganda and the dissemination of lies to create a narrative – and this is being done by people who have power and control. This means that there have been more films which show multiple perspectives of the same event and which make us question versions of historical or true events which we have been fed. The term Gaslight comes from two films from the 1940s; one lesser-known (but perhaps better) version from 1940 directed by Thorold Dickinson and one which was more high-profile from 1944, starring Ingrid Bergman, Joseph Cotton and Angela Lansbury and directed by George Cukor. Both feature husbands trying to conceal criminal activity from their wives and in doing so, make their wives believe they are mad so that their suspicions are doubted not only by others, but by the women themselves. Gaslighting is a well-known technique used by abusers to make victims question whether they are, in fact, being manipulated and controlled. It turns the focus and blame away from the abuser to the abused – it is their actions which are questioned - “look what you made me do” unfortunately being a classic example. This theme has started to reoccur in cinema today, preceding and perhaps foreshadowing the #MeToo movement and continuing through this new era we find ourselves in, because this time, it is the women who have the control.

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