5 Sundance Film Festival movies that will be shown in HK, and 5 we wish we could see

George Zhai

If you’re fed up of blockbusters, get your fix of indie cinema here

George Zhai |

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Paul Dano (left) and Daniel Radcliffe star in one of Sundance’s quirkiest offerings.

Here in Hong Kong, we get a lot of the big American blockbusters such as The Avengers and The Hunger Games. But the one genre that isn’t so well represented is indie films. The Sundance Film Festival Hong Kong hopes to change all that by showing some of the highlights of the Sundance Festival, America’s most famous independent film festival, in Hong Kong from September 22 to October 2. Here are five movies that Young Post is excited to see, and five more we wish were making the trip from Sundance.

Swiss Army Man

Plot: Hank (Paul Dano) is stuck on a deserted island and suicidal until he sees a corpse, played by Daniel Radcliffe, wash up on the shore. Hank christens the corpse “Manny” and uses Manny’s body as a companion and Swiss Army knife-like tool on his odd journey to get back to civilization.

Why we’re excited: Written and directed by former music video directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, this might have one of the most offbeat and unique plots that we’ve ever seen. Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano are a talented pair sure to provide some laughs and great chemistry.

Captain Fantastic

Plot: Viggo Mortensen plays Ben Cash, a nomadic father who has raised his six children in the wilderness, cut off from society and without modern technology. But once his wife dies and they travel to attend her funeral, Ben must expose his children to the “real world” and reconsider whether he has made the right choice in isolating his children.

Why we’re excited: The film has had incredibly positive feedback from critics: it earned a ten-minute standing ovation at the notoriously difficult-to-please Cannes Film Festival this year. Plus, seeing children who are sheltered from technology is an interesting concept.

Southside With You

Plot: The film takes us back to Chicago in 1989, to recount the beginning of the romance between two young, promising African-American lawyers: Barack Obama and Michelle Robinson, starting with Barack’s wooing of Michelle and ending with their first date.

Why we’re excited: As the President and First Lady of the United States, Barack and Michelle Obama are the ultimate power couple. This film provides a fun look at the origins of their relationship, such as the fact that Michelle originally did not want to go on a date with Obama. It’s also interesting to contrast the 27 year old idealistic, smooth-talking “Barry” that the film portrays with the grey-haired, serious president we know today.

Life, Animated

Plot: This touching documentary focuses on Owen Suskind, an autistic man who learned to write, talk and express his emotions by watching classic Disney films.

Why we’re excited: Everybody grew up with Disney movies, and the idea of using Peter Pan and The Jungle Book to teach emotion is inspiring. As further proof of its emotional resonance, the film won the Audience Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and is already receiving some early Oscar buzz.

The Intervention

Plot: This film centres on four couples who go on a weekend holiday together. One of the couples discovers that the entire trip has been planned as an “intervention” for their relationship, and hilarity ensues.

Why we’re excited: The plot has potential to provide lots of laughs, as well as some heartwarming, teary moments. Plus, it has a talented cast led by Cobie Smulders (Robin from How I Met Your Mother) and Orange Is The New Black’s Natasha Lyonne, as well as a score composed by Tegan and Sara’s Sara.

Five movies that we wish were making the trip from Sundance

The Birth Of A Nation

Inspired by the true life story of Nate Turner, a slave who led a 19th century slave rebellion, this film won Sundance’s top award – The Grand Jury Prize.

Manchester By The Sea

Ben Affleck’s brother Casey Affleck plays a man who returns to his Massachusetts hometown of Manchester By The Sea following the death of his older brother, and has to reintegrate into the community. The film, directed by Kenneth Lonergan, is being released by Amazon and has picked up serious Oscar buzz for Affleck and co-star Michelle Williams, who plays Affleck’s ex-wife.

The Fundamentals Of Caring

Paul Rudd and Selena Gomez star in this heartwarming story about a retired writer (Rudd) who becomes the companion of an 18-year-old disabled boy, and takes him on a road trip across America.


Ellen Page stars as a homeless woman who abducts the baby of an irresponsible mother and raises it with her ex-boyfriend’s mother (Allison Janney).

Uncle Howard

This touching documentary was made by Aaron Bruckner about his uncle Howard, a successful documentary filmmaker who passed away from AIDS in 1989 just as he was about to release his first feature film.