Robert Redford was everywhere last night for the opening of the Sundance Film Festival. He made the 6 p.m. screening of “Howl,” the 8:30 screening of four short films including one by Spike Jonze, and then presumably introduced the documentary, “Respeto” at 9 p.m.
Redford never disappoints, but this is the first year in many that he didn’t use any of his podiums to make a political statement. It was actually disappointing considering what’s going on right now in this country and the world. Instead, Redford talked about the renewed vigor of the Sundance Film Festival. This year’s buzz word here is “Rebel” and it’s clear that the Sundance chiefs have decided to return to their indie roots. You can feel the change in the air, as well as the snow.
Redford did reminisce about his younger days, recalling that he and some pals, looking for jazz in San Francisco in the late 50s, early 60s, stumbled by accident into City Lights bookstore. There they met Lawrence Ferlinghetti and encountered for the first time the Beat Movement. It’s hard to imagine Robert Redford with bongo and beret!
As for Sundance: there’s definitely a feeling that it’s been de-commercialized this year. There are fewer corporate sponsors, and less of the celebrity for celeb’s sake stuff going on. Main Street in Park City has not been overrun by New York nightclubs putting in pop up appearances. And over at the Stanfield Art Gallery, they’re incorporating the ASCAP Music Cafe with art work sales. It’s going to be a classy Sundance, after all!