Ficks’ Picks: Sundance Edition


‘The Royal Road’

[Editor’s note: We’re pleased to inaugurate the first Keyframe edition of the Ficks’ Picks, from the curator-host of the unclassifiably genius MiDNiTES FOR MANiACS programs.]

3. The Royal Road (Jenni Olson, U.S.)
Gorgeously filmed James Benning-esque static shots (16mm Kodak film—7245 50 Daylight stock) and geographically explored by way of Alfred Hitchcock and Billy Wilder, this slow burning personal descent into Jenni Olson’s latest autobiographical journey is not only an obsessive cinephiles’ delight, but a romantic one as well. (And I now know a ton about the Mexican/American war of 1846-1848!) Check Screenings at Sundance.

'The Chinese Mayor'

‘The Chinese Mayor’

2. The Chinese Mayor (Hao Zhao, China)
Add this to producer Zhao Qi‘s heart wrenching and unrelenting documentaries along with Fallen City (2013) and Last Train Home (2009). This addictive and observational odyssey of the Mayor of China’s forgotten city Datong will leave you breathlessly inspired at one human’s attempt to change the world. Check Screenings at Sundance.


‘Christmas, Again’

1. Christmas, Again (Charles Poekel, U.S.)
The stunningly understated performance of Kentucker Audley is worth the admission alone and yet Charles Poekel’s debut feature is so thoughtfully pieced together that I had to revisit it twice! Add to that one of my favorite contemporary cinematographers Sean Price Williams, who has shot such stunning contemporary classics as Ben and Joshua Safdie‘s Heaven Knows What (2014), Alex Ross Perry’s Listen Up Philip (2013), and Ronald Bronstein‘s Frownland (2007) and you’ve got yourself the treasure of Sundance 2015. Check Screenings at Sundance.

Jesse Hawthorne Ficks is the Film History Coordinator at the Academy of Art University and curator/host of MiDNiTES FOR MANiACS, a film series at the Castro Theatre which showcases underrated, overlooked and dismissed cinema in a neo-sincere manner.

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