In my four days at Sundance, I saw some great films. These were my favorites:
Protagonist: My top fave. I connected immediately with this story of four men's lives twisted unrecognizably by good intentions, stubbornness, and bad luck. The director Jessive Yu used puppets, Euripides, and unflinching honesty to tell four distinct stories and find the echoes between them.
The Pool: A young room boy in Goa climbs a mango tree to catch a glimpse a rich man's swimming pool... and a subtle, unexpected story unfolds, with flawless child acting, terrific music, and an equal mix of humor and ache. Director Chris Smith's follow-up to American Movie.
No End In Sight: A powerful summary of the Bush administration's bungling of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. An unfortunate sequel to Fahrenheit 911, told with authority, and punctuated by images of smart, responsible soldiers and politicians silently facing the camera, their faces filled with loss and anger.
The Substitute and Bitch: Two accomplished and funny shorts, countering this year's "Sad-dance" trend. The Substitute can be streamed from Sundance.org—I'm keeping my eye out for Lilah Vanderburgh's Bitch.
And out of all the movies I didn't see, I'm especially looking forward to Manda Bala (the clips were fantastic) and Never Forever.