Locals get a couple of strong Sundance options tonight—strongest if you're in Ogden, or willing to drive there. ---
For those Ogdenites or brave travelers, the headline attraction is Like Crazy, writer/director Drake Doremus' sensitive tale of the challenging long-distance romance between a British girl (the terrific Felicity Jones) and a American boy (Anton Yelchin) who meet in college but are separated by her visa problems. From the outset, Yelchin and Jones turn in performances that capture what will make this connection both perfect and, perhaps, doomed. And Doremus makes choice after choice that finds the idea focus, including choosing never to show the couple making love. The result is a film full of tiny perfections: the sense of disconnection that comes from separation; the inevitable doubts and suspicions; the way some things can continue just because you want so badly for them to work. It’s a movie to fall in love with, because of the way it conveys a certain kind of love story.
In Salt Lake, one of your better bets is the unique documentary The Green Wave, a fascinating, wrenching look at the run-up to and aftermath of the contested 2009 presidential election in Iran. Director Ali Samadi Ahadi does employ some talking heads—both dissidents-in-exile and scholars—to relate first-hand accounts of the hope that gave way to despair as supporters of President Ahmedinejad’s opponents were beaten, tortured and murdered for taking part in protests of suspected voting irregularities. The real power, though, comes from the combination of you-are-there video footage of the atrocities, and the animated dramatizations of blog entries and other online commentary from those on the front lines. They’re dark and haunting images, and the words are shattering. The stories and the way they are brought to life pack an emotional punch because we’re hearing the voices of people who were not just physically damaged, but left shattered by the knowledge of what their nation has become.