Sundance Film Festival 2022: Elizabeth Banks, John Boyega and a battle of the clones

Sundance Film Festival 2022: Elizabeth Banks, John Boyega and a battle of the clones

Entertainment, News

1/24/2022 2:00:00 AM

Sundance Film Festival 2022: Elizabeth Banks, John Boyega and a battle of the clones

From Jan. 20-30, our film critics are scoping out the best, buzziest and most unexpected titles of the Sundance Film Festival. Read on for our second dispatch from the fest, including our thoughts on a great John Boyega performance, a pandemic-fueled sci-fi flick, and two Karen Gillans for the price of one.

Framing Agnes: Re-framing transness, but getting lost in conversationZachary Drucker appears in Framing Agnes by Chase Joynt, an official selection of the NEXT section at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Ava Benjamin Shorr.

The premise:"Agnes, the pioneering, pseudonymized transgender woman who participated in Harold Garfinkel’s gender health research at UCLA in the 1960s, has long stood as a figurehead of trans history. In this rigorous cinematic exercise that blends fiction and nonfiction, director Chase Joynt explores where and how her platform has become a pigeonhole. ""Framing Agnes" endeavors to widen the frame through which trans history is viewed — one that has remained too narrow to capture the multiplicity of experiences eclipsed by Agnes’s. Through a collaborative practice of reimagination, an impressive lineup of trans stars (Zackary Drucker, Angelica Ross, Jen Richards, Max Wolf Valerio, Silas Howard, and Stephen Ira) take on vividly rendered, impeccably vintage reenactments, bringing to life groundbreaking artifacts of trans health care."

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Sundance Film Festival 2022: Opening highlightsFor the second year in a row, the Utah-based festival is a virtual event, with world premiere documentaries and narrative films streaming online. Here are some of the early highlights.

Sundance Film Festival 2022: Princess Diana, Julianne Moore and some very big volcanoesFrom Jan. 20-30, our film critics are scoping out the best, buzziest and most unexpected titles of the festival. Read on for our first dispatch on the first two days of the fest, which featured a new dramedy from writer/director Jesse Eisenberg, a stylish documentary about Princess Diana, a new take on the 'one wild night' teen comedy formula and a stellar Norwegian romance.

‘A House Made of Splinters’: Film Review | Sundance 2022Simon Lereng Wilmont's documentary focuses on a shelter for children impacted by unrest in Ukraine, specifically the experiences of a trio of sad-eyed subjects. They said this can take until 5 years more, I assumed that he destroyed my life, why he have to do the same with my son's? because he can't have his rights, why nobody thinks that there is a child in the middle of all this? ❤️JUSTICE4US❤️justice4noahisaacandamandagarcia

‘The Exiles’: Film Review | Sundance 2022First-time documentarians Ben Klein and Violet Columbus work with veteran Christine Choy to finish her decades-old work with Tiananmen Square survivors.

Elizabeth Banks in Phyllis Nagy’s ‘Call Jane’: Film Review | Sundance 2022‘Carol’ screenwriter Nagy directs the story of a suburban woman’s involvement in the Jane Collective, an underground service that provided safe abortions in Chicago in the years before Roe v. Wade. Buy now I always secretly thought the versatile Elizabeth Bank is better than anyone thought This review is spot-on 👍

‘Master’: Film Review | Sundance 2022Regina Hall stars in Mariama Diallo’s debut feature about a trio of Black women surviving their fall semester at a prestigious, historically white college. There is no greater joy than having financial stability and a life free of debts, that’s why I keep tweeting about lisamiabtc3 it has been a pleasure collaborating with you...there is no other way I can show my appreciation other than tweeting the good deed you have done.

Nicole Beharie in the bingeworthy series "Sleepy Hollow" Framing Agnes: Re-framing transness, but getting lost in conversation Zachary Drucker appears in Framing Agnes by Chase Joynt, an official selection of the NEXT section at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Ava Benjamin Shorr. The premise: "Agnes, the pioneering, pseudonymized transgender woman who participated in Harold Garfinkel’s gender health research at UCLA in the 1960s, has long stood as a figurehead of trans history. In this rigorous cinematic exercise that blends fiction and nonfiction, director Chase Joynt explores where and how her platform has become a pigeonhole. ""Framing Agnes" endeavors to widen the frame through which trans history is viewed — one that has remained too narrow to capture the multiplicity of experiences eclipsed by Agnes’s. Through a collaborative practice of reimagination, an impressive lineup of trans stars (Zackary Drucker, Angelica Ross, Jen Richards, Max Wolf Valerio, Silas Howard, and Stephen Ira) take on vividly rendered, impeccably vintage reenactments, bringing to life groundbreaking artifacts of trans health care." Our critic’s take : Chase Joynt has long been interested in both reclaiming trans history and recontextualizing it within the lens of performance — his previous documentary, "No Ordinary Man," trod similar ground with actors getting into the head of trans jazz icon Billy Tipton. But in expanding his 2019 short into a feature length film, Joynt’s myriad frames for the life of Agnes and her fellow gender clinic participants begin to get more than a little muddled. Most effective are the reenactments of the conversations Agnes and others have with UCLA sociologist Harold Garfinkel (the latter played by Joynt, the former by a gaggle of high-profile trans performers, including Jen Richards and Angelica Ross). Joynt filters these probing, insightful conversations through the lens of a Mike Wallace-like talk show, to great effect. But Joynt constantly dips us in and out of that framework: he jumps to conversations with the aforementioned actors and actresses about how their characters’ lives dovetail with their own experiences with gender presentation, while a subplot about a trans scholar (Jules Gill-Peterson) further sends the film down an intellectual cul-de-sacs. Joynt grasps at several different approaches at once, never quite landing on one. But where the doc excels is in its broader context as a work of trans reclamation, an effort to understand a past that was rarely documented for fear of personal safety. It’s dense and messy and a little hard to follow, but hey, so is our constantly-growing understanding of queer and trans history. [Clint Worthington]