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Sundance Film Festival: 'Bhutto' and 'Killer Inside Me'

Sundance Film Festival: 'Bhutto' and 'Killer Inside Me'

The movie Bhutto is a stunning documentary. Michael Winterbottom's Killer Inside Me has been the most polarizing film at Sundance in a long time. Starring heavy hitters like Casey Affleck, Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson, the drama is based on the 1952 Jim Thompson novel. Ricki Lake, and a Real Housewives of New Jersey, attended the 8: The Mormon Propositionscreening.

I still remember hearing the late 2007 news’ report about the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the first woman elected to lead a Muslim state. The controversial Pakistani Prime Minister had come out of exile to lead her country back to some semblance of prosperity, and she was gunned down. The movie Bhutto is a stunning documentary, which chronicles the last 45 years of struggle in that region and the rise and eventual fall of Bhutto and her legendary father, Zulifikar.

The film explains the interests of all the Pakistani neighbors, as well as the internal strife, which led to multiple coups over the years. It offers a timeline of the events leading to her death with extensive footage, photos and audio recordings she made over years. She was an incredibly smart, articulate, committed woman in a man's world. I encourage everyone to see this film. 

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Another film I caught at the festival caused quite a stir.  Michael Winterbottom's Killer Inside Me has been the most polarizing film at Sundance in a long time. Starring heavy hitters like Casey Affleck, Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson, the drama is based on the 1952 Jim Thompson novel of the same name, and remained brutally faithful to the material. Affleck is a clean-cut, disarmingly polite, brutal killer. And while many films depict violence, this one is particularly graphic and violent toward the female leads. It reminded me of the way I felt when I left Natural Born Killers; anxious, pensive, disturbed, yet certainly entertained. People were buzzing in either a love/hate direction. I think it was well done, but nevertheless, hard to watch. And I question whether US moviegoers are willing to watch a beautiful woman get beat to death, regardless of circumstance. 

In other controversial movie news...following the screening of 8: The Mormon Proposition, Human Rights Campaign and Queer Lounge partnered to throw a top notch event.  Ricki Lake came, as did one of those from the Real Housewives of New Jersey (although they all blend to me).  Joe Solmonese, the President of the HRC and local public officials, including the Salt Lake County mayor who is running for Governor of Utah mingled with a 300-plus crowd. They had a couple photos from No on 8 rallies in Utah and Los Angeles blown up, and one had a woman holding a sign saying, "It's not over," which is exactly how we all feel. Filmmaker Reed Cowan attended and spoke passionately about our fight ahead.

Get more coverage of this year's Sundance from Jenn here!

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Jenn Kennedy