Sundance 2018: Jennifer Fox’s The Tale rare, bold film with new narrative template on sexual grooming

The Tale, directed by distinguished filmmaker and writer Jennifer Fox, is one of those rare bold films that breaks from a narrative template. In this fictionalized autobiography, Fox sets a new direction away from the usual path of survival instincts that points instead at the complexities of sexual assault by identifying stages of sexual grooming … Read more

Sundance 2018: This Is Home: A Refugee Story warm, personable account of Syrian families making new attachments in America

In the harsh cacophony of the debate about immigration and refugees, facts and statistics rarely move the needle in changing opinion. And, there’s plenty of research available, especially longitudinal data collected over many years. It’s easy to summarize. Sources such as the Migration Policy Institute provide data that show education and income level are among … Read more

Sundance 2018: Audience-pleasing Hereditary, Damsel highlight Utah connections, locations

Utahns will recognize a good sampling of their state’s unparalleled scenery in two films – both containing unconventional elements to represent their respective genres — that premiered during this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Hereditary, directed and written by Ari Aster, an unusual horror film that has attracted much attention in Sundance’s Midnight program slate, and … Read more

Sundance 2018: Christina Choe’s Nancy subtle, satisfying psychological thriller

Seven years ago, online audiences drew close to the experiences of Amina Arraf, who described herself as a Syrian-American lesbian. Web traffic exploded on her blog A Gay Girl in Damascus and Arraf engaged in cyber relationships with political activists who identified as lesbian. Then Arraf disappeared, leading her readers and online friends to believe … Read more

Sundance 2018: Bisbee ’17 documentary reenacts one of most bizarre, humiliating responses to labor unrest

To some, the events of July 12, 1917 that culminated in one of the most bizarre and humiliating responses to labor unrest in U.S. history made the once thriving copper-mining town of Bisbee, Arizona, just seven miles from the Mexican border an “American tragedy”, “an ethnic cleansing” or a “corporate gulag.” Others saw the dramatic … Read more

Sundance 2018: Talal Derki’s Of Fathers and Sons an emotional look at radicalism’s impact on Syria’s children

In Of Fathers and Sons, director Talal Derki picks up where he ended Return to Homs, the 2014 winner of the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival. Derki, who was born in Damascus but now lives in Berlin, offered a small yet still visible glimmer of hope in the … Read more

The rededication of spirit: Top 10 moments of the Utah Enlightenment in 2017

It is not an artifice that the mind has added to human nature. The mind has added nothing to human nature. It is a violence from within that protects us from a violence without. It is the imagination pressing back against the pressure of reality. It seems, in the last analysis, to have something to … Read more

Ballet West unveils sparklingly new The Nutcracker

Soloist Alexander MacFarlan in Ballet West's The Nutcracker 2 - Photo by Luke Isley

For more than 60 years, Ballet West has been part of Utahns’ festive celebration of the holidays with the annual run of Willam Christensen’s The Nutcracker. Billed as the longest-running full-length production in America, Ballet West has devoted $3 million to a reimagined presentation of costumes, sets and special effects to update this spectacular ballet … Read more

Utah Film Center to screen Mexican documentary No Dress Code Required on eve of 4th anniversary of Utah marriage equality ruling

In 2013, four months before the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Windsor case set the stage for courtroom challenges to bans against same-sex marriage in every state, the Mexican Supreme Court ruled in a case brought by three couples from the state of Oaxaca that denying the rights to marriage equality was unconstitutionally discriminatory. … Read more

UMFA’s Go West! Exhibition offers intriguing, eye-opening juxtaposition of American West history, mythology

Not that many decades ago, the work of artists who imagined and represented the American West — spanning the transition from Lewis and Clark’s famed expedition in the early 1800s to the culmination of the manifest destiny ideal that occurred at the turn of the 20th century — was not seen regularly in the same … Read more