We dive headlong into the festival with a first look at God Loves Uganda, Touchy Feely and a doc about the greatest recording studio you’ve never heard of.
Day two at the O2 sees the universe putting the “sun” in Sundance London, making for a beautiful day to be sitting quietly in dark rooms watching movies while you all work on your tans and eat ice cream. It’s a sacrifice, but one we’re willing to make for you, dear readers, because we love you…
You can see we’ve been indoors a bit too long.
ANYWAY, first up was God Loves Uganda, a fascinating documentary about the impact Christianity and those who preach it have on the poverty stricken people of Uganda, who eat up their every word because they don’t know any better – of course, this attracts the extremists who’d be laughed out of every room in America (one guy here convinces a room of Ugandan children that gay people were to blame for the holocaust). Like all great documentaries, God Loves Uganda is a film that sets out to draw attention to an unbelievable and vitally important issue in an honest and lucid way and the result is this powerful and infuriating doc. Unmissable.
Also unmissable but in a very different way is Lynn Shelton’s Touchy Feely, about a massage therapist whose world crumbles around her when she develops an aversion to human contact when forced to confront elements of her past. The response to the film after the screening was overwhelmingly negative, but we really fell for it. It certainly has a few problems (a couple of loose subplots are forgotten at the end) but, overall, Touchy Feely is a sweet, gently moving mumblecore movie about grown-ups. Our favourite movie of the fest so far.
Finally, we have Muscle Shoals, another documentary, this time about the small American town that gave birth to some of the greatest music ever produced in the USA (Etta James, Aretha Franklin, The Rolling Stones), and the unlikely men who made it happen in a small production studio. Although it rambles on a bit too much, and it’s too interested in the tragedy ravaged life of the studio’s founder, Muscle Shoals is an interesting look back at a special period in the history of music.
So, yeah, well worth losing a day’s sun tan for.
Words: Matt Mansfield (Follow Matt on Twitter @mattmansfield_)