Faith gets star treatment at Sundance
- Thursday, January 20, 2011
Some films highlight the connection between religion and society while still telling personal stories.
Helmrich, whose family has ties to Indonesia and both Islam and Christianity, was drawn to making a documentary about the lives of a
Muslim family with a Christian matriarch in the nation's most populous Islamic country.
"Butt Naked" is a personal story of a man seeking redemption after a 14-year civil war had killed 250,000 Liberians. Several scenes show the allegedly reformed warlord face-to-face with relatives of his victims, but why and how they forgive is left to the viewer to speculate, along with the question of whether such a sinner can truly be redeemed.
"We were interested in knowing if somebody made a transformation this extreme, what would it look like?" said co-director Daniele
Anastasion. " ... How much do you have to do to balance the scales? Is it even possible to balance the scales?"
Following is a brief synopsis of the major films dealing with faith, religion or spirituality at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival:
"Abraxas" -- A depressed Buddhist monk tries to reconnect with his punk rock past.
"The Catechism Cataclysm" -- A young priest who's lost touch with his flock reconnects with a high school acquaintance for a canoe trip.
"Higher Ground" -- Vera Farmiga, the Oscar-nominated actress from "Up In The Air," directs and stars in this movie about a woman seeking answers from a fundamentalist Christian community.
"Kinyarwanda" -- The first dramatic feature film produced by Rwandans intertwines six accounts of survival during the Rwandan genocide, including stories about a priest and an imam.
"The Ledge" -- An atheist says he must leap off a building by noon in a thriller that also examines the life of a woman seeking spiritual
"Lost Kisses" -- Residents in a Sicilian community suspect a 13-year-old girl has a miraculous vision.
"Martha Marcy May Marlene" -- A woman who fled a dangerous cult tries to return to a life of normalcy.
"Position Among The Stars" -- The final installment of a documentary trilogy that follows the life of a Christian matriarch living with her
Muslim sons in Jakarta, Indonesia.
"The Redemption of General Butt Naked" -- A former Liberian warlord who's responsible for the murder of thousands seeks salvation and forgiveness as an evangelical preacher in this documentary.
"Red State" -- Kevin Smith, who caused controversy with his scathing comedy "Dogma," tries out horror with this film about dangerous
"Salvation Boulevard" -- George Ratliff, director of the documentary "Hell House" about a church-run haunted house, directs this satire of megachurch culture. Starring Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Connelly, Marisa Tomei and Ed Harris.
"Tyrannosaur" -- Actor Paddy Considine ("In America") makes his directorial debut with this story of a self-destructive man who seeks
redemption with help from a Christian charity worker.
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