Hold on to your hats, dear readers: the 29th annual Sundance Film Festival kicks off today in Park City, Utah. Your humble film editor is on the ground, in snow boots and several layers of sensible sweaters, with a film-going schedule that could alternately be described as “ambitious” or “insane.” But what are we to do? It’s the most prestigious festival in America for a reason — with dozens of feature films unspooling over the next eleven days, it’s a survey and preview of what we’re going to be watching, enjoying, and chattering about all year. Still, there’s always going to be a few titles that move to the top of our “must-see” list; we’ll share them with you (and explain why they’re there) after the jump.
DIRECTOR: Richard Linklater
CAST: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy
Director Linklater and co-star/co-writers Hawke and Delpy pulled a fast one on all of us last year, sneaking off and shooting the third installment of their ongoing romantic chronicle while giving interviews insisting it was still just in the writing stage. But the timing was right — it’s been nine years since Before Sunset (yes, seriously, and yes, WE KNOW), which is the length of time between that film and the first of the series, Before Sunrise. In prep for Sundance (okay, using prep for Sundance as an excuse), your film editor revisited both films recently — a return viewing which confirmed that, as wonderful as the first film is, the second is a richer and deeper one (perhaps due to the addition of its actors’ voices to the screenplay). Will that pattern of improvement-upon-perfection continue? We can’t wait to find out.