In Depth

Sundance Film Festival 2017: Nine films to look out for

Catch up on heavy-hitting documentaries, comedy adventures and a hangover-induced monster

The 2017 Sundance Film Festival is premiering many of the films that will become talking points, award winners and box office hits throughout the year.

The Utah event, which runs until 29 January, suffered a minor glitch when hackers temporarily brought down the booking website, but it has kicked off a programme of hard-hitting documentaries, poetic horror and offbeat comedies.

Here are nine films to look out for:

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power

With Donald Trump's new administration threatening to turn back the clock on climate progress, the follow-up to Al Gore's iconic Oscar-winning climate change documentary couldn't come at a better time. The former US vice president returns to the theme of man's threat to the environment, from flooding in the Philippines and the worst drought on record in Syria - which may have contributed to the civil war - to the chronic air pollution in China that is diminishing life expectancy. It's not all doom and gloom, however, as the film also shares stories of positive action taking place across the globe.

The Big Sick 

Produced by Judd Apatow and directed by Michael Showalter (Wet Hot American Summer), this quirky Guess Who's Coming to Dinner-style comedy is based on the true story of the film's writers - and real-life couple - Emily V Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley). It's a light-hearted look at a modern culture clash as Pakistan-born Kumail and his US girlfriend Emily navigate the expectations of his family and their traditions.

City of Ghosts

Cartel Land filmmaker Matthew Heineman tackles the tragic story of the Syrian conflict, focusing on a ragtag band of citizen journalists who risk their lives to tell the world about the destruction of their native city Raqqa by Islamic State. The film explores the terrible devastation of a city and the feelings of helplessness experienced by those forced to leave.

I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore

Netflix has already nabbed this quirky detective story, which sees starring Melanie Lynskey as a depressed woman who finds a sense of purpose after she and her oddball neighbour, Elijah Wood, set out to find the people who burgled her home. What starts as a search for lost cutlery soon turns into something much darker and funnier.

Colossal

Anne Hathaway stars in a wacky tale which somehow overcomes its preposterous premise. Gloria (Hathaway) believes her hard-partying ways have not only caused her own life to fall apart, but may have been responsible for Seoul being attacked by a giant monster. After losing her job and her boyfriend and moving back to her hometown, Gloria must figure out how her own failures could have such a "colossal" effect on the fate of the world.

Ghost Story

David Lowery directs this strangely poetic alternative horror, which is also a meditation on time, memory and spiritual connection. Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara play an unnamed couple who disagree over whether or not to move home. After the sudden and un-foreshadowed death of Affleck, Mara must literally live with the ghosts of her past.

The Discovery

Sundance founder Robert Redford plays a renowned physicist who has scientifically proven the existence of an afterlife. A year after his findings, his son (Jason Segel) meets and falls for a woman with a tragic past (Rooney Mara) and the two travel to a small New England island for mysterious reasons. One for fans of Netflix's supernatural drama The OA.

Manifesto

Julian Rosefeldt directs this Australian-German multiscreen project starring Cate Blanchett in 13 different roles, speaking words from artists' manifestos from different time periods with contemporary scenarios. The characters include a homeless man, school teacher, factory worker, punk, choreographer, newsreader, scientist, puppeteer and widow.

Beatriz at Dinner 

Salma Hayek stars as the title character in this chamber comedy-drama by Miguel Arteta. Beatriz is a healer dedicated to curing pain through holistic therapy. When her car breaks down after treating a client, she is invited to stay for a dinner celebrating a lucrative business deal. However, as the night unfolds, Beatriz subtly undermines the guests' dubious aspirations to force a different sort of healing. With John Lithgow and Chloe Sevigny.

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