Sundance 2021: human factors, pleasure, prime time | Festivals and awards

Parents, Nina (Sabine Timoteo) and Jan (Mark Waschke) run an advertising agency. Jan has secretly accepted a job that is not going well with Nina. Their children, teenager Emma (Jule Hermann) and Max Primary School (Wanja Valentin Kube), are unaware of the conflict. The young boy is much more concerned about the fate of his domestic rat Zorro, lost in the break-in. In the aftermath of the incident that shook them all, the truth remains uncertain and other wounds are unraveling. Playing a busy father who has lost touch with those in his household, Waschke acts as a pragmatic agent even as, in a “Force Majeure” manner, his role as protector is called into question. Meanwhile, Timoteo, as the character who witnessed the crime the most, carries a quiet storm.

Trocker abandons the linear narrative and instead shows events from multiple angles, even ones we never expected to see, to build an elaborate puzzle of a movie that reveals itself in small doses or to conflicting narratives or reactions to it. the unique and collective experience. Behind all of the segments are comments on how we choose to blame outside factors for our inner problems. It could mean looking for reasons to explain a couple’s marital problems or having a xenophobic stance that blames foreigners for all the ills of a country. The way the director works with fear on a psychological level at first, and sometimes with a more visceral focus, turns “Human Factors” into an utterly intelligent thriller.

Shocking but not free, Ninja Thyberg’s “Pleasure” easily takes the title of the most explicit title at Sundance this year. It comes with a trigger warning for its portrayal of sexual violence. The Swedish director is developing her 2013 short of the same name, set in the middle of the adult film industry, but leading the action in Los Angeles, a production hotspot for such content.

In the feature film version, 19-year-old Linnea (Sofia Kappel) travels from Sweden to California to begin a professional career in porn. On screen and in social media, she goes through Bella Cherry. Sharing a house with other young women with similar aspirations, she realizes that the rise to stardom is far more taxing than she imagined. Determined to succeed, she tackles increasingly extreme scenes to attract the attention of the best producers. In this controversial area, it seems, the more physically painful and degrading the acts, the more valuable they are to them. Yet even though the scripts are fictitious and the people involved in the production are accommodating when the cameras aren’t rolling, she’s marred by hardcore degradation and psychological torture.

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