What’s Out at Sundance in 2011

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THE GREAT FILMMAKER Jean-Luc Godard said somewhere that art is not a reflection of reality; it is the reality of that reflection. That being the case, to judge by the feature films coming out of the Sundance Film Festival this past January, it seems that GLBT youths are finding cinema to be the outlet with which to express the oppression of living in the closet and the freedom of coming out, both as individuals and as artists.

This year’s festival opened with a world premiere screening of a film called Pariah. Written and directed by Dee Rees, an acolyte of Spike Lee, Pariah follows the life of seventeen-year-old Alike, a girl from a working-class family who presents herself one way at home and a very different way at school, at nightclubs, and in her writing. Rees’ directorial debut consists of several scenes which demonstrate that anyone over the age of eighteen in Alike’s African-American neighborhood is homophobic. It is only when Alike comes out of the closet that she begins to find her true literary voice. (Note: Focus Features picked up Pariah at Sundance.)

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