Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Commentary: The messages of the prophets of Sundance
Brit Marling, Michael Pitt and Steven Yeun in "I Origins."
Courtesy Jelena Vukotic  |  Sundance Institute
Pete Harjo in "This May Be The Last Time."
Courtesy Sundance Institute

A scene from "Blind." Courtesy Sundance Institute
A scene from "Blind." Courtesy Sundance Institute

A scene from "Fishing Without Nets." Courtesy Sundance Institute
A scene from "God's Pocket." Courtesy Sundance Institute

A scene from "Infinitely Polar Bear." Courtesy Sundance Institute
| Courtesy Sundance Institute
A scene from "Infinitely Polar Bear."
| Courtesy Sundance Institute
In the dysfunctional-family drama  "Infinitely Polar Bear," Mark Ruffalo (left) plays a manic-depressive dad trying to care for two daughters (Imogene Wolodarsky and Ashley Aufderheide).
A scene from "Ivory Tower." Courtesy Sundance Institute

A scene from "Low Down." Courtesy Sundance Institute

A scene from "Low Down." Courtesy Sundance Institute

A scene from "Obvious Child." (Courtesy Sundance Institute)
A scene from "Obvious Child." (Courtesy Sundance Institute)
 Courtesy Sundance Institute
A scene from "SEPIDEHñReaching for the Stars."

A scene from "The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz." Courtesy Sundance Institute

Computer genius and free-information advocate Aaron Swartz, subject of the documentary "The Internet's Own Boy." Courtesy Sundance Institute
Pastor Jay Reinke (right) avoids a reporter from the Williston (N.D.) Herald, in a scene from the documentary "The Overnighters." Courtesy Sundance Institute
A scene from "The Overnighters." Courtesy Sundance Institute
A scene from "The Overnighters." Courtesy Sundance Institute

A scene from "This May Be the Last Time." Courtesy Sundance Institute
A scene from "Watchers of the Sky." Courtesy Sundance Institute
A scene from "Watchers of the Sky." Courtesy Sundance Institute
A scene from "Watchers of the Sky." Courtesy Sundance Institute
A scene from "Whiplash." Courtesy Sundance Institute
A scene from "Whiplash." Courtesy Sundance Institute

Park City • In days of old, God used a burning bush to get Moses’ attention. Today’s prophets are often the truth-telling artists, singers, songwriters and filmmakers whose modern version of “Thus sayeth the Lord” bursts forth in a stunning, sensual explosion of sight, sound and touch.

They get our attention, and their prophetic word is visceral. It often goes beneath the rational radar and it can disturb more than it comforts. The annual Sundance Film Festival, which wrapped up last week, is like a tribe huddled around a campfire listening to the stories. These stories function like burning bushes, as prophetic calls to action. These films are meant not just to be watched, but to change us and, through us, to change the world.

Here are some of the messages I heard at Sundance 2014.

Value the worthy traditions of your youth.

As most young adults jettison their religious trappings, Native American filmmaker Sterlin Harjo is drawn into the hymns from his upbringing in the church. In “This May Be the Last Time,” he discovers the ancient roots of these hymns that connect the spirituals of the South, the whole-note singing of Appalachia and the very heart of his own existence.

There is something very real beyond the physical.

Story continues below

In “I Origins,” a scientist sets out to prove Charles Darwin’s theories of evolution and to destroy arguments for intelligent design. Unwittingly, he is drawn into an exploration of Leonardo da Vinci’s quip that “the eye is the window to the soul.” Reality, it turns out, is more than meets the eye.

The blind can see.

In “Blind,” a stunning piece of storytelling, Norwegian filmmaker Eskil Vogt explores the inner world of a beautiful young woman who loses her sight but finds her fertile imagination can nonetheless take her to places she would never have gone had she seen only through her eyes.

Love your neighbor.

In “The Overnighters,” a small church and its pastor encounter legions of men who are flocking to North Dakota for a chance to cash in on the energy boom. The community’s family values don’t include welcoming the thousands of down-on-their-luck, blue-collar workers flooding into the community. Who will love these strangers who are now neighbors?

See injustice. Work for what is right.

Next Page »
Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, click the red "Flag" link below it. See more about comments here.
Latest in Utah News

 
Jobs
 
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.