Sundance 2022: we saw the hero of Stranger Things as a social media star

AlloCiné follows the 38th edition of the Sundance Film Festival, starting with Jesse Eisenberg’s first production with Finn Wolfhard of Stranger Things, but also a chilling documentary on Bill Cosby and the return of Lena Dunham.

The 38th Sundance American Independent Film Festival is currently taking place online until January 30. AlloCiné participates in the event to share with you the most outstanding or expected films of this edition. Discover our selection of the day, made up of two fiction feature films and a documentary series.

When You Finish Saving The World

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This is the first achievement of actor Jesse Eisenberg, revealed by his role as Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network. For this attempt, he called on Julianne Moore, with whom he had never worked, and two young actors: Finn Wolfhard from Stranger Things and Alisha Boe from 13 Reasons Why.

Produced by Emma Stone, who rubbed shoulders with Eisenberg on the set of Welcome to Zombieland, When You Finish Saving The World tells the story of a mother and her son. She, active in helping battered women, former activist, he is a piercing musician on a fictitious social network reminiscent of TikTok and disconnected from the problems of the world.

The meeting of this son with a young woman will introduce him to current issues such as the exploitation of the planet and of men and in doing so, he will get closer to his mother, who is interested in another young man in whom she sees the son she thinks she never had and whom she encourages to go to higher education.

For his big premiere, Jesse Eisenberg does not seek to dazzle with a striking staging and is rather interested in the characters, well sketched and above all well played by the entire cast. They are the ones who bring this story to issues that are certainly current, but relatively already seen.

When You Finish Saving The World does not have a French release date but has the profile to be in the Directors’ Fortnight or (more likely) in Un certain regard at the next Cannes Film Festival.

Sharp Stick

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After a 12-year absence from the cinema (Tiny Furniture) and five years after the end of her Girls series, Lena Dunham returns to directing a feature film with Sharp Stick, the portrait of a 26-year-old young woman. (Kristine Froseth), who decides to lose her virginity to the father of the handicapped child in her care. Father who turns out to be married, and played by Jon “The Punisher” Bernthal.

It must be recognized that Lena Dunham (who plays a role in the film) has a tone that belongs only to her in the way she approaches sexuality in a frontal and uninhibited manner. Sharp Stick’s awakening to sexuality is no exception to the rule, also addressing the issue of pornography through a positive and feminist character played by Scott Speedman.

Sharp Stick lacks a point of view, a subject that goes beyond the desire to place themes on sexuality on the screen without really digging into them or giving them any depth.

From then on, the film becomes a series of not always happy situations which we guess are there to denounce their usual absence in Hollywood cinema, but which we would like to feed the story presented to us. Because if the film is eminently current in its themes, its subject is still missing.

We Need To Talk About Cosby

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At the festival, the four episodes of this miniseries were released into a four-hour film dedicated to actor, comedian and producer Bill Cosby, who in 2015 was accused of sexual assault by dozens of women, leading to his conviction to “3 to 10 years’ imprisonment”, before he was released on June 30, 2021 for procedural flaws.

Each episode mixes two aspects: the first looks back on the incredible career of the actor, the first African-American to hold the lead role in a TV series (Les Espions), comedy with family humor in an inimitable style, initiator of programs television educational, hero of the Cosby Show and one of the highest paid American stars of the 70s and 80s.

The second aspect parallels this brilliant career with the testimonies of his accusers, who for each of the major periods of his professional life, remind us that Bill Cosby is a sexual predator. The testimonies are obviously chilling, as are certain interviews given by Cosby or certain extracts from his series whose lines of dialogue, retrospectively, echo his modus operandi.

As for knowing if it is necessary to separate the man from the artist, the documentary of W. Kamau Bell lets its speakers try to answer it… each one has his own opinion, and the spectator will choose the one which corresponds to him.

We Need To Talk About Cosby airs January 30 on Showtime, and as of this writing, has no French broadcaster.

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