Memphis Sundance Film Festival
Schedule of Events
6:00PM - Passing
Directed by Rebecca Hall
Irene Redfield (Tessa Thompson), a refined, upper-class 1920s woman, finds breezy refuge from a hot summer day in the grand tearoom of New York City's Drayton Hotel. Across the room, she spots a blond woman staring her down. Irene wants to steal away, but before she can, Clare Kendry (Ruth Negga) rushes over to stop her. It turns out the two were in high school together, and while both are African American women who can "pass" as white, they have chosen to live on opposite sides of the color line. Now, their renewed acquaintance threatens them both.
Passing is an elegant psychological thriller about obsession, repression, and the lies people tell themselves and others to protect their carefully constructed realities. In her debut feature, Rebecca Hall uses creamy, mesmerizing black-and-white cinematography and a deft directorial restraint to adapt Nella Larsen's acclaimed 1929 Harlem Renaissance novel into an affecting experiential insight into the pursuit of happiness and authenticity by those navigating the grinding tensions of American racism.
9:00PM - Superior
Directed by Erin Vassilopoulos
When Marian is on the run, she goes to the only place she knows is safe: her childhood home. She is greeted by her estranged sister, Vivian, a stay-at-home housewife struggling to conceive and on the verge of a failing marriage. Though the two are identical twins, they live opposite lives. Marian's mysterious return disrupts Vivian's small-town routine, and the sisters must learn to reconnect and reconcile. When Marian's haunting past finally catches up to her, their separate worlds collide, catapulting both sisters into grave danger.
Returning to the Sundance Film Festival with her feature debut—a continuation of her 2015 short, Superior—director Erin Vassilopoulos works with the same sister actresses (Alessandra and Ani Mesa) to further her exploration of identity. Superior is a visually luscious thriller that keeps the tension tight as the narrative navigates between violent memories and two sisters rediscovering their bond. From the music to the set design, every detail oozes style and intention—and heralds the undeniable arrival of a new voice in American independent cinema.