5 to See: Sundance London 2021

Now in its sixth year, Sundance London assembles the best of America’s most prestigious movie event, the Sundance Film Festival, for British film lovers. With movies, panels, Q&As and masterclasses all taking place at London’s Picturehouse Central cinema, there’s much to enjoy. ASFF picks five of the best films playing over this weekend.

Together Together

Marking her second film after 2015’s Stockholm, Pennsylvania, writer-director Nikole Beckwith returns with Together Together. Ed Helms, of The Hangover and The Office fame, plays forty-something Matt, who decides to become a father using a surrogate. Patti Harrison plays Anna, the young loner who takes on the role – spawning an unusual relationship between the two that challenges their notions of love, connections and boundaries.

Misha and the Wolves

Sam Hobkinson’s documentary takes on the story Misha Defonseca, a Belgian Holocaust survivor who claimed that she set out, aged 7, to find her real family during WWII and – remarkably – befriended a pack of wolves that protected her along the way. Her resulting book became a best-seller, but that’s only half the story, as Hobkinson’s film reveals. For all those that loved rug-pulling documentaries like Three Identical Strangers and Capturing the Friedmans.

The Nest

Director Sean Durkin made a huge impact with his 2011 film Martha Marcy May Marlene. Since then, he made the four-part British drama Southcliffe, but The Nest is his first return to cinemas in a decade. Jude Law and Carrie Coon star in this unnerving family drama about a commodities broker and his American family settling down for life in a Surrey mansion. As Law’s Rory seeks ostentatious opportunities in the UK, so the cracks slowly start to appear.  

CODA

When CODA played at this year’s Sundance, it sparked a bidding war between studios, with Apple TV+ eventually winning the rights to release the film for a record-breaking $25 million. It was a shrewd investment. Sian Heder’s tale of a teenage girl (Britain’s Emilia Jones) who is a CODA – a ‘child of deaf adults’ – is one of the year’s best. An inspirational tearjerker, take the chance to see it on the big screen while you can.

Zola

This comedy started as a viral Twitter thread by Aziah ‘Zola’ King, which spawned a Rolling Stone article (‘Zola Tells All: The Real Story Behind the Greatest Stripper Saga Ever Tweeted’) and now this film from Janicza Bravo. Taylour Paige plays Zola, a Detroit waitress lured into a weekend of stripping in Florida to earn a quick buck. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t go well. American Honey’s Riley Keough co-stars.


Sundance London runs until 1 August. Click here for more details.

James Mottram