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Sundance Kids

James Mottram

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A formidable new generation of American film-makers are currently in their prime: Paul Thomas Anderson, Alexander Payne, Sofia Coppola, David Fincher, Spike Jonze, Wes Anderson, to name but six. Call them ‘The Sundance Kids’. . .

A conspicuous number of these talents first kick-started their careers in the workshops of Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute in Utah, or made the big time after screening their work at the Sundance Film Festival. Nowadays, acclaimed movies such as Payne’s Sideways, Jonze’s Being John Malkovich and Coppola’s Lost in Translation have reminded people of that great period in the 1970s spearheaded by Scorsese, Altman, and Sofia Coppola’s father, Francis.

In this comprehensive study, James Mottram traces the roots of this new generation to Steven Soderbergh’s Sex, Lies and Videotape – a low-budget tour de force that premièred at Sundance en route to conquering Cannes which persuaded some of the ‘Sundance Kids’ to first pick up a camera. Mottram proceeds to analyse each director and their oeuvre, placing each carefully within the context of the ever-changing landscape of American cinema over the last fifteen years.

And Mottram poses the question – are we witnessing a new Golden Age of film-making?

Critic Reviews

Dedicated moviegoers will be fascinated by the minutiae, and Mottram is lively, well informed and writes with clarity.

Critic Reviews

A joy to read for any cinephile, this is a well-researched, insightfully-rendered book that will both inform and provoke debate.

Critic Reviews

Mottram's insightful account of the recent rise of UD independent cinema. His well-crafted history fuses interviews, box-office economics, and film analysis as he focuses on a number of key directors.

Scotland on Sunday
Critic Reviews

Mottram's book is the best sort of film journalism. Based on interviews with all the principal players and replete with sensible, informed judgements about the filmsand their directors, delivered in unpretentious language, it never loses sight of its analytical thread, and its arguments and observatons never strain for effect. The result is an invaluable guide to some of the best American directing talent of the past 15 years.

Sunday Times
Critic Reviews

fascinating and accessibly written. ****

Critic Reviews

Steadily debates the merits of the film-makers without getting too enthralled by the egos and tantrums. A solid read for anyone trying to put the current crop of Hollywood's finest into perspective.

Total Film

James Mottram is a film journalist and critic who has written The Making of Memento and The Sundance Kids: How The Mavericks Took Back Hollywood.

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