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‘Forty Shades of Blue’ scores at Sundance

Family drama wins top prize; ‘Why We Fight’ takes jury prize
/ Source: The Associated Press

The family drama “Forty Shades of Blue,” centering on a modern Oedipal triangle involving a music producer, a Russian wife half his age and his son, won top dramatic honors at the Sundance Film Festival.

“Why We Fight,” examining the chronically militant stance of the United States over the last half century, took Sundance’s grand jury prize for documentaries.

Awards were presented Saturday, with top winners screening one last time on Sunday as the 11-day independent-film showcase ended in Park City, Utah.

Directed and co-written by Ira Sachs, “Forty Shades of Blue” stars Rip Torn as the aging husband, Dina Korzun as his Russian bride and Darren Burrows as the estranged son whose visit hurls their lives into turmoil.

“Why We Fight” was directed by Eugene Jarecki, brother of Andrew Jarecki, whose “Capturing the Friedmans” won the Sundance documentary prize in 2003.

The audience award for dramatic films, chosen in voting by Sundance film-goers, went to “Hustle & Flow,” the tale of a two-bit pimp and drug-dealer (Terrence Howard) who enlists an odd assortment of allies in a bid to break into the hip-hop music scene. Written and directed by Craig Brewer, “Hustle & Flow” was produced by John Singleton.

Sundance movie-goers chose directors Henry Alex Rubin and Dana Adam Shapiro’s “Murderball,” a portrait of the competitive spirit of wheelchair-bound athletes, as the audience-award winner for documentaries.

Filmmaker Zeze Gamboa’s “The Hero,” set in the aftermath of decades of civil war in Angola, earned the grand jury prize among world-cinema dramatic contenders.

“Shape of the Moon,” Dutch director Leonard Retel Helmrich’s portrait of a Christian family in Muslim-dominated Indonesia, took top honors in the world-cinema documentary category.

Danish director Susanne Bier’s “Brothers,” about two siblings whose lives are drastically altered when one is deployed on a United Nations mission to Afghanistan, received the world-cinema audience honor.

Canada’s “Shake Hands With the Devil: The Journey of Romeo Dallaire” won the audience award for world-cinema documentary. Directed by Peter Raymont, the film centers on the Canadian military man who had to stand by helplessly during the Rwandan genocide because the token U.N. force he led was too small to intervene.

Special jury prizes for acting were given to Amy Adams, who plays a childlike Southern waif captivated by her worldly new sister-in-law from up north in “Junebug,” and to Lou Pucci as a teenager whose oral fixation for his thumb causes a ruckus among his family in “Thumbsucker.”

Among other Sundance winners:

  • Noah Baumbach won the dramatic directing prize and the Waldo Salt screenwriting award for “The Squid and the Whale,” a tale of a dysfunctional family starring Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney.
  • Jeff Feuerzeig received the documentary directing honor for “The Devil and Daniel Johnston,” chronicling the life of a musician and artist suffering from manic depression.
  • Amelia Vincent earned the cinematography award for dramatic films for “Hustle & Flow,” while the documentary cinematography honor went to Gary Griffin for “The Education of Shelby Knox,” about a college student who challenges her Texas town’s conservative sex-education policies