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Not Coming Soon 

Occasionally, indie films slip past Utah. Are we missing anything?

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Salt Lakers may have an inferiority complex about the city’s cosmopolitan-ness when it comes to many things, but film generally isn’t one of them. After all, we’re a Sundance Film Festival venue, and we support seven screens devoted to independent cinema. Certainly we aren’t missing anything—right?

In general, no. More than 100 films will pass through the Broadway Centre and Tower Theatres in 2010, and that will include a vast majority of the most critically acclaimed and talked-about independent releases. But occasionally, films that deserve attention will slip past the state of Utah without getting a chance—and, as a result, potential viewers might not even realize they exist.

Already in 2010, we appear to have missed out on a couple such films. Maren Ade’s Everyone Else, a drama about a young German couple struggling with their relationship while vacationing in Sardinia, received rave reviews from The New York Times’ Manohla Dargis and The Onion AV Club’s Scott Tobias, among others. Tobias was also among those who gave a perfect score to Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos’ psychological thriller Dogtooth, about three young-adult siblings kept under oppressive control by their parents. Both films flew under the radar with tiny distributors, and aggregate critical rankings in the high 80s and low 90s weren’t enough to get them into a local theater.

Will the same fate befall one of the most brilliant, controversial films to come out of Sundance 2010? Chris Morris’ jaw-droppingly hilarious Four Lions (pictured above; trailer below)—a comedy about a bumbling Islamic terrorist cell in London—appeared ready to be orphaned by its “that’s not funny” subject matter, until Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse stepped in to create a distribution arm specifically for this film. Like the aforementioned examples, it’s challenging and decidedly not for every taste—and currently not scheduled for local release.

Unless, that is, the market speaks—and viewers who want to see something a little bit different let the exhibitors know they’re willing to take a chance.

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