“Four Weddings and a Funeral” and “Sin Nombre” Among Films With March Anniversaries

Édgar Flores stars in Cary Joji Fukunaga’s feature debut, “Sin nombre,” which won two awards at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.

By Lucy Spicer

Can you believe it’s been 30 years since audiences across the country first witnessed the iconic kissing-in-the-rain scene from Four Weddings and a Funeral? The BAFTA-winning film premiered at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival before releasing to wider audiences in March of that same year, and rom-coms would never be the same again.

A fascinating and diverse array of Sundance-supported films celebrate birthdays this month, including the five titles below. In addition to the film that launched Hugh Grant, the selection includes a nonfiction dive into the modeling industry of the ’90s, a drug-fueled frenzy starring Jason Schwartzman and Brittany Murphy, an award-winning feature debut about a gang member on the run, and a documentary that follows the 1991 testimony of Anita Hill.

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) — In the film that made him a household name in the rom-com genre, Hugh Grant plays Charles, a guy with plenty of approachable charm, a quirky friend group, and a long list of ex-girlfriends. And while Charles can’t seem to commit to a relationship, everyone around him appears to be doing the opposite, filling up Charles’ weekends with wedding invitations. When he meets a glamorous — but elusive — American named Carrie (Andie MacDowell) at one of these weddings, a conflicted Charles starts to reconsider his habit of serial monogamy. Directed by Mike Newell with an Oscar-nominated script from Richard Curtis, this unexpected hit set a record for highest-grossing British film upon its release. Check here for viewing options.

Courtesy of Film Manufacturers Inc.

Beautopia (1999) — The term “supermodel” blew up in the 1990s, when names like Kate Moss, Claudia Schiffer, and Naomi Campbell became as well-known as the fashion designers they modeled for. Suddenly, teenage girls dreamed of becoming models rather than movie stars. Filmmaker Katharina Otto-Bernstein examines this phenomenon in her documentary Beautopia, which premiered at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival. Otto-Bernstein’s film follows four young hopefuls across the globe as they navigate the cutthroat world of modeling with big hopes and little guidance. Check here for viewing options.

Spun (2003) — Jonas Åkerlund brings all the frenetic energy of his experience directing music videos to his darkly comic feature-film debut, which premiered in the Midnight section at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival. College dropout Ross (Jason Schwartzman) buys methamphetamine from Spider Mike (Sundance regular John Leguizamo), through whom Ross meets Nikki (Brittany Murphy). Nikki introduces Ross to her boyfriend, The Cook (Mickey Rourke), who has a meth lab in a motel room and is interested in employing Ross as a driver. Co-writers William De Los Santos and Creighton Vero took inspiration from De Los Santos’ short time exploring the drug subculture in Eugene, Oregon, to write the film’s screenplay. Check here for viewing options.

Sin nombre (2009) — Young Casper (Édgar Flores) is firmly entrenched in the Mara Salvatrucha, and he helps 12-year-old Smiley (Kristyan Ferrer) with his own initiation. When a deadly altercation along the train tracks separates the two, Casper finds himself on a journey with an undocumented Honduran family, including the kind Sayra (Paulina Gaitán), while Smiley must prove his loyalty to the gang. Writer-director Cary Joji Fukunaga developed his feature debut at the Sundance Institute Directors and Screenwriters Labs in 2006 before bringing the project to the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the U.S. Dramatic Directing Award and the U.S. Dramatic Excellence in Cinematography Award. Check here for viewing options.

Anita: Speaking Truth to Power (2014) — In 1991, law professor Anita Hill was subjected to national attention and a vicious attack on her character when she was made to publicly testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee after her private report alleging sexual harassment by Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas was leaked to the public. Director Freida Lee Mock brings together archival footage of the hearings with contemporary interviews to highlight both the injustice of the proceedings and the galvanizing effect that Hill’s stalwart testimony had and continues to have, igniting a national conversation about sexual harassment in the workplace. Mock’s film was supported by a 2011 Sundance Documentary Film Grant before premiering at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Check here for viewing options.

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