Nate von Zumwalt
Over the next few months we’ll be chronicling memorable moments in Festival history as we reveal the mystery behind the 2011 snowflake icon. This week’s icon, the VHS cassette, takes us back to the 1989 Festival.
Steven Soderbergh’s sex, lies and videotape shocked the 1989 Sundance Film Festival and defied the notion that “indie film” meant artistic gains with little monetary rewards. Soderbergh’s feature film debut exploded at the box office and garnered the dramatic Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival along with an Oscar nomination. Sex, lies and videotape illustrates an intricate web of deceit among frustrated lovers, complicated by the return of an old friend with an absurd fetish. Soderbergh brilliantly layers narration over powerful images in this iconic small-budget film featuring Peter Gallagher, Andie MacDowell, James Spader, and Laura San Giacomo. Soderbergh and the cast reunited at the 2009 Festival’s “From the Collection” archival screening to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Festival. Sex, lies and videotape continues its reign today as one of the more pleasingly provocative films of our time.