AN OVERSIMPLIFICATION OF HER BEAUTY by Terence Nance was another film on my must-see list. I had been planning to see it in the second half of the festival but luckily snagged a ticket to the premiere at the last minute. It was a full house and just an overall high energy screening. Nance introduced the film as a “no budget situation” and you really got the sense that the crew were friends working on a true passion project.
The official Sundance synopsis:
You’ve just arrived home after a bad day. You’re broke and lonely, even though you live in the biggest and busiest city in America. You do, however, have one cause for mild optimism: you seem to have captured the attention of an intriguing young lady. You’ve rushed home to clean your apartment before she comes over. In your haste, you see that you’ve missed a call. There’s a voice mail; she tells you that she won’t be seeing you tonight.
As I was watching the film, I couldn’t help but feel that it was strongly rooted in themes of memory and unrequited love. Sort of a mixture of WALTZ WITH BASHIR and 500 DAYS OF SUMMER and the most innovative visual images I’ve ever seen. The film is also so multilayered and overwhelmingly personal that at times I felt like it was teetering on the line between fiction and nonfiction. Perhaps that’s the hook that grabbed me at least. You’re given such an intimate portrait of Nance’s love story with this woman within the live footage but at the same time the animation sequences give you distance to see the narrative construction. If that makes any sense.
In the Q&A, Nance mentioned that most of the film was scripted and was determined to finish the project during the 6 year production. Several folks in the audience applauded the film as work of art while others asked what it was like working on something so personal for so long. Nance spoke about the idea of “coming to self awareness and self awareness through love” and gaining distance by telling himself that was a past him/past mistakes in the film.
I ran into Nance and his producer Chanelle in the hallway at the festival headquarters my second day volunteering, which was pretty great intro to Sundance. It was one of the many times I would meet a filmmaker who’d journey inspired me via Twitter but I did not know in person. OF HER BEAUTY is truly an inspiring story to any emerging filmmaker: raising over their Kickstarter goal to finish the film in time for Sundance, support from a multitude of film organizations and web word-of-mouth and produced by a diverse group of creative individuals doing big things in Brooklyn.