With the Sundance Film Festival coming up in the next few weeks, movie news is going to be aflutter with information about new indie darlings, breakthrough filmmakers and actors, and the inevitable tragedies that befall folks who arrive too late at corporate gifting suites. Unfortunately, I won't be attending the festival itself – I have a date with a live commentary in Los Angeles with the cast and crew of Better Off Dead, thank you very much – but with the news cycle already in swing (check out a terrific preview piece here), I started thinking about some of my past favorite Sundance films, those movies that I discovered at least in part because of their promotion there.
Although he seems to exist solely to confound critics and audiences alike these days, Steven Soderbergh was one of the original, prototypical Sundance filmmakers. Sex, Lies and Videotape won the Audience Award in 1989, and the recognition both announced Soderbergh's arrival and boosted the visibility of the festival itself, signaling its relevance over the next two decades as champion of films and filmmakers outside of the mainstream – at least for the time being.
Sex, Lies and Videotape was also recently released on Blu-ray by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, complete with a new high-definition transfer, a commentary track by Soderbergh and Neil LaBute, deleted scenes, trailers and more. The convenience and immediate availability of this set notwithstanding, it seemed like an appropriate time – 20 years after its initial acclaim – to look back and see if Sex, Lies and Videotape still holds its resonance today.