The 2010 Sundance Film Festival opened its doors last night with fist pumps and cries to rebel, to destroy, to fight for what you believe in and to not be afraid to lean on someone for help, guidance or a solution. Thematically, the new regime at Sundance did a superb job programming their opening night slate -- spreading it across three different screenings (a full-length narrative, a shorts program and a documentary), all of which featured the aforementioned themes loud and clear. The festival had announced its return -- its rebirth -- and if you weren't game to jump onboard, these opening night films would grab you by the arm and toss you into the middle of the dance floor.
Most buzzed-about right out of the gate was Spike Jonze's 35-minute short, I'm Here. What was essentially a depressingly honest look at a deteriorating relationship set against a whimsical not-so-distant future where robots and humans co-exist, this, to me, felt like Jonze's most personal film to date. I know nothing of his prior relationship with Michelle Williams, or what went wrong there, but it was pretty obvious that Jonze crafted this "love" story -- about one robot who keeps giving to his self-destructive partner until he's nothing but a shell of his former self -- after experiencing this sort of thing first hand, either personally or through a close friend.
Sweet and heartfelt, yes, but a sobering reminder that we sometimes lose ourselves in these relationships that aren't healthy because we're in love with the idea of being with a person, or the idea of being in love -- of doing something different with your life that breaks away from everyday boredom and exposes you to what is perhaps our most dangerous drug: love.