Into the Mystic

Cults and the uncertain futures dominate Sundance

But no film at Sundance explored the tension between old and new media, fixed history and the uncertain future wired life is hurtling toward as powerfully as Braden King's highly experimental romance HERE. Will (Ben Foster) is an American cartographer contracted to gather ground data for satellite maps in rural Armenia; he meets native Armenian photographer Gadarine (Lubna Azabal) by chance when she returns from travels abroad. As King alternates between naturalistic but sensual snapshots of their ensuing road trip and non-narrative, pure-cinematic montages, HERE encompasses themes of distance and intimacy and the moral gradients of recording fact and creating art/fiction. The couple's common obsession with the lonely road brings them together (as does their physical chemistry), but it doesn't change who they are or their complicated engagement with both the romantic nature of travel and its darker side—namely, conquest.

This vital, gorgeous, cerebral, and deeply passionate film was the only great thing I saw at Sundance that remains without a U.S. distributor as of press time—proving, perhaps, that sex can only sell so much.

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