Religion

Sundance So Far: More On The Juicy Scientology Doc Everyone Is Talking About

Sunday and Monday’s Sundance brought warmer temps and some titles we definitely want to talk about. “Tangerine,” the iPhone-shot film about two transgender prostitutes is picking up attention, and the freshest, coolest film yet, “Dope,” sold for $7 million after a bidding war.

After seeing a few smaller indie films during the day, HuffPost Entertainment’s Sasha Bronner and Matthew Jacobs lined up two hours early for the hyped documentary about the Church of Scientology, “Going Clear: Scientology And The Prison Of Belief.” Our collection of thoughts below:

“Going Clear: Scientology And The Prison Of Belief”
Written and directed by Alex Gibney

scientology

Author Lawrence Wright is an authority on the world of Scientology. He wrote a groundbreaking article for the New Yorker in 2011 and two years later published his 560-page book, “Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief.” The much-anticipated book (he did more than 200 interviews with current and former Scientologists) chronicles the life story of Scientology’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard, as well as an examination of the inner workings of the church and exposes shocking details about internal abuse and brainwashing.

Documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney, who won an Oscar for “Taxi to the Dark Side” and also garnered attention recently for the Lance Armstrong documentary, “The Armstrong Lie,” has taken on the Wright tome and turned it into a shocking and eye-opening documentary about one of the most fascinating religions in the world.

The HBO-funded doc features footage from inside Scientology mega-galas, a chronology of both John Travolta and Tom Cruise’s relationships with the church, and perhaps, most shockingly, in-depth interviews with some of the highest ranking ex-Scientologists out there. For those who have read Wright’s book, the documentary doesn’t reveal more than you already know. But for anyone who doesn’t know much about Scientology, this documentary leaves you spellbound. (The Church of Scientology has already slammed the film as “false information.” More on its rebuttal is here.) — SB

*****

“Nasty Baby”
Written and directed by Sebastián Silva
Starring Sebastián Silva, Kristen Wiig, Tunde Adebimpe, Mark Margolis, Reg E. Cathey, Alia Shawkat and Agustín Silva

nasty baby

The audience at the press screening of “Nasty Baby” may have been one of Sunday’s most polarized. Blame it on an art installation where adults coo like infants, the psychosis of a Brooklyn neighborhood dweller and a third act that morphs into what could be an entirely separate movie. It starts as a restless dramedy about a progressive…

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