Midnight screening of brutal film The Woman evokes outrage at Sundance

The Woman follows the story of the Cleek family. The father and husband, Chris, encounters a wild woman in the woods one day while out hunting and decides to capture her and force her to become civilized. The film follows Chris Cleek as he increasingly terrorizes the wild woman, the women of his family and every woman he encounters, while molding his son into the spitting image of the monster he himself is.

In the middle of the film, during a particularly brutal and gruesome scene, the man and woman sitting next to Cassia and I basically trampled us to get out of the theater. We were a little annoyed, considering the fact that they didn't even bother to say "excuse me" or ask to be let out, instead choosing simply to step on and over us. However, we assumed that they had just been grossed out and decided to leave early. Unfortunately this was not the case. When the film was over and the Sundance employee running the screening tried the start the Q&A session, the man stood up out of nowhere and starting in on a shouting rant about the movie being "misogynistic," "degrading to women" and "utter bullshit that never should have been made into a movie or shown to anyone for any reason."

On top of this, he went on this rant while standing beside an entire section of people who had worked on the film, including the director. He refused to sit down, calm down or be quiet despite being booed by most of the audience and told by the Sundance employees that security had been called. Eventually he had to be dragged out when the security guard arrived.  The Q&A then finally started with a very upset and rattled Lucky McKee presiding. We were told later by a man at the bus stop that they wouldn't normally drag someone out like that but that everyone was on high alert since the recent shootings in Arizona, and that Sundance was being extra careful because of Utah's lenient gun laws.

All in all, it made for an interesting experience.

Nathan Andersen teaches film at Eckerd College. He and his students will be reporting their impressions of Sundance 2011 throughout the festival.

Aly Campbell (communications major at Eckerd College) submitted the following from Park City:

Last night Cassia and I attended the midnight premiere of a horror film entitled The Woman. We both agreed after seeing the film that it was quite successful in being utterly horrifying. It was fairly hard to watch at some points due to the preponderance of carnage, torture and domestic abuse.  However, we also agreed that it was a compelling story, artfully crafted, raw, and realistic, with impressive performances by all of the actors. Unfortunately for the director, actors, crew, and the rest of the audience, there were one or two audience members who very adamantly disagreed with this opinion. Not to be completely overshadowed by the protests and drama surrounding the premiere of Kevin Smith's Red StateLucky McKee garnered his own share of outrage and controversy (much to the shy, nervous director's chagrin).

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