Ulee’s Gold

Director: Victor Nunez
Screenwriters: Victor Nunez

Institute History


Victor Nunez has a well-established reputation as one of the major talents working staunchly in the independent arena. (He’s the only director ever to win two Grand Jury Prizes for best dramatic film at previous Sundance Film Festivals.) But even an appreciation for the range of Nunez’s accomplishments leaves one unprepared for the power and quality of Ulee’s Gold.

As viewers, we’ve become accustomed to the excess and redundancy of most cinematic storytelling. Nunez is one of the few filmmakers who uses a feather instead of the usual hammer. His films build methodically and gradually, they are nuanced and extremely delicate, and they capture audience’s hearts and minds with their extraordinary vision of the poignancy of working people’s lives and souls.

Ulee’s Gold centers on a taciturn, rather solitary beekeeper living in the tupelo marshes of the Florida panhandle, country that Nunez knows well. A grandfather, Ulee Jackson is the kind of salt-of-the-earth, industrious, fiercely independent man that embodies the American blue-collar hero. But being forced to care for his two granddaughters, whose mother has abandoned them and whose father (Ulee’s son) is incarcerated, has created less than the ideal family, and both young women are suffering, rebelling, and retreating into themselves. The situation grows rapidly darker, indeed ominous,as the past resurfaces and Ulee must leave his self-imposed isolation to deal with it. Peter Fonda’s masterful performance is the fuel that energizes this superb melodrama. Ulee’s Gold is a film that is sure to touch the heart and rebuild faith in the dignity and resilience of thee American family.

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details

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