This World, Then the Fireworks

Director: Michael Oblowitz
Screenwriters: Larry Gross

Institute History

  • 1997 Sundance Film Festival


The work of the master of pulp fiction, Jim Thompson, has been adapted for the screen a number of times. But nothing previously prepares one for this plunge to the depths achieved by filmmaker Michael Oblowitz and producer/ screenwriter Larry Gross. As darkly perverse a melodrama as you’re likely to see, this story by Thompson is a litany of evils and immorality that keeps it from being everyone’s cup of tea. But those who can appreciate its excess and style will be energized, provoked, and satiated

Murder, blackmail, drugs, sexual abuse, whoring, duplicity, incest, patricide, and deceit are elements in this almost antinaturalistic crime movie that its director describes as “film trés noir.” Starring Billy Zane, Gina Gershon, and Sheryl Lee in a twisting and turning narrative that utilizes love, seduction, greed, and treachery as casually as the normal crime drama lights a cigarette, This World, Then the Fireworks takes audience members to places they may never have been before, countering modern sensibilities, morality, and political correctness with a sardonic style.

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details

As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]