Institute History

  • 2005 Sundance Film Festival


Formally stunning and compositionally complex, Sugar, Reynold Reynolds's and Patrick Jolley's first feature, is a striking postnarrative, Gothic horror masterpiece. When a woman rents a miserably tiny room, she finds mountains of belongings from the previous tenant, "Anthony," as well as messages on the machine from the landlord, his mother, and a calm, threatening Irishman. As she cleans up the place, she begins to experience uncanny visions, nightmares, and the feeling that Anthony is much closer than she imagined.

Samara Golden gives a brilliantly unsettling performance; with no one to talk to, her sanity is eroded by a confrontation with her own body in this confining space, the size of a postage stamp. The mise-en-scène is like a filthy fishbowl; a fourth wall of grimy shop glass catches graffiti and backlights the woman, while the omnipresent shadows of street figures begging, pissing, and quarreling heighten the visual distance of this odd girl-woman from the world.

Terror haunts her sweaty-summer mind as she ritualistically cleans the room, strips to old-fashioned bra and panties, climbs in the fridge to cool down, and makes pudding. Sugar is a terrifying, intoxicating cockroach-eye view into the sweet surrender of hysteria and comforts of urban claustrophobia that will have you crawling out of your skin.

— Larin Sullivan

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]