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Sundance to open ‘In Bruges’

The film's title tells us that this won't be some road movie set on route 66. An odd choice for an opener – some of you might say, especially for the premiere U.S independent film festival – but what is telling about this selection is the festival's commitment and strong suit: fostering new talented filmmakers.
Moments ago, the Sundance film festival announced that Martin McDonagh's In Bruges is the opening film for the fest, thus serving as a great spotlight for Focus Features' first release of the 08' calender. The dark thriller will find itself in theaters only a couple of weeks later on the 8th of February.

One of the people who got to see the film early is the director of Geoffrey Gilmore who in the issued press statement said “In many ways IN BRUGES is a quintessential Sundance film– it’s brutal, philosophical, funny, and totally original. Martin McDonagh is a masterful storyteller, a tremendously gifted playwright and provocative risk-taker and we are thrilled to showcase his feature-length directorial debut.”

McDonagh visits some of the familiar territory he did with his 2006 short film (Oscar-winning) Six Shooter. Written by McDonagh, this tells the story of hit men Ray and Ken, (Farrell and Gleeson, respectively) who, after a badly botched job in London, are ordered by their boss, Harry (Fiennes), to cool their heels in the bucolic city of Bruges, Belgium. Very much out of their comfort zones, the men find themselves drawn into increasingly dangerous entanglements with locals, tourists, and a film shoot. When their stay in Bruges takes a turn for the worst, Ray and Ken realize Harry may have plans for them other than a simple vacation.

Look for's coverage of the 2008 Sundance film festival over the months and weeks ahead. And for the record: Bruges, Belgium is one of my favorite cities in Europe. 

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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