'Poison' wins film award

January 28, 1991|By New York Times

PARK CITY, Utah -- With less pain and more unanimity than is usual at the Sundance Film Festival, the dramatic film jury awarded its grand prize to "Poison," a first feature by gay filmmaker Todd Haynes.

"Poison," which was inspired by the novels of Jean Genet, interweaves three stories in three different styles and time periods. Mr. Haynes said the subject of "Poison" was deviance, but the jury saw the more universal issue of how all cultures shame people over sex.

A polarized documentary jury split its grand prize between Barbara Kopple's "American Dream," a political and social documentary about a strike at a Hormel meat-packing plant, and "Paris Is Burning," a highly wrought tale of black and Hispanic homosexuals who sit at their sewing machines making gowns to wear at Harlem drag-queen balls.

"American Dream" became the festival's first triple winner when it was also voted best documentary by the film makers themselves and byfestival audiences.

The dramatic jury awarded a special citation to a raw, personal account of growing up in the Red Hook projects in Brooklyn. "Straight Out of Brooklyn" is by Matty Rich, a 19-year-old.

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