Six years after the critically acclaimed Pariah, Sundance is buzzing about Dee Rees’ newest project, Mudbound. The film premiered on Saturday at the Sundance Film Festival and had audience already speculating Oscar wins.
Based on Hillary Jordan’s 2008 novel, Mudbound follows two families, one white and one black, struggling with lost opportunities and racial tensions in the 1940’s American Deep South.
Although a period drama, Dees approaches a similar theme as in Pariah, the feeling of not being seen or acknowledged.
In Pariah, Rees explored the battle of a young gay teen against her judgmental relatives while in Mudbound, she examines the struggle of being a citizen of a nation that does not fight for you.
“I wanted to juxtapose the battle at home versus the battle abroad with the battle at home sometimes being even bloodier than the battle abroad – to show these two families fighting on the front lines”.
Rees explained she felt a deep connection to the story especially because of her grandmother. She inserted images and facts from her grandmother’s life in Louisiana.
Producer, Cassian Elwes, believed it was crucial for the film to be directed by a woman as the character of Laura (Mulligan) is the driving force of the story.
“You need that female perspective to be seen through the eyes of a women, because she’s the cornerstone of the story”.
Mudbound also brings back another acclaimed female filmmaker, Fruitvale Station cinematographer, Rachel Morrison.
Mudbound, directed by Dee Rees and starring Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Mary J. Blige, Jason Mitchell, Garrett Hedlund and Jonathan Banks, premiered at Sundance on Saturday, January 21 and is currently seeking distribution.