Arts & Culture

Radha Blank’s Sundance Winner Is a Must-See on Netflix

09 October 2020

Netflix’s upcoming movie slate includes major new offerings, and includes a Sundance gem from breakout first-time filmmaker Radha Blank “The Forty-Year-Old Version,” which won Blank the Best Director prize at Sundance earlier this year.

Blank stars in the film as a variation of herself opposite a cast of mostly new faces, including Peter Kim, Oswin Benjamin, Imani Lewis, and Haskiri Velazquez. Tony winner Reed Birney also stars, while Lena Waithe is attached to the film as one of its producers.

Writer/director Radha Blank poses for a portrait to promote the film “The 40-Year-Old Version” at the Music Lodge during the Sundance Film Festival on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP)

The official synopsis for “The Forty-Year-Old Version” from Netflix reads:

“Radha, a down-on-her-luck NY playwright, is desperate for a breakthrough before 40. But when she foils what seems like her last shot at success, she’s left with no choice but to reinvent herself as rapper RadhaMUSPrime. ‘The Forty-Year-Old Version’ follows Radha as she vacillates between the worlds of Hip Hop and theater on a quest to find her true voice.”

Perhaps the biggest impression made in the official trailer outside of Blank’s fresh comedic voice is the cinematography from Eric Branco, the director of photography who made a name for himself last year in a big way thanks to his work on “Clemency,” the Alfre Woodard-starring prison drama that won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

Branco and Blank shot “The Forty-Year-Old Version” on location using black-and-white 35mm film stock. The result is a love letter to New York City that hits even harder amid the pandemic.

“The Forty-Year-Old Version” will stream globally on Netflix beginning October 9. Watch the official trailer below.

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