At a festival that features several films with sexual content, including full male nudity and a documentary about bestiality, a Southern Gothic tale that includes the rape of a young girl is causing the biggest stir.
"Hounddog" is the story of Lewellen, a girl played by 12-year-old Dakota Fanning, who is growing up in the 1960s South. She is a free-spirit obsessed with Elvis Presley and has little supervision by her abusive father and alcoholic grandmother.
Even before the first screening of "Hounddog" at the Sundance Film Festival this week, a Christian film critic, citing Fanning's age, decried the movie as child abuse, and Roman Catholic activist Bill Donohue called for a federal investigation.
"It's not a rape movie," Fanning said Tuesday. "That's not even the point of the film."
"It's not really happening," Fanning said of a rape. "It's a movie, and it's called acting. I'm not going through anything. Cody and Isabelle aren't going through anything, their characters are."
"And for me, when it's done it's done," she said. "I don't even think about it anymore."