SXSW 2008 Film Pageant wrapped up this weekend, leaving in its wake a single tattered, oh so earnest, snapshot of Indie filmmaking. If Sundance is the official phrase on the state of indie filmmaking, SXSW is what you will study going to your native bar. Getting down with SXSW is what it takes to get your ear near the American unbiased film underground. This is a take a look at the Prime 5 Key Tendencies that emerged from this yr’s numerous group of fiction options and documentaries.
1. Mumblecore is right here to remain. Type of. The connection style for the Fb era, ‘mumblecore’ films are about youngsters who can not often say what they imply, imply what they are saying, or, even, enunciate correctly whereas they’re (not) saying it. The identify is considerably derogatory nevertheless it factors nonetheless to the actual issues of a era that has misplaced religion in love however stays romantic at coronary heart.
One of many extra intriguing entries is Joe Swanberg’s NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS which requires no shaping narrative to step contained in the lives of a younger couple dealing with an extended distance relationship. Principally, the film presents a collection of random snapshots of recognizable relationship moments: insatiable ardour, half-hearted compromise, bickering, disappointment, pleasurethe entire darn seize bag.
NATURAL CAUSES, MEDICINE FOR MELANCHOLY and THE LOST COAST all give their very own spin to the style: the primary performs it for comedy; the second weaves in questions of race, class and concrete gentrification; and the final delves into issues of friendship and sexual id. All in all, the extremes of the titles, from the clinically quotidian NATURAL CAUSES to the elegiac THE LOST COAST, level to a era firmly caught between the craving for the grand gesture and the restrictions of the emoticon.
2. The mockumentary is again with a distinction. This style comes and goes and Christopher Visitor has already perfected its comedian potential, and so, for that matter, have Stephen Service provider and Ricky Gervais with THE OFFICE (and franchises). The 2 mockumentaries at this yr’s fest stand out for his or her willpower to let the viewer fret over their standing. Certainly, A NECASSARY DEATH, seemingly the story of a scholar film undertaking on the lookout for the right suicidal topic to comply with up to date of the deed, holds onto its non-fiction standing till the top when it pulls the rug out from beneath the viewer.
WOODPECKER falls nearer to Visitor’s terrain, enjoying out as a tenderhearted bird-watching comedy. Nevertheless, the film’s interview topics are actual residents of Brinkley, Florida who the filmmaker interviewed for his or her ideas on the bird-watching craze that engulfed the city when reported sightings of the ivory-billed woodpecker, lengthy considered extinct, started to flow into.
In each instances, the films are invested in presenting themselves as dependable, credible documentaries, leaving the viewers to sift by way of the which means upturned when their fiction roots are laid naked. Perhaps, the are usually not even mockumentaries correct in that they don’t seem to be as inquisitive about having enjoyable with the fake documentary style as they’re in messing with audiences expectations, by being, fairly merely, pretend documentaries.
three. Hats Off To The Auteurs Of Yesterday Keep in mind within the early 90s when each Indie function was stylistically 6 levels from Tarantino? Issues change. Filmmakers this yr have been paying their respects to the canon, each European and American. Usually, this was evinced by a flip to realism and naturalism within the majority of films, however on a film by film foundation, a number of referred to as up the fantastic filmmakers of the 50s and 60s, whereas nonetheless remaining their very own inimitable selves.
Within the brief competitors, Wholpin Award Winner GLORY AT SEA drew comparisons to Werner Herzog for each its formidable, silly, epic scope and the entire dedication exhibited by its maker and his fearless crew. You must learn the entire evaluation to get the complete story on how this film turned a SXSW legend. Herzog can be proud.
Shot on 16mm, Josh Safdie’s THE PLEASURE OF BEING ROBBED drew rave evaluations and comparisons to Robert Bresson, a reputation that isn’t typically bandied about when talking of present films.
Grand Jury Award winner WELLNESS loosely skirts the floor of the deep tracks left by SALESMAN, arguably the Maysles brothers’ greatest work and positively one rattling bleak portrait of America. Equal elements bravado, delusion, hope and desperation, WELLNESS gives up the failed and failing American salesman as probably the most poignant of all figures. He’s so, not as a result of he has misplaced religion, however as a result of he has to maintain up the entrance, even when he not believes in both his product or himself.
four. Docs Love The Younger – And The Previous Because the success of earlier SXSW entry SPELLBOUND, adopted by MAD HOT BALLROOM, docs on American youngsters doing their factor have turn into a type of documentary sub-genre. SXSW 2008 gives FRONTRUNNERS, the story of a highschool election at Florida’s most prestigious public faculty. Nevertheless, YOUNG@HEART was the fest’s feel-good documentary, a take a look at a senior’s choir dedicated to performing rock hits.
The widespread thread right here is that each teenagers and the aged are completely shafted in most mainstream representations: the previous are glorified as brain-dead, oversexed shoppers, filled with MSN converse and restricted imaginative and prescient; and the latter are relegated to backdrop ornament, anticipated to offer occasional barbs and hilariously eccentric conduct. These docs do rather a lot to proper that stability of notion, giving the younger and previous alike a humanizing look that’s woefully missing on the multiplex.
5. The Warfare In Iraq: Documentary Wins Enjoying within the Premiere class was Kimberly Pierce’s eagerly awaited STOP-LOSS, however anticipation shortly melted into yet one more disappointing function concerning the Iraq warfare.
Fiction options on the topic are floundering, unable to maneuver previous the somewhat pat assertion that “war is hell” or slowed down by their blind dedication to their very own even-handedness. I type of want this era had a Samuel Fuller who might take the subject to city with no concern for ethical or political messages and simply let the state of affairs’s personal complexities and unanswerables take middle stage.
However the place fiction flounders, documentaries flourish, as was the case with SXSW doc spotlight FULL BATTLE RATTLE, a take a look at a army coaching facility within the Mojave Desert that simulates conflict circumstances for its trainees. Although audiences might have an “Iraq fatigue” introduced on by a saturated documentary slate on the topic, these films stand as an undeniably robust physique of labor: properly crafted, informative, clever, and emotionally charged.
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