Is quirky maverick independent cinema dead?

You know I was just pining about this the other day. Well, actually when I was looking at my film collection. I’ve always been in to independent movies -but real independent movies. Independent before Hollywood studios started making them. The true independents from the 1960’s and 70’s from directors like John Cassavetes and Francois Truffaut. Or independents from the 80’s and 90’s, from the gay community, art community, women, African American and indie classics like Clerks. These were perhaps community independents made on a shoestring with characters so true, so cool and so interesting.

Where are those independents now? I think the golden age of true independent cinema is over. There was a time when we watched independents because they were different from Hollywood –they were quirky, they took risks and featured minorities or were directed by women or the warped genius of a male auteur. What do we have now?

I read a recent Empire Magazine listing of 50 of the “best” independent movies. As I expected they were all movies made by and for macho heterosexual English speaking men. To me, true independent cinema is filmmaking from all corners of life and one that takes risks and sticks a finger up to the moneymen who care only about box office numbers.

True independent cinema:

“Face” by John Cassavetes

“Clerks” by Kevin Smith

“Jules et Jim” by Francois Truffaut

“Go Fish” by Rose Troche

“Swingers” by Doug Liman

“Pink Flamingos” by John Waters

“She’s Gotta Have It” by Spike Lee

“Stranger Than Paradise” by Jim Jarmusch

“Eraserhead” by David Lynch

“Sex, Lies, and Videotape” by Steven Soderbergh

“Night of the Living Dead” by George Romero

“But I’m a Cheerleader Too” by Natasha Lyonne

“Party Girl” by Daisy von Scherler Mayer

“Jeffrey” by Christopher Ashley”

“Videodrome” by David Cronenberg

“Kids” by Larry Clark

“A Bout de Souffle” by Jean Luc Goddard

“Chunking Express by Wong Kar Wai

I haven’t mentioned Quentin Tarantino. I am a big fan of his movies but unfortunately his style has been copied by every guy with a video camera and his influence is completely mainstream even though his movies are not. And of course he in turn was influenced by independent European and Asian cinema.


Ginger Liu – Film Buffet


Hi Film Fans,

I invite you to check out the new film social network site – Filmbuffet. It’s brand new – BETA. Be the first to try it out. We welcome fans to write content, start a group and build your own discussion pages. Make it your own.

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Sign up, it’s free, check it out for yourself. It’s cool.


The Buzz – start your own discussions.

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Discussion – start or comment on a thread.


Here’s my page – sign up!

Here’s the blurb:

Filmbuffet invites movie fans to continue their movie experience online. Think of us like your friendly neighborhood coffee shop.  Only instead of coffee, we’re serving up a mixture of good conversation, original reviews and the opportunity to make new friends with others who share your interest in film.  A place where you’re the star and your opinion matters.

As the first social networking and movie cataloging site of its kind dedicated to movie lovers, we invite you to build your own virtual movie collection to share with friends and other movie lovers. Discover the movies your friends and family members loved – or hated.  Influence other movie fans by rating and discussing movies.  Learn from other movie fans with similar tastes in film.

And if you’re dying to see a film featured in another member’s movie collection? You can also watch movie trailers or purchase DVDs and movie tickets from the Filmbuffet site.

Cheers everyone,

Ginger Liu

Film and TV columnist for Regent Media, reporter for Inside Hollywood Examiner and contributed to Playlist-Indiewire, LA2DAY, Yahoo, Pocketchange LA, LA.COM, IMDB, Film Community and MTV.  My coverage has appeared in Variety, Cinemablend, Moving Pictures, Fangoria, Yahoo. Owner of Ginger Media & Entertainment and GLIU Photography & Film.