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