Posts Tagged ‘indie cinema’


As much as blockbusters can thrill us, beyond the well-tended flowerbeds and spacious corner offices of Hollywood there’s a world bubbling with creativity, free spirits and up-and-coming talent. Some of the heroes of American indie cinema have gone on to try their hand at multiplex fodder; some have stayed resolutely outside the mainstream. The list below ranked according to their greatness, celebrates both, as well as some of the names that didn’t achieve the acclaim they deserve this past year.

 6. Another Earth

Director:

Mike Cahill

On the night of the discovery of a duplicate planet in the solar system, an ambitious young student and an accomplished composer cross paths in a tragic accident.

When someone is being truly honest you get a film like Another World.  It is someone like you and me, bringing up thoughts and concerns that we all feel in a cinematic way. Questions about identity, life, its meaning and purpose as well as all the things the film elicits from you: the watcher. The core of the movie is largely philosophical. Forgiveness. Rebirth. The first time director Mike Cahill has beautifully woven the two opposite genres sci-fi and drama. An odd little sci-fi-leaning tragi-drama that would possess nothing worth noting at all if not for star/co-writer Brit Marling and her breakout performance.

 5.  Pariah

Director:

Dee Rees

Writer:

Dee Rees

Stars:

Adepero OduyeKim Wayans and Aasha Davis

Genres:

A Brooklyn teenager juggles conflicting identities and risks friendship, heartbreak, and family in a desperate search for sexual expression.

I don’t think it’s fair to say that PARIAH is this year’s Precious, but I don’t blame those who try to make the comparison. PARIAH does have themes about staying strong in the face of adversity, but just like Brokeback Mountain and Albert Nobbs, this film is also about being true to oneself and about acceptance. PARIAH is a bold, courageous feature debut by writer/director Dee Rees and a noteworthy performance by lead actress Adepero Oduye. This independent movie is not worth missing out.

4.  Melancholia

Director:

Lars von Trier

Writer:

Lars von Trier

Two sisters find their already strained relationship challenged as a mysterious new planet threatens to collide with the Earth.

A planet called Melancholia is nearing planet earth, and it is feared it might hit the earth, or it might just fly by. In this back-line story the family tensions unfold between Justine, her sister (and husband) and her mother. A brilliant movie by Lars von Trier. While not for everyone this is a challenging film that gets what depression is really like and takes us on a thought provoking and unpleasant ride with it   and I for one was really glad about that.  Kristen Dunst is marvelous.

3. Martha Marcy May Marlene

Director:

Sean Durkin

Writer:

Sean Durkin (screenplay)

Stars:

Elizabeth OlsenSarah Paulson and John Hawkes

Genres:

Haunted by painful memories and increasing paranoia, a damaged woman struggles to re-assimilate with her family after fleeing an abusive cult.

Atmospheric and unpredictable, “Martha” was the clear standout among Sundance’s narrative features. Starring Elizabeth Olsen (younger sister of Mary Kate and Ashley) in a stunning breakout performance as Martha, a young woman who escapes from a dangerous cult, the movie also marks an incredibly assured feature debut for writer-director Sean Durkin.

Shifting effortlessly between Martha’s experiences with the cult (led by Oscar nominee John Hawkes in a sinister turn) and her difficulties adjusting to a “normal” life with her older sister (a magnificent Sarah Paulson), the film emerges as a slow-burning psychological thriller of the highest order.

2.  Project Nim

Director:

James Marsh

Stars:

Bob AngeliniNim Chimpsky and Bern Cohen

Genres:

Tells the story of a chimpanzee taken from its mother at birth and raised like a human child by a family in a brownstone on the upper West Side in the 1970s.

Oscar-winning “Man on Wire” documentarian James Marsh finds another incredibly true story from the recent past—this time the tale of Nim Chimpsky, a chimpanzee who was raised by scientists like a human child for the first few years of his life. The purpose was to determine whether or not animals could be taught to communicate with and live like humans. The results are fascinating, funny and frightening, but the power of this excellent documentary comes from Marsh’s interviews with the colorful characters involved in the (mis)handling of Nim.

1. Midnight in Paris

Director:

Woody Allen

Writer:

Woody Allen

Stars:

Owen WilsonRachel McAdams and Kathy Bates

Genres:

A family travel to the French capital for business. The party includes a young engaged couple who are forced to confront their differing views of a perfect life.

Continuing his Euro flavored adventures, Paris seems to have brought Woody Allen to life in one of his best efforts in years. Opening with sweeping shots of Paris from morning to night set to jazz, the latest from Allen almost seems spun from his own dreams and inspirations.  This one has a great lead in Owen Wilson, who can deliver Allen’s dialogue without turning himself into a caricature. It’s a nostalgic valentine to Allen’s greater films, to a long-gone Paris, to an intellectual fantasy, to everyone’s youth and ambition. Delicious.

After all these said, movies listed above are all brilliant in their own way. Along with these, there are also other Indi movies that came out last year like “Win Win”, “Take Shelter”, “Terri”, “Like crazy” and many more. Though most of them are low-budget, released with limited prints, low-grossing in the box-office, that will definitely not change the fact that these are some of the best movies Hollywood has ever produced. I will not recommend these movies to everyone. But to those who are into drama and indie movies, these movie are definitely not less than a treat.

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