One of last movies I saw were "Meek's Cutoff," the pioneer western as envisioned by kitchen sink realist independent film-maker Kelly Reichardt.
Thx for sharing. I'm looking for more independant american movies, Any suggestions ?
Hell, I work for an independent arthouse in my city, so I could dole out recommendations all day. Kelly Reichardt's two earlier films before Meek's Cutoff, "Old Joy" and "Wendy and Lucy" and definite recommendations from me.
Jim Jarmusch is arguably the most important American film-maker out there from the 80s onward. I'd say the whole current "mumblecore" movement owes everything to 70s Mike Leigh and Jarmusch's "Stranger than Paradise." His entire oeuvre is fantastic; check out "Down by Law," "Mystery Train," "Night on Earth." Its been said that Jim is more interested in what happens during the pauses between action scenes in a film, than the action itself. He'd rather see the film that's not in the film. And it shows particularly in his early work.
John Sayles is another important monolith of American independent film. "Matewan", based on the West-Virginia coal miners' strike, is a must-see, and I also think "Silver City", and "Honeydripper" are criminally underrated.
Gus Van Sant is one of those directors who still bothers to make independent films in a very minimalist, cinema verite style after having obtained mainstream success ("Good Will Hunting"). His "Death Trilogy," "Gerry," "Last Days," and "Elephant" are his most essential work, in my opinion, though "Drugstore Cowboy" is probably his best introductory film.
Julian Goldberger is an American film-maker that I have to give a shout out to. He's only made two films, but his second one, "The Hawk is Dying," I thought was a tremendous effort, and Paul Giamatti's best work. I didn't know there was such a thing as swampy, "redneck noir," until I saw that film.
Brad Anderson is a canadian film director, like David Cronenberg, so technically doesn't apply, but his early work encompasses some great indie gems: "Next Stop Wonderland," one of the better rom-coms I've ever seen (in that it isn't plucky, placating, sentimental drivel) with prime-of-her-career Hope Davis, and "Session 9", perhaps the best "horror" film I've ever seen, in that it emphasizes horror more as a state of mind, a state of regret, than a boogeyman. Also it helps that it takes place entirely in the late, great, Kirkbride 19th-century asylum building Danvers State Hospital.
Love him or hate him, misanthropic cult director Todd Solondz always makes provocative, darkly satirical takes on American bourgeois society and values, in a way that makes Sam Mendes' overrated "American Beauty" seem trite and obvious by comparison. Check out his work "Welcome to the Dollhouse," "Happiness" and "Storytelling". He's a rare example of a man whom I sort of loathe for his outlook and relentless pessimism, but respect the hell out of for his art.
Whit Stilman is another cult american director who makes sardonic movies gently skewering the American bourgeoisie, though with very different sensibilities and a far lighter (and funnier) touch than Todd Solondz. Check out: "Metropolitan," "Barcelona," and "Last Days of Disco," which is probably his most popular, with early performances by Chloe Sevigny and Kate Beckinsale (before her "Underworld" stage).
I'll stop now. That should be enough to whet your palate. There are many indie films out there that are "one-off" efforts by mostly unknown directors, who came from obscurity, got noticed by larger studios, and could accrue the funding for one film that failed to make a splash (or there follow-up lost money) and they sort of faded away. "Shadow of the Vampire," a revisionist retelling of the myth behind the making of F. W. Murnau's 1922 "Nosferatu," is like that for me, one of my favorite American films.
Have just seen an small independent french movie called "LÎle" (= The Island).
The story behind the movie is pretty interesting, as its director, Olivier Boillot, has struggled very hard to make this movie. No studio here in France has helped him on this project, juste because it's a sci-fi/fantasy movie, and all studios told him "we don't know how to make that kind of movie in France"...
I guess if your name isn't Jean-Pierre Jeunet, you're shit out of luck. His latest "Micmacs" was one of the loudest, most whimsical pieces of phantasmagoria I've ever seen.
... enough that I've bought it three times on DVD and twice on VHS, losing copies to being worn out or stolen by "friends" after I introduced them to the film.
Never a borrower nor a lender be. ;-)