Thu, May 26, 2011
(180 min.) An ambitious new breed of cinema? The primary forum for new film talent today? A simple-minded "youthquake"? Mumblecore is all of these things and more.
While the names of such filmmakers as Andrew Bujalski (FUNNY, HA HA, 2002; MUTUAL APPRECIATION, 2005), Aaron Katz (DANCE PARTY, USA, 2006; COLD WEATHER, 2010); Joe Swanberg (HANNAH TAKES THE STAIRS, 2007; ALEXANDER THE LAST, 2009); Kate Aselton (THE FREEBIE, 2010) may not exactly be household names (yet), names like the Duplass Brothers (THE PUFFY CHAIR, 2005; CYRUS, 2010) and Lynn Shelton (HUMPDAY, 2009) just might ring a bell. And certainly, there’s no denying that when it comes to acting, the Queen of Mumblecore herself, Greta Gerwig, has found her way rather nicely as a rising star recently by starring opposite Ben Stiller in the sometimes mumblecore and critical fave, GREENBERG (Noah Baumbach, 2010) and opposite Russell Brand and Academy Award Winner Helen Mirren in the decidedly not mumblecore ARTHUR (2011).
But what exactly is "mumblecore"?
How and why has mumblecore taken the festival world and audiences by storm and allowed some of its makers to become Hollywood players and commercial film stars?
How is mumblecore distributed?
How does it function cinematically? Does mumblecore share anything with other comparable youth movements in cinema like Godard and Truffaut’s early French New Wave films (BREATHLESS, THE 400 BLOWS) or even John Hughes’ comedies (PRETTY IN PINK, THE BREAKFAST CLUB) of the 1980s?
Why do some film critics consider mumblecore to be simply smug portraits of a new generation of privileged, white slackers, while other critics see mumblecore as an expressive, contemporary outgrowth of the work of Vittorio De Sica, Robert Bresson, John Cassavetes and Whit Stillman? Wow!
If both Sundance and South By Southwest regularly embrace mumblecore films in their annual lineups, is mumblecore the only way for filmmakers working on a budget to emerge in a crowded U.S. film arena? How have critically acclaimed filmmakers like 2010 Los Angeles Film Critics Association’s Next Generation Award Winner Lena Dunham (TINY FURNITURE), Kelly Reichardt (OLD JOY, MEEK’S CUTOFF), Lance Hammer (BALLAST) and, most recently, Sophia Coppola (SOMEWHERE), challenged the rigors of mumblecore?
Perhaps you believe mumblecore is giving unheard of liberties to emerging filmmakers and helping to build a new generation of film and acting talent.
Maybe you believe that mumblecore is just a momentary quake in independent filmmaking and a masturbatory example of easy technology (mumblecore writer/director Swanberg alone has made over 8 feature films in just over 5 years).
Maybe you just need to wrap your head around the whole darn, mumbling thing!
On Thursday, May 26, join Film Consultant/Film Festival Programmer Thomas Ethan Harris (Los Angeles Film Festival, Palm Springs International Short Film Festival) to tackle the sometimes controversial, ever present rise of what could very well be America's first film movement.
Film clips will be used to inspire an open dialogue with the audience.