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5 for 5

5 for 5

Check out our latest indieWIRE roundup on Andrew Bujalski’s second feature Mutual Appreciation. This is one of our longest in recent memory–it’s nice to see how a film (and filmmaker) so ultimately modest in means and intents can still spark a dialogue about the definition and role of independent film in the theatrical marketplace. It’s also a pretty good movie. I’d call it “not-too-shabby,” except, well, it’s tremendously shabby. In a good way.

This caps five weeks in a row that we’ve devoted our column to new works of American “Independent” Film. To recap: Quinceanera, Half Nelson, Factotum and The Quiet. Unless I’m mistaken, this is the first time this has happened in the nearly two years we’ve been running it. Some of these films are actually performing quite well at the box office, and I’d be tempted to label this a kind of mini-resurgence, except that our panelists’ feelings on all of these films are largely mixed, when not downright hostile. This begs the question: Should we celebrate the success of homegrown narrative features, even if we don’t particularly like the movies in hopes that this might be a short-term loss/long-term gain situation? Does the success of these films work to remind folks that there’s more to independent cinema than Little Miss Sunshine or the next Hott Topics documentary? Or do they merely restate tropes we decry in Hollywood features, but on a smaller scale, one marked by the “authenticity” of the indie scene? Discuss.

And don’t go see The Illusionist. Blech. But why would you when the terrific Miami Vice is still on screen…

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