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Distinctive pleasures offered by independent features

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Gavin J.
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  1. Introduction
    1. The subversion of the formulaic approach of Hollywood
    2. Nicholas Rombes' collection of essays
  2. Background, history and critical overview
    1. The overriding objective
    2. The success of independent cinema
    3. Sconce's view
    4. The subversion of the neo-conservative formula
    5. The proliferation of independent films
    6. The rich and often novel narrative trends
  3. Passion fish and 21 grams
    1. Similarities
    2. Differences
    3. The opening scene of Passion Face
    4. The independent film approach of both films
    5. American smart films
    6. The parallels between the two characters in Passion Fish
  4. Conclusion
  5. Bibliography

The definition of what makes a film ?independent? has been difficult to clarify with polarized opinion on whether independent status depends on finance or alternatively Andy Warhol's nihilistic perception of ?independent? as meaning opposition to the dominant media on several fronts (Levy, 1999). The latter view includes technological medium, the undermining of corporate Hollywood institutional filmmaking, aesthetic in terms of avant garde cinematic storytelling and economic and political by exploring controversial and disenfranchised subject matters (Levy, 1999). Indeed, King highlights that the narrative of the independent film often subverts genre, thereby heightening viewer empathy with characters in contrast to the Hollywood approach, which would support the Warhol perception of independent film (King, 2005).

[...] The focus of this analysis is to critically evaluate the distinctive pleasures offered by American Independent cinema and consider whether the resultant success of the independent medium has resulted in the redundancy of the independent v Hollywood model. In undertaking this evaluation, I shall refer to Passion Fish (Sayles, 1992) and 21 Grams (Gonzalez Inarritu, 2003). BACKGROUND, HISTORY & CRITICAL OVERVIEW The overriding objective of this paper is to evaluate the distinctive pleasures offered by American Independent cinema with reference to two examples. [...]


[...] Whilst the dichotomy between the subject matter of both films and structure is obvious, the underlying foundation of both films highlights the distinctive pleasures of American independent cinema. Passion Fish utilizes the conventional storytelling approach to subvert plot and characterization, whereas 21 Grams adopts a novel cinematic approach to storytelling. However, both mediums create heart wrenching snapshots of bleak reality for many, without the happy ending. As such, the trajectory reflects real life and forces the audience to re-evaluate expectations and hypotheses depending on the subject matter of the film, which is the key distinguishing feature underlying the growing success of independent film. [...]


[...] Alternatively, forked narratives and parallel stories such as Sliding Doors have incorporated the distinctive pleasure of the independent film; namely subversion of the narrative. This further incorporates novel narrative forms, achieving an inherently aesthetic appeal (Bordwell, 2006). It is further argued that this strategy in mainstream cinema is a hallmark of American independent cinema (King, 2005). Indeed, complex narratives are often rooted in independent cinema, which has now ?supplanted foreign art cinema as the most prominent feature film alternative to Hollywood, offers appeals that are distinct from those in mainstream cinema? (King, 2005). [...]

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