Details

ISBN-10: 0231144652
ISBN-13: 9780231144650
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publish Date: 04/04/2011
Dimensions: 8.90" L, 6.00" W, 0.70" H

Indie: An American Film Culture

Paperback

Price: $32.00

Overview

America’s independent films often seem to defy classification. Their strategies of storytelling and representation range from raw, no-budget projects to more polished releases of Hollywood’s “specialty” divisions. Yet understanding American indies involves more than just considering films. Filmmakers, distributors, exhibitors, festivals, critics, and audiences all shape the art’s identity, which is always understood in relation to the Hollywood mainstream.

By locating the American indie film in the historical context of the “Sundance-Miramax” era (the mid-1980s to the end of the 2000s), Michael Z. Newman considers indie cinema as an alternative American film culture. His work isolates patterns of character and realism, formal play, and oppositionality and the functions of the festivals, art houses, and critical media promoting them. He also accounts for the power of audiences to identify indie films in distinction to mainstream Hollywood and to seek socially emblematic characters and playful form in their narratives. Analyzing films such as Welcome to the Dollhouse (1996), Lost in Translation (2003), Pulp Fiction (1994), and Juno (2007), along with the work of Nicole Holofcener, Jim Jarmusch, John Sayles, Steven Soderbergh, and the Coen brothers, Newman investigates the conventions that cast indies as culturally legitimate works of art. He binds these diverse works together within a cluster of distinct viewing strategies and invites a reevaluation of the difference of independent cinema and its relationship to class and taste culture.

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Reviews
Indie makes a significant contribution to the literature on American independent cinema, one that is likely to reshape debates and discussions for several years to come. By broadening the definition of independent cinema beyond simple industrial formulations, Newman charts the contours of 'indie' as a particular taste culture involving particular structures of distribution, consumption, and critical reception. By showing how companies built a niche audience of upscale consumers by targeting their "indie" sensibilities, Newman's book beautifully captures the multidimensional quality of American independent cinema in the nineties and 'naughts' its formal play, multicultural appeal, and 'branding' as off-Hollywood product.–Jeff Smith, University of Wisconsin, author of The Sounds of Commerce: Marketing Popular Film Music
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Details

ISBN-10: 0231144652
ISBN-13: 9780231144650
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publish Date: 04/04/2011
Dimensions: 8.90" L, 6.00" W, 0.70" H
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