American Independent, Volume 1

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John Berra
Intellect Books, 2010 - Art - 327 pages
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With high-profile Academy Award nominations and an increasing number of big-name actors eager to sign on to promising projects, independent films have been at the forefront in recent years like never before. But the roots of such critical and commercial successes as The Hurt Locker and Precious can be traced to the first boom of independent cinema in the 1960s, when a raft of talented filmmakers emergedto capture the attention of a rapidly growing audience of young viewers.

A thorough overview of a thriving area of cultural life, Directory of World Cinema: American Independent chronicles the rise of the independent sector as an outlet for directors who challenge the status quo, yet still produce accessible feature films that not only find wide audiences but enjoy considerable box office appeal—without sacrificing critical legitimacy. Key directors are interviewed and profiled, and a sizeable selection of films are referenced and reviewed. More than a dozen sub-genres—including African American cinema, queer cinema, documentary, familial dysfunction, and exploitation—are individually considered, with an emphasis on their ability to engage with tensions inherent in American society. Copious illustrations and a range of research resources round out the volume, making this a truly comprehensive guide.

At a time when independent films are enjoying considerable cultural cachet, this easy-to-use yet authoritative guide will find an eager audience in media historians, film studies scholars, and movie buffs alike.

 

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Contents

Narrative Disorder
180
On the Road
198
Queer Cinema
218
Rural Americana
240
Slackers
258
The Suburbs
276
Underground USA
296
Recommended Reading
316

The American Nightmare
62
Chemical World
84
Crime
104
Documentary
126
Exploitation USA
144
Familial Dysfunction
162
American Cinema Online
319
Test Your Knowledge
322
Notes on Contributors
325
Back Cover
329
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About the author (2010)

John Berra is a writer and researcher specializing in contemporary film studies. He is the author of Declarations of Independence: American Cinema and the Partiality of Independent Production and the editor of Directory of World Cinema: Japan. He is also a contributor to magazines, including Electric Sheep and Film International.

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