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The University of Southampton
Lifelong Learning

American Independent Cinema Today

Since at least the 1980s the phrase ‘American Independent Cinema' has been used to describe a distinctive line of cinema that has developed outside the mainstream.

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

On the one hand, these films have been financed without the constraints of the Hollywood studio system; on the other, their directors/writers (usually the same person) have, at their best, used this freedom to create smaller scale, more personal films offering freshness of perspective and aesthetic originality. At the same time new festivals (e.g. Sundance) and awards (e.g. Independent Spirit) have developed to showcase and recognize these films.

In this course we will take the current temperature of the Independents by critically examining eight of the most interesting of their films of recent years - both from established voices (e.g. the Coens, David O Russell, Alexander Payne) and from newer but distinctive ones (e.g. Noah Baumbach, Kelly Rhwshardt, Derek Cianfrance). Besides exploring the films themselves, the course will consider the expressed intentions of the filmmakers, the contexts within which the films were made and the nature of ‘independence' within American cinema today.

Planned films: The Descendants, Blue Valentine, Martha Macy May Marlene, A Serious Man, Meek's Cut Off, Silver Linings Playbook, Take Shelter, The Squid and the Whale.


Date: Monday evenings, 27 January - 17 March 2014
Time: 6:30pm
Duration: 8 meetings


Harbour Lights Picturehouse


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