Leading Edge / Summer 2010

What kind of films are part of the “mumblecore” movement?

movie reel

Filmmakers have worked outside of Hollywood studios almost since the beginning, but it wasn’t until the early 1990s, with the success of Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs and Steven Soderbergh’s Sex, Lies and Videotape, that the notion of “American independent cinema” gained visibility and cachet.

Now that Tarantino and Soderbergh have graduated to the big leagues, it’s tempting to think that indie cinema’s moment has passed. Not at all, says U of T film professor Corinn Columpar. A new generation of directors is shooting on digital cameras and distributing their work on the Internet for a tiny fraction of what studio productions cost. Their work has been dubbed “mumblecore” – a reference to the films’ often improvised scripts and muted emotions. Andrew Bujalski’s Funny Ha Ha (2002) was the first; Lynn Shelton’s Hump Day (2009) is a more recent example of the genre.

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