Michael Z. Newman’s “Indie”
Part 2 of my missed class time. In this post, I will be discussing our second required reading for the course “Indie” by Michael Z. Newman. In reading the first three chapters of “Indie”, we are given a glimpse of Newman’s views on how independent film impacted how we view film. It’s written in a much more formal tone than it’s companion in this course, “The Rough Guide to American Independent Film” by Jessica Winter.
The first two chapters, which makes up the first part of the book “Context”, lay the ground work for the rest of the book, explaining how we should view independent film, a genre that has grown to encompass many different sub-genres within it from Horror to realism. It also discusses how this genre of film has been viewed in the past through art house theater s and film festivals. This look at how these films are viewed and how it has been viewed allows us the opportunity to really understand how independent cinema was looked upon by the greater studio system. While the venue of film viewing might not seem to make a huge difference on the film itself, Newman shows that this difference between art house theaters and major multiplexes was a defining part of how independent film was seen by the greater public.
Chapter 3 makes up the second part of the book “Character”. This chapter discusses how independent film redefined classic film genre such as realist films. In many independent films, the film tends to be centered on the characters within the film rather than driven by the plot like their mainstream counterparts. This allowed these films to become icons for different social issues and capture situation s that seemed more real than the stories that were being told by studio executives.
I believe that this reading, within the fraction I’ve read so far, has allowed me to not only think of indie culture within pop culture like in Winter’s writing, but also gives us a glimpse of how indie culture redefined social norms in how we view film.