Monday, 26 January 2009

#12 A Brief Insight On What Mumblecore is?

What is mumblecore? Where did it come from? And what does it have to do with film-making? Every time I’ve been asked what it is I have always had to simplify it, hopefully after this all you with have at least a little insight on the upcoming film style. I first saw a mumblecore film by small time director Andrew Bujalski called ‘Mutual Appreciation’, that was shown on Film4 during a mumblecore season last year. Through curiosity I decided to watch one to see what all the fuss (or lack off) was about. But before I get into why I liked it here’s a little brief history…

Mumblecore is a style in film-making that first started in America around the early 2000’s. Mumblecore is an American independent film movement that involves a very low budget, an improvised script with non-professional actors and shot on 16mm or DV. The term ‘mumblecore’ first came from a sound editor called Eric Masunage in a bar one night during a conversation with ‘Funny Ha Ha’ director Andrew Bujalski at the ‘South By Southwest’ film festival (held in Texas every spring). Bujalski then used it during an interview ‘indieWIRE’ one of the leading independent film website (link, and from that it caught on. It has also been referd to as ‘bed head’ cinema and ‘Slakavetes’ but obviously didn’t catch on as mumblecore did.

But you properly are asking what’s so special about this small time film movement? Well a big part of mumblecore films is the communication between the actors. Long scenes will be played out and appear to have no relation to the narrative. The actors are usually twenty something’s just acting out there everyday life, in ‘Funny Ha Ha’ and ‘Mutual Appreciation’s case involves urban artists juggling with love and music. Because the script is improvised it adds a curtain realism to the scenes that you might not normally see in a independent film.

If you do get the chance see a mumblecore or bedhead film I would jump on it. It’s definitely different from other independent films and would be fantastic if it catches on with other countries. I found a trailer for Bujalski’s ‘Mutual Appreciation’ and have put the link below. I also listed a few mumblecore films below for anyone curious to watch any bedhead films.

The Puffy Chair (2005)
Dance Party USA (2006)
LOL (2006)
Baghead (2008)

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