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Indie Films Are Not Hipster Films

Michelle Man |
March 7, 2014 | 12:56 a.m. PST

Staff Reporter

Adele and Emma in "Blue is the Warmest Color" (Sundance Selects).
Adele and Emma in "Blue is the Warmest Color" (Sundance Selects).
Before I get into the list of 5 "Indie" films you should know about, I need to clarify that "Indie" films are not "hipster films" or films that only "artsy" people watch.

Independent films are actually films produced outside the studio system, they are often screened in film festivals or limited released in theaters before a national release.

\Academy Award nominated films like "American Hustle," "The Wolf of Wall Street," "12 Years A Slave" and "Her" are all independent films.

Here are 4 independent films that were nominated in last year's Cannes Film Festival that are worth watching. 

"Blue Is The Warmest Color," Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche 

You may have heard of this film if you have friends that are LGBT. "Blue Is The Warmest Color" tells the story of Adele (Adele Exarchopoulos), a high school student that started to question, experiment and accept her own sexual orientation after meeting Emma (Lea Seydoux), a girl with blue hair. The film follows the two beginning a relationship and the problems they encounter after a year.

The film is excellent in terms of capturing raw and honest emotions conjured from the relationship. The director shows every bit of Adele and Emma's relationship as a silent observer, giving audience a glimpse into a heartbreaking but realistic relationship. The film won Palme d'Or of Cannes 2013 (the highest prize awarded at the festival).

"A Touch of Sin," Directed by Jia Zhangke

The film constitutes of four stories that are connected thematically set in different parts of China. Similar to "Blue Is The Warmest Color", "A Touch of Sin" gives a fly-on-the-wall point of view of the four characters in the film. The four stories, allegedly based on real events, demonstrates the sense of hopelessness in those experiencing poverty in China and how they act in reaction to the despair of their circumstances. 

The film does more than just to make audiences feel sorry for the four characters, rather it asks audiences to reflect on realism through every day problems that ordinary workers face in modern China. The film was nominated for Palme d'Or of Cannes 2013. 

"Short Term 12" (Demarest Films).
"Short Term 12" (Demarest Films).
"Short Term 12," Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton

The film is set in a foster-care facility where twenty-something supervisor Grace takes care of teenagers at risk, helping kids that have slipped through the cracks of the system. She is in love with her boyfriend and co-worker Mason. She struggles to understand her past while encountering a surprise that will change her life forever. In the midst of this, a quite girl Jayden enters the facility and forms a strong connection with Grace.

The film was well received at the 2013 SXSW Film Festival with a 99% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Chicago Sun-Times described the film as "Ione of the best movies of the year and one of the truest portrayals I've ever seen about troubled teens and the people who dedicate their lives to trying to help them."

"Upstream Color," Directed by Shane Carruth

The film tells the story of two people whose lives have been hijacked by a complex parasite, it is until the two meet that they start to realize the parallel experiences they've had and began their journey to figure out who they are. The film premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

Time Out described the film as "the most visually imaginative American film since David Lynch's Eraserhead" while some critics described it as an unsolvable enigma. 

Reach Staff Reporter Michelle Man here



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