I love movies. That's what it all comes down to. That's the reason I'm here each day. Digging around looking for news, talking about films. For hours and hours each day all I do is talk about movies to anyone that will listen. What new movies have I seen, what old movies are my favorites and why. To make a long story short there is little I like more than opening people's eyes to movies I've seen that no one knows about. The problem that's developed in the last few years is that "Hollywood" films get so much coverage before they open that everyone already knows about them. Between the television commercials, Entertainment TV shows, and the myriad of internet sites devoted to movies, a person can't help but know all about most films long before they open. And, well that's just not as much fun.
Fortunately, there are several other faces to the film industry that the general public know little about. These are the films that aren't likely to be playing at a multiplex near you. There is so much more in the film world to explore than what we are force fed by the machine that is Hollywood. Don't get me wrong, I am as a big a fan of Hollywood movies as anyone. But there is a whole world out there to be explored.
And so that's what this column will be for. Every two weeks you and I will dive down into the deep end of the pool of film and see what treasure awaits us there to be discovered. Sometimes we'll talk about forgiven films, sometimes art-house films, and sometimes just plain old independent movies that you won't hear about anywhere else. In this weeks column lets talk briefly about the history of Independent cinema and a couple of films floating around the world right now.
A long storied tale
Whatever name the people of a particular generation have given them , Independent, underground, guerrilla, or any other moniker that means non-mainstream, small films made outside the studio system have been around since the birth of the golden era of the Hollywood system. A mere 5 years after Carl Laemmle was merging many small film companies to form Universal Films (yes it would become that Universal) in 1912, just when the Studio system was really beginning to gain steam, German expressionistic filmmakers were already pushing the boundaries of film with the very strange and not at all Hollywood films The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Nosferatu, A Symphony of Horrors.
This kind of experimental filmmaking would not only influence the Hollywood pictures of the coming years but also would serve as foundation for an underground anti-mainstream heritage that would run strong for some time. As wars raged and time passed though there was a lull in this kind of film making that would last for some time. Patriotic war films or westerns to whisk away peoples cares were the order of the day. The real resurgence, almost a rebirth in fact, would come in the late 50s and early 60s. Just as the first Multiplex theaters were being built a new movement in film towards the experimental began. The new wave of outside-the-system film making was being led by such notables as John Cassavantes (Shadow, Faces) ,who led a double life of sorts as a Hollywood star by day and experimental film maker by night. And others like master-of-the-avante-garde Andy Warhol (The Blue Movie, Flesh). In much the same way the German Expressionists had in the early twenties, the counter culture film world of the 1960s influenced the style of films that would be made for decades to come.
The 70s would see the point at which the mainstream and underground would come the closest to being the same. Taxi Driver, All the Presidents Men, M.A.S.H, the list could go on for pages. In all of these Hollywood films you can see the cutting edge, Low budget filmmaking that rose out of the cinema v