micah holmquist's irregular thoughts and links
Welcome to the musings and notes of a Cadillac, Michigan based writer named Micah Holmquist, who is bothered by his own sarcasm.
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Monday, February 03, 2003
"Is independent cinema dead in the United States -- or, is it just playing possum?" Manohla Dargis asks but doesn't quite answer in a piece in yesterday's Los Angeles Times. (Thanks to Matt Welch for the link.)
Dargis' biggest point is that the words "independent" and "indy" have lost a lot of their meaning as they relate to films. If anybody doubts that, click here and see that the top two "independent-film searches for past 30 days" on imdb.com are Gangs of New York (which I think works quite well symbolically) and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. Thought provoking films made on small and relatively small budgets just do not seem to be exciting the public.
Dargis does praise American Splendor, which is based on a series of autobiographical comic books written by Harvey Pekar. As a big fan of Pekar's work, I look forward to seeing this film through one means or another but I am doubtful about how well it is going to work since one of the strongest features of Pekar's cannon is that the stories fall into a larger body of work. I consider Our Cancer Year, which Pekar wrote with his wife Joyce Brabner and which Frank Stack illustrated, to be the greatest comic book story ever told and yet it nonetheless works best as an add-on to Pekar's other works as such a perspective allows readers to better understand and appreciate the emotions of the characters involved.
Then again, maybe I am wrong as American Splendor won the Grand Jury Prize at the most recent Sundance Film Festival.