Mumblecore…docs?

If you aren’t much of a hipster and you aren’t too much down with the times, you probably don’t know what mumblecore is. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know what it was up until a few weeks ago when I read “Next Big Film Has a Premiere in Your Living Room” by David Carr for a media critcism course.

Mumblecore is a new independent film movement, apparently. 

According to J. Hoberman of The Village Voice, mumblecore comprises of mostly white twenty-year-olds, independent movies shot on DV, have a run time of around 80 minutes, and overall the look is rough around the edges; the criteria is never-ending.

Sounds like a documentary I’m making…

I’m just wondering where documentaries fit into all this, if they do at all.

Filmmaker Magazine’s Alicia Van Couvering writes, “If we’re going to generalize, we might say that generally these films are severely naturalistic portraits of the life and loves of artistic twentysomethings. The genre’s ultra-casual, low-fi style has been simmering for the last decade, made possible by the accessibility of DV and inspired as much by reality shows and YouTube confessionals as by earlier American independent cinema.”

According to Andre Soares of the Alternative Film GuideDavid Denby believes Funny Ha Ha by Andrew Bujalski is the first mumblecore film. Others, so I have been learning, agree. It’s also been described as having a documentary feel.

Joe Swanberg is another mumblecore director. His most recent film is Alexander the Last. He seems to be getting a lot of publicity and is hitting it big in the mumblecore scene. Every time I go to my local video rental store, Captain Video, I see his film LOL on display. I’m always tempted to rent it, but I always opt for the docs.

I haven’t seen any Swanson films, or any of these so-called mumblecore flicks. Fiction is not really my thing.

I keep searching and searching and have yet to find any documentary that could be considered mumblecore.

It seems, from the movement’s description, mumblecore films are based on reality. Mumblecore seems to be realism, but faster moving. It seems emo (forgive me if the term is offensive), but more cynical. 

Are reality shows mumblecore? The subjects can be self-interested and starving for attention and have real problems; obviously they are over dramatized. If the drama is real, is it not a documentary? What about other documentaries that use life realities as the story? There sure are a lot of documentaries that do. Consider all those documentaries that follow people’s lives for a given period of time.

I’m still not sure if documentaries fit in this genre, but it seems the only difference between mumblecore films and documentaries is fiction and fact.

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1 Comment

Filed under documentary, Trend

One response to “Mumblecore…docs?

  1. Peter Hobbs

    Try “The Puffy Chair” and “Baghead” by the Duplass Brothers. Great, funny stuff.

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