10 Good Independent Films

Wednesday, January 26 by William Gish

If you're looking for an alternative to the run of the mill studio movies, here's 10 good independent films. These movies exist as art before they do as commerce. Movies made without corporate backing. Movies filled with violence, drugs, sexuality, allegory, tragedy, humor, and zombies. Movies that will blow your mind.

  1. “Reservoir Dogs” “Resevoir Dogs” is the proverbial crack that broke the damn in the early 90’s and lead to the avalanche of independent and corporately financed faux-independent films that dominated cinemas across America for the next decade. One of 10 good independent films, Tarantino’s debut is filled with blood, guns, torture, and foul language.
  2. “Trainspotting” Danny Boyle’s epochal film detailing class struggle, ennui, heroin addiction, AIDS, and violence in Edinburgh Scotland was named the 10th best British film of all time by the British Film Institute. The movie is funny, harrowing, vulgar, filled with youthful energy, and one of 10 good independent films.
  3. “Night of the Living Dead” George Romero single-handedly invented both the modern independent horror film and the zombie subgenre when he made “Night of the Living Dead” on a shoestring budget amidst fears of nuclear fallout in the late 60’s. It’s great gruesome movie and one of 10 good independent films.
  4. “City of God” In 2002 Brazilian filmmaker Fernando Meirelles smashed the film going public over the head with a sledgehammer known as “City of God.” The film details the economic depression, drug trade, squalid conditions, and overwhelming violence of Brazil’s slums and is told through the eyes (or lens) of a young photographer documenting the horror. It is a great movie, and one of 10 good independent films.
  5. “Sweet Sweetback Baadassss' Song” “Sweet Sweetback” is the OG blaxploitation film. Released in ’71, this good independent movie was financed by Melvin Van Peebles, its director, producer, star, and scorer. The film is simultaneously tongue-in-cheek and dead serious, tackling issues of race and identity in American while sending up black stereotypes prevalent in the white-controlled media.
  6. “Nosferatu” This classic vampire film is so old that Bram Stoker’s wife was still alive when it was made. Director Murnau wanted to create a film based on Stoker’s iconic novel “Dracula” but the author’s wife refused. Murnau made this thinly disguised homage instead, with no major corporate backing. The film is fantastic and fantastically creepy.
  7. “Y Tu Mamá También” Alfonso Cuaron’s licentious road movie “Y Tu Mamá También” is a coming-of-age tale based on the cusp of the end of one-party rule in Mexico at the beginning of the 21rst Century. The movie is filled with humor, sex, and beautiful Mexican scenery, but is also insightful and melancholic. It is one of 10 good indie films.
  8. “Sex, Lies, and Videotape” Before he won an Oscar for “Traffic,” directed all three films of the “Ocean’s” series, and made the four-hour, two-part biopic “Che,” Steven Soderberg stood alongside Tarantino at the tip of the early 90’s indie spear that infiltrated the mainstream. “Sex, Lies, and Videotape,” his first film, examines the voyeuristic thrill, eroticism, and power of standing behind a camera while exposing others.
  9. “Welcome to Sarajevo” British indie director Michael Winterbottom has made a number of great films, chief among them “Welcome to Sarajevo.” Starring Woody Harrelson, Marissa Tomei, and Stephen Dillane, the movie revolves around a group of American and British reporters and aid workers in worn torn Sarajevo.
  10. “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” Picking up where Romero left off, “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” is a similarly grotesque act of social criticism presented behind the thick veil of nihilistic horror cinema. People are skinned, impaled, gutted, and f*cked up with the titula weapon. What’s not to like?  
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