Thursday, June 6, 2013


I just finished reading the book, 100 American Independent Films - BFI Screen Guides. It is an interesting and often eye-opening assemblage of film titles and their particulars.

Author Jason Wood speaks from all angles when reviewing; emphasizing departments depending on the particular film. Areas focused on include: Financial, distribution, notoriety, technical (film format), what the movie did for the director's career, supporters and detractors, and so on.

The book's forward explains how the list was prepared and what the criteria was in regards to the choices. One rule was "one film per director", which was probably a good idea. The downside is that readers ask "why did you pick this but not that?"

One hundred films sounds like a lot, but the list fills up really quickly, and you only end up offending some people no matter what you pick. (I understand that filmmaker Ken Burns took a lot of heat from some jazz aficionados for neglecting or leaving-out certain artists when he produced his 2001 documentary Jazz.)

All things considered, it was a fair and balanced list, which served to remind me that there are still a lot of films of that "kind" that I have yet to see... and want to see.

Have seen...

Bad Lieutenant (1992)
Pink Flamingos (1972)
Kids (1995)
Living in Oblivion (1995)
Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995)
The Unbelievable Truth (1989)
Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)
Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971)
Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989)
Medium Cool (1969)
Badlands (1973)
Buffalo '66 (1998)
Gummo (1997)

Haven't seen...

Angel City (1977)
Chain (2004)
Daughters of the Dust (1991)
Hoop Dreams (1994)
Killer of Sheep (1979)
The Living End (1992)
Portrait of Jason (1967)
Salt of the Earth (1954)
Sherman's March (1986)

In total, I've seen 45 of the 100 films listed. Not bad, I guess. (I did not count films that I have not seen head-to-tail, of which there are several.)

As can be expected there are a few errors within the book. The one that comes to mind is this; from Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (a terrific and fun movie): Varla (Tura Satana) did not kill Tommy (Ray Barlow) with a "karate chop to the back"; she killed him by breaking his neck.

As I said, "a terrific and fun movie".

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