In American Independent Cinema, Geoff King states “This book is organized around three main points of orientation: the position of individual films, or filmmakers, in terms of (1) their industrial location, (2) the kind of formal/ aesthetic strategies they adopt and (3) their relationship to the broader social, culture political or ideological landscape…they are produced in an ultra-low-budget world a million miles from that of Hollywood blockbuster; they adopt formal strategies that disrupt or abandon the smoothly flowing conventions associated with the mainstream Hollywood style: and they offer challenging perspectives on social issues, a rarity in Hollywood.” I agree with Geoff King’s definition of Independent Cinema. Independent films are films that show non-traditional cinematography; usually tell the story of people who are underrepresented in society, and shows content that is not typically shown in Hollywood films.
In classical Hollywood narratives the story line has a beginning, middle, and an end. It contains a climax, it has a linear story line, and it has goal-oriented characters. In contrast an Independent film is more realistic, the films are less predictable, and they don’t always have a happy ending. I believe Winter’s Bone does fit the description of Independent Cinema. Winter’s Bone was shot in the Ozark Mountains in Missouri this is a place we don’t tend to see in Hollywood blockbusters. Ree, the main character in the movie, was a 17-year-old girl who was raising her two younger siblings and taking care of her ill mother while searching for her father. She needed to find her drug-dealing father in order to keep their house that was put up for bond. The characters and conflict in the movie are elements we don’t usually see in typical Hollywood movies.
While in the search for her father, Ree faces many dangerous circumstances that put her life in danger. She gets beat up for asking for her father and continues to struggle throughout the movie with no clue about her father’s existence. The movie has no climax and Ree’s struggle has no resolution. The film is not predictable, you never know what’s going to happen next and it does not have a beginning, middle, or an end. Though at the end of the movie Ree finds her dad’s body, she has to experience the cruelty of cutting off his hands in order to turn them into the police. She also stays to take care of younger siblings and doesn’t go to the army so the movie still had a dead end instead of a happy ending even though she got to keep her house. This narrative is not even close to one of a Hollywood blockbuster.
Winter’s Bone is shot at the same place in the Mountains in Missouri and it also shoots poor people something that is not typically seen in a Hollywood film. This movie also didn’t show the usage of phones, televesions, or any modern technology this comes to show another reason why this film can be considered an Independent film, because the movie was made with a low budget. It didn’t cost millions of dollars to shoot this movie like most Hollywood films do. The setting of the movie, the characters, the fact that movie doesn’t have a happy ending, the uncommonness of the struggle in the movie, along with many more, are all reasons why Winter’s Bone is considered to be an Independent film. These are the reasons why I agree that Winter’s Bone fits Geoff King’s definition of Independent Cinema.
Courtney from Study Moose
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