Last week, we asked what your favorite mainstream summer movies were. This week, we look to the movies which had limited releases.
There have been plenty of high and low profile indie films this summer. Among the higher profiles movies were Boyhood, and Snowpiercer. Among the lower profile movies were Abuse of Weakness and Venus in Fur.
What were your favorite indie summer movies of 2014?
John Bruni: A Master Builder, directed by Jonathan Demme, exceeded my already high expectations. This adaptation of Ibsen’s play, The Master Builder, was years in the making but filmed quickly, giving it an impressionistic feeling that adds to the dream-like atmosphere.
Wallace Shawn plays the protagonist, an architect at the end of his life—the major change from the play, with a furious urgency that only further illustrates his utter futility to reach some sort of inner peace in his last hours.
His attempt at self-examination turns out to be more of an imagined cross-examination by those around him, including a young woman (here the film riffs on the attraction of older men for younger women), whose otherworldly laugh you won’t soon forget.
Ibsen, of course, is a hard sell, but the film captures the unexpected humor (in a dark vein) and nails the play’s tricky ending.
Julius Kassendorf: Most of my favorites this summer were on the indie circuits. Snowpiercer was, hands down, my favorite of the summer. It’s political, but subverts itself. But, it’s been talked to death. Instead, I want to draw attention to the compelling documentary The Internet’s Own Boy.
The story of Aaron Swartz is brief but complicated with multiple threads running parallel to each other. Swartz had his fingers in a lot of different pots from development of the first RSS protocol to Reddit to Creative Commons to Demand Progress. Many of the stories had been in motion before Swartz was involved, and some continued once his part was done.
Condensing Swartz’s life into 105 minutes was probably no easy feat, but director Brian Knappenberger keeps all the threads straightforward and, even if he has to double back on the timeline, it’s always in the service of making the movie easier to understand for the audience.
Even if you disagree with the JSTOR controversy, or are for the corporatization of the internet, The Internet’s Own Boy should be watched if only for the deftness with which Knappenberger tells an immensely complex story.