Mumblecore is a term now being bandied about in the indie circuit. However, whether it is just a standalone film genre or just another name for indie films is another train of argument altogether. Let's say mumblecore films are low-budgeted films with a personal touch, so are indie films in most cases.
The term mumblecore was the brainchild of the sound editor named Eric Masunaga, who worked in close quarters with director Andrew Bujalski. Eric and Bujalski were putting their heads together on the movies they saw at the Southwest Film Festival in 2005, and differentiating between films, Eric called them mumblecore. The term largely denotes a film lacking dialogues, as in some indie films. And the actors mostly mumble and use gestures and emotions as a means of communication. And the emotions they depict are raw and real.
Directors such as Lynn Shelton, Joe Swanberg, Noah Baumbach, and many other creators have made a significant contribution to the genre. They are certainly the stars of the mumblecore genre. Here are some of the films that enjoy a place in this.
Your Sister’s Sister
Not many directors can achieve this feat of introducing the audience to a crazy world of fictional characters and maintaining their interest levels throughout the film. Fortunately, Lynn Shelton is great at it. Unfortunately, she was gone too soon. We will certainly miss the sweet and savory cinematic moments that she has been able to add to her films. One of her last works, Your Sister’s Sister, is certainly a great legacy that modern filmmakers can take note of.
The film is a love triangle between Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Mark Duplass. This is certainly not your regular run-of-the-mill romantic drama, but it certainly manages to pull at your heart's strings. The film largely focuses on the sisterly bond.
Greta Gerwig is certainly one of the most beautiful parts of this film made by Noah Baumbach. The color scheme is mostly black and white throughout the screenplay, and the film gives you an insight that may not be true but still believable because of the film's direction.
A struggling filmmaker Frances (Gerwig, plays it beautifully), has a humorous take on some of the most miserable episodes in her life. Greta Gerwig herself was undergoing an uncertain phase in her life as she was a struggling artist in New York when filming, and the film's narrative borrows from real life. Her real parents are also there in the film, and her hometown finds mention too.
Joe Swanberg's Drinking Buddies is just the opposite of sensationalism. Although the movie's crux is the male-female relationship, one can never draw comparisons to a regular romantic comedy. The complexities of regular relationships are part of the film's plot. The film moves at a slow and laggardly pace, and you feel you are living the moments in the film. In most mumblecore films, nothing moves in the film. You see two people reveling in their bad choices. Something that we can relate, completely. As we see, most people living modern life battle the temptation to make bad choices, especially when they have so many options. This is, thus, the perfect example of art imitating real life.
The Puffy Chair
Mark Duplass has been one of the chief contributors of the mumblecore genre, and the film The Puffy Chair has been one of the shining examples. The film is all about old furniture and how you can draw parallels with the complex ordeal of adulthood. The road sequences are one of the reasons that shuttle the film forward to its veritable destination.
The male and the female protagonist embarks on a new journey and change the course of their lives—the film banks upon a different strain of comedy. And the flow feels natural, ensuring that the audience has a hearty laugh. It also infuses some of the harsh realities of life that often feel undesirable but still exist in life.
Have you seen some of these films in the Mumblecore genre? Do you have any other films to add to this list? If your answer is yes, to any of these questions, do mention it in the comments section below.