I am hereby joining the mumblecore movement!
I first ran across the term a few days ago in an article that mentioned the “unfortunately-named ‘mumblecore’ movement” and referenced Andrew Bujalski. I immediately knew what it was talking about- his 2005 film, “Funny Ha Ha” is one of my favorite independent films from the last few years. The movie resonated on an emotional wavelength of unresolved relationships, unspoken longings, understated intentions and general young urban anomie that made immediate sense to me. I pretty much felt that I had spent a lot of my life being the lead character, Marnie. Or at least wanting to date her. (Without ever telling her so, of course, because that’s what life is like in a mumblecore movie.)
This spring at Indiefest I saw “LOL”, which struck me in exactly the same way. And carried out much of its low-key longing via the Internet and mobile communications, which made it even more uncomfortably on target. And, lo and behold, it turned out that Bujalski was (briefly) in that film and that its director, Joe Swanberg, considers him to be a compatriot.
Having by then seen a couple indie films in this vein, and just generally picking up on the zeitgeist, I thought there was something afoot. Then I read the above mention, and a few days later saw it used again in a review of the just-released “Hannah Takes the Stairs” which mentioned both “Funny Ha Ha” and “LOL”. And “Hannah” is directed by Greta Gerwig, who was one of the online muses inspiring the hapless virtual-relationship obsessed boys of “LOL”.
I think these films have a lot to say about our simultaneous longing for connection and difficulty achieving it. I love how consciously lo-fi they are, and how keyed in on the subtlety of internal psychology and relationships. And I adore the fact that the genre has ended up being named something that sounds like a musical sub-genre. I feel like I have found a pocket of fellow travelers.
So I am down with the mumblecore revolution! While it may not be televised, it will be webcast; texted, and screened at independent film festivals.