In my search for the 10 best Indie Films of 2013, I discovered many things about my own theatrical taste as well as the bias that has become commonplace in the box office even in regards to the independent film industry. Most of the things you will find when “Google-ing” or “Bing-ing” (or whichever search engine you frequent) Indie films, are nothing more than Hollywood films that didn’t quite make the cut in the box office.
In my opinion, the waters have been muddied. The list I have provided in this article is the result of my own viewings and research. There are many sites out there with full lists of films that have released this past year. I dove in with both feet and gave dozens and dozens of movie trailers the benefit of the doubt. In the end, I came up with the cream of the crop. There is a wide array of cultures and languages, and yes a good portion of these films are subtitled, but don’t let that scare you off.
I offer you this list in the hopes that it will open up new doors for you cinematically. These films will make you think, cause you to wonder, and awaken the connection to humanity residing within you that has been dampened due to the technological age that we live in. When considering your next visit to the theatre I pose this challenge to you—Swap out the action film or the romantic comedy or the Sci-fi Thriller for something more cerebral. Advertising has us substituting healthy foods for junk food, why can’t we apply the same concept to the movie theatre?
1. The Act of Killing
This unapologetic film gives personal and historical insight into the accepted, and even praised, brutality that structured a generation by giving former Indonesian death squad leaders the challenge to recreate their mass killings in the film genre of their choice.
2. Upstream Color
An irrevocable and unexplainable connection bring a man and woman together as they try to piece together a cohesive structure of reality, self-discovery, and purpose.
3. Frances Ha
A young woman slowly realizes that she has let her dream of becoming a dancer fade from her grasp. As she breaks free of her creative rut, the impending stakes of failure and success begin to spur her forward rather than pin her down.
4. Something in the Air
Gilles, a teen artist struggling to keep his artistic dreams alive, is caught up in the political fever of the early 70s. He must choose between taking a stand as an artist or a citizen.
An ad executive decides to bring marketing into the political world in order to convince the public to vote against Augusto Pinochet in a controversial Chilean campaign.
6. Blue is the Warmest Color
Adele meets a blue-haired young woman who helps her explore the troubling road into womanhood, while allowing her to redefine her place in the world.
7. Fruitvale Station
Based on a true story, this film follows Oscar as he encounters the prejudice and hardship that seeps out from the turbulent Bay Area streets.
8. Cutie and the The Boxer
This documentary that delves into the lives of Ushio Shinohara and his wife, Noriko, explores the toll that art can have on an artist and those around them. Ever in the shadow of her famous husband, Noriko tries to shed the label of “assistant” and replace it with “partner.”
As World War 2 nears its end, Lore and her siblings fall into the care of a Jewish refugee. Lore must battle her own prejudices as they fight to survive in the chaos.
10. Sun Don’t Shine
Young couple Crystal and Leo embark on a highly emotional and visually stunning trip through central Florida as emerging secrets mold their future.