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Project: Another grand movie list; 100 HIGHLY RECOMMENDED AMERICAN INDEPENDENT FILMS 1959 - 2000

The AFI's got their list, based on their tastes & other selection criteria that does not recognize Jim Jarmusch's work, and, as far as I can tell at first glance, no minority directors other than Spike Lee (and only 1 Lee movie at that - what no Malcolm X ???). So let's make another list to go along with the AFI's list, an alternative list, featuring 100 indie movies that people who watch a lot of indie movies (& movies in general) would recommend to someone who is interested in checking out some of the best American indie films. I chose 1959 as the starting point since Shadows was released that year; because it seems as if many observers of American film history believe Shadows was the starting point of art/independent moviemaking as we now know it. I chose 2000 as the end point for the list since, well, that seemed like a good place to stop since the first decade of the '00's are still unfolding and we would need some time after the decade is over in order to get a balanced perspective on this decade's indie output.

Some guidelines:

1. This list will be presented in alphabetical order, since excellence in art/entertainment is often a matter of taste and thus numbering them to show that one movie is "better" than another is kind of pointless.

2. For the purpose of this list independent = made outside of Hollywood or made by a filmmaker know for off-Hollywood filmmaking and then continues to make the type of movies he or she is famous for even when he or she works with Hollywood money or other large corporate money (Spike Lee, Wayne Wang, John Sayles, Richard Linklater, etc.) . That means no Quentin Tarantino movies on this list.

3. Documentaries are acceptable for this list, as long as they are independent, as defined in item #2 above.

So, suggest titles in comments; with a brief description & or links whenever possible. I'll leave this project open for a week or so and then will pull together suggestions made at comments & my own lists, notes & will put together & publish a list containing 100 highly recommended American indie films.

Also, feel free to suggest other useful guidelines that would help in building this list.

Some titles I am thinking about right now, in no special order:

- Paris Is Burning
- Slacker
- The Brother From Another Planet
- Miller's Crossing
- She's Gotta Have It
- Mystery Train
- The Unbelievable Truth

Add more!


6/24/07 UPDATE: I'll need about a month to come up with this list, so, see ya around 7/25/07 for the list!

- Sujewa


Anonymous said…
here's jonathan rosenbaum's list (made after the first afi 100 came out)...enjoy:
Alternative 100
The Sujewa said…
that rosenbam list is helpful to this project.

gotta keep in mind Instrument by Jem Cohen/Fugazi (1998)

also films by:
- Andy Warhol? (this means i'll have to watch a bunch of his movies, such as Chelsea Girls)
- John Waters
- Greg Araki
- Rich Schmidt
- All The Vermeers of New York (exact title/sp?) & other films by Jon Jost
and there is a whole lot of more films & filmmakers to choose from, a lot of indie films were made & released between '59 and '00.

- what about Woody Allen? is he, or was he at some point, indie? hmmm, research is necessary.

- sujewa
The Sujewa said…
that's Rick, not Rich, Schmidt, btw
Chuck said…
Depending on your definition of indie: Slacker, Mystery Train, Stranger than Paradise, The Thin Blue Line (Errol Morris), Harlan County USA, A Woman Under the Influence (Cassavetes), Daughters of the Dust (Julie Dash), Lovely and Amazing (Holofcener), The Unbelievable Truth (Hartley), Henry Fool (Hartley), Sherman's March (Ross McElwee), Do the Right Thing, Roger and Me, Chain or Instrument by Jem Cohen
The Sujewa said…
Thanks for the suggestions Chuck. Chain might be too recent, but Instrument definitely. We'll have to keep Chain in mind for the best films of 2001 - 2010 list that can be made in 4 years or so.

- Sujewa
Yeah, I'm not a huge fan of the AFI list. While I don't disagree with what's on the list in general, there are better films than some of the ones they have listed.

Here's a list I just made:

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