"A lot of what Andrew Grant says in the following quoted paragraphs seem like just hype by an owner of a DVD label, a label that is about to release several Mumblecore (M-core) DVDs; questionable hype that plays with facts. Might not be a big deal in the course/history of film publicity & sales, but I was bothered by it, so here's my dissection & response to it (my thoughts in parantheses (sp?)):
"ANDREW: I think there’s a natural inclination to group artists under a single umbrella."
"Mumblecore is to film what the Beats were to literature."
(not true - On The Road was highly unusual in form - none of the M-core movies are, Allen Ginsburg was a protest artist & activist (Howl is a protest poem), none of the M-core filmmakers are, William Burroughs was highly experimental - M-core filmmakers are not; they, for the most part, make minimalist relationship movies, and where is the Amir Baraka/LeRoi Jones (name sp?) of the goup? All M-core filmmakers are "white")
"They know each other socially, occasionally work together, but unlike, say, the Dogme crowd, there’s nothing like a manifesto tying them together."
(OK, however, the existence of M-core owes a large debt to Dogme 95 making digital production acceptable as a professional format)
"Mumblecore even lacks a solid definition, so it’s terribly imprecise as a moniker."
(except Grant's, Hillis's, Dentler's & other's M-core press often lists which filmmakers belong to the movement - so, who belongs is clearly defined)
"For instance, Todd Rohal’s The Guatemalan Handshake shares virtually nothing in common with Joe Swanberg’s films, yet Todd has been grouped into the fold because he has a role in Hannah Takes the Stairs."
"There are stylistic similarities between Aaron Katz’s first two films, but thematically, they’re like chalk and cheese."
(maybe, have not seen Quiet City yet, from the trailer it seems similar to DPUSA)
"So perhaps it is just an easy hook, but when somebody writes a revised History of the Independent Film in 50 years, there’s something to be said for their loose collective."
"Having spent time with quite a few of the Mumblecore set, I’m really taken aback by how non-competitive they are, and how they take great pains to help and support each other as filmmakers, unlike the me-centric ’80s."
(OK, except friends have always worked on their friend's movies in indie film, Jarmusch uses Spike Lee's brother Cinque, Tarantino & Rodriguez work together, etc.)
"In the ’90s, the American indie world was full of Tarantino rip-offs and quirky rom-coms that functioned as little more than calling cards for studios, and that’s just not the case with these new directors."
(some M-core movies have also served as calling card for studios - as the Puffy Chair makers & Mutual App maker works for studios now, and, 80's & 90's were the start of the indie film movement as we know it, and a lot of great indie films came out in those decades - Jarmusch, Spike Lee, Hatley, etc.)
"Advances in technology have made it possible to make great-looking films with very little cash, and some of these filmmakers are creating powerful works that act as polar opposites to the dreaded “high-concept film.”"
(i don't dread high concept films, neither do a lot of other people, high concept films are very popular)
"At a relatively young median age, they’ve found the critical distance in which to observe and comment on their world, and there’s none of the narcissism that was a staple of the last decade’s indie culture (see also: Ed Burns and Eric Schaeffer)."
(m-core stuff is definitely observational, not sure how much useful commenting they are doing, and not that this is a bad thing for artists, m-core is highly narcisstic)
"It’s just impressive and extremely refreshing. It’s also the first wave of American cinema that I can think of that is neither New York nor L.A.-based; it’s scattered throughout that vast area between the coasts."
(m-core is not an entirely unique & separate wave in american indie cinema, it is just a few out of hundreds of indie filmmakers who are making & releasing ultra indie movies in this post-dogme 95 age)
aside from all that, it is however very cool that two film critics have started a DVD label (Benten Films) for low budget/no-star indie films."