Film is probably the hardest art form to make actual art – not because there’s a lack of artists or it’s more challenging than any other form of art, but mainly because films are really goddamn expensive to make. There are a lot of moving pieces that need to come together to make a movie, and most studios, big or small, aren’t looking for artistic integrity as much as how much money they’ll get in returns.
But in recent years the independent film world has crossed into the mainstream, and the mainstream has crossed into the independent film world. We live in the “Mcconaissance”, the golden age of cinema. Noah Baumbach’s ode to Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha last year got a lot of major buzz even with its small budget; frequent collaborator Wes Anderson has also had his biggest box office hit this year with The Grand Budapest Hotel. Even the quality of television reached new highs with the success of shows like Breaking Bad, and Orange Is the New Black. But with all these changes it’s odd to see some of the best artists in the medium still having such a hard time even getting their work seen. Here are three releases you should keep an eye out for this summer.
The Dance of Reality (Alejandro Joderowsky)
Joderowsky has made his way back into the zeitgeist through the amazing documentary Joderowsky’s Dune about a film that was never made. The last standing of the great surrealists, he’s struggled to get a movie financed in the past 23 years. This may be due to his utter disdain of the concept of money. Even after getting backing by private investors for his latest film The Dance of Reality, along with rave reviews, the legend hasn’t been able to get a proper release. The best he’s done is to put the film on tour this summer. It will be hitting one theater in every major city for about a week. But does he really seem to care about this limited release? Not really, he’s made it his mission to mention in every major interview that the goal of the film was to lose money, not to make it.
The Zero Theorem (Terry Gilliam)
The persistent Gilliam may be hated by every production company in the world. Even with hits like 12 Monkeys and The Fisher King he’s never earned the trust of investors, after going $20 million over budget on 1988’s (underrated bomb) The Adventures of Baron Von Maunchausen. Due to underwhelming reviews he’s been having trouble getting his newest film The Zero Theorem into theaters, even with its A-list cast. But even if it’s bad Gilliam, it’s still probably better than any other movie you’ll see. The man should be putting out movies weekly if he wishes.
Mood Indigo (Michael Gondry)
Michal Gondry probably has the least problems of the three getting his films to theaters: he’s had two films released in the past year and has also dabbled in the blockbuster business with 2009’s bomb Green Hornet. But his newest film Mood Indigo, based on the novel with same name, sees the eccentric director back in his comfort zone. The guy loves making moody romance films. It’s been on the back burner for almost a year now but Mood Indigo sees a US release late summer.