I have a love/hate relationship with what is considered “indie” film.
On the one hand, the fact that the tools to make films and to experiment with that medium are cheaper and more prevalent than ever before and that is an amazing and exciting development that allows for diversity in visual story-telling. I love the energy of independent films: it’s walking a tightrope without a safety net. Everything is on the line. Everyone is putting in their all on the prayer that their film gets noticed in a big enough way that they can break even, get another job, or better yet make money and launch a career. Indie films are often intimate stories that often focus on the real and dirty parts of the human existence in a realistic or honest or even scathing way.
On the other hand, many of the films I’ve seen or read about that come out of the festival circuit with lots of buzz are just plain weird. For a while there was a cinematography “style” where shots were never fully in focus. A lot of the festival favorites are so myopic in their “slice of life” tale that the audience has no idea how the characters got themselves into their particular situation or how it will all resolve even after the credits roll.
But what I truly hate about independent films is that I often don’t feel a damn thing once I’ve watched it. The film might be thought-provoking, even interesting, but more often than not, indie films follow completely unlikable characters and use odd plot devices to get their characters into a strange situation and I don’t end up enjoying the ride. I feel nothing except the confusion that I spent an hour and a half watching good actors and beautiful cinematography and good editing/sound design and I felt no connection to the characters, to their dilemma, and when it ended I couldn’t care less.
That was my experience of THE ONE I LOVE.