What are independent films?
From a strictly encyclopedic point of view, a independent film , also called indie film , is a film produced without the intervention of a big Studios , but this is perhaps a valid concept especially in the film market of the United States and, more generally, of the Anglo-Saxon countries.
In Europe, things are different. Indie film is a popular definition especially in the United States, but the sector is less important in Europe. Large studios are few, televisions and individual state funding are the major film producers. It could be argued that 90% of European films, like a large part of US films, are small films with modest budgets that could easily be called independent films in the United States.
According to this definition of independent films, the most famous European authors, and many Americans, known all over the world, are independent directors. Certain streaming channels, for example, put names like Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese in the indie movie category. The reality is quite different. Within this generic category, from which we could only exclude Hollywood blockbusters, there are “truly independent” films, that is, made in an artisanal way or, for the most successful ones, we could say “state of the art” with minimal budgets and almost non-existent.
Independent films and cinema history
Almost all the films that have pioneered and developed the cinematic language since the dawn of cinema have been indie films. industrial cinema was more concerned with selecting what worked to offer it with its distributive power to a more dressed audience, without ever risking large budgets for something that hadn’t already been tested by independent cinema.
All the pioneers of turn-of-the-century cinema, all the avant-gardes and movements that changed the history of films were puppy independent films with a few rare exceptions in the bravest mainstream world. Independent and artistic cinema has always explored new territories while the entertainment industry has always preferred to stay safe in reassuring and low-risk places.
The stories, the characters, but above all the languages that independent and experimental films have been able to discover were fundamental in times when it seemed that the business of moving images produced copies of films that were all the same.
Indie films, the new frontier of digital cinema
From the 1980s onwards, independent cinema has grown tremendously thanks to video technology, but has seen an exponential increase since the early 2000s with digital and sophisticated compact cameras that today guarantee a quality similar to that of mainstream productions.
Added to this are digital editing software such as Adobe Premiere, Final Cut and others that offer the simplicity of classic editing and incredible post-production capabilities for image, color, sound and special effects. < / p>
The only market in which independent films have always been taken very seriously is the US, where the eye of large productions has always been focused on low-budget films, with talent scouts always looking for new potentially interesting projects. for a wider audience. Many studios, in fact, have created departments exclusively dedicated to auteur and independent cinema, expanding their target to that public niche.
The best Italian independent films
By standard definition, Italian films are all independent films, simply because mainstream cinema and blockbusters don’t exist! With the necessary exceptions for the most famous comedians of cinepanettoni and companies. But for “real” independent cinema, things are very different, and the production is very lively.
There is no doubt: Italian independent films are experiencing a season of great creativity and excitement. Perhaps thanks to the new digital technologies that have made the making of an indie film possible outside the classic dynamics of film production, which in Italy are exclusive to those who live within a specific caste.
Perhaps because we live in a period where in our country there are conflicts that generate a strong need to express oneself, the works of Italian independent cinema, as opposed to those of mainstream cinema that seem to attract less and less interest, are among the most surprising of the international panorama.
But a warning is a must: I’m not sure about films for those who still think of cinema as a spectacular high-quality product with well-known actors, but products designed and created in a profoundly different and new way, often made without any budget. , very far from what we are used to seeing in theaters. A bit like it is profoundly different to go to a circus show or enter a modern art gallery.
Indie films you must see
Here is a list of 10 Italian independent films (not a ranking) that we absolutely recommend you don’t miss.
The Kempinsky method , by Federico Salsano – 2020
The introspective imaginary road movie of a man through the spirals of his own mind, his youth memories, his never ending passions and contradictory truths. The roads are made of water, the destination is falsely unknown. The images of Federico Salsano’s atypical road movie capture the eye and seduce the mind. One of the best Italian independent films of 2020.
Corona days , by Fabio Del Greco – 2020
Made during the lockdown is an indie film shot in direct contact with reality, partly fiction, partly documentary, with a high degree of Chinese box cinema construction, genuine and instinctive, a kind of “cinediary” about loneliness and on loss, which also becomes a reflection on personal freedom. The protagonist, played by the director Fabio Del Greco himself, finds himself locked in the house alone during the lockdown. It is a moment of inner reflection on his own life, on the loss of his father, on the changes in the society around him. A moment also of transgressive outings to take walks in the pine forest behind the house that look like stalking of an action film, an impossible search for an open bar to have a coffee, a symbol of lost sociability.
Appennino by Emiliano Dante – 2017
A cinematic diary on the reconstruction of the Eagle. An intimate and ironic, lyrical and geometric path, where the story of life in a seismic area becomes the tool to reflect on the very meaning of making cinema.
Abacuc by Luca Ferri – 2015
An extremely experimental, avant-garde film that challenges the viewer with unique inventions through the everyday life of a surreal character who is not easily forgotten.
Festa by Franco Piavoli – 2018
The master of poetry cinema Franco Piavoli, authors of masterpieces such as “The blue planet” and “Voices in time”, returns to film the everyday life of a country on a feast day.
Tides by Alessandro Negrini – 2018
A river in Ireland protagonist, with its tides and the voice of a young actress. A magical, poetic film, where images transport us to the territories of dreams.
The mirror and the rascal by V. De Filippis – 2020
Director, screenwriter and set designer, composer of the soundtrack, editor and post-production technician, and finally a leading actor, de Filippis makes a mysterious film that looks like no other reinterpretation of Richard III.
Lack-Purgatory by Stefano Odoardi – 2016
Unusual and powerful images, an enigmatic film, a dreamlike journey between half-damned souls waiting. Inspired by Homer, Paul Éluard, Allen Ginsberg, Odoardi composes an Odyssey full of echoes.
Employee’s mystery , by Fabio Del Greco – 2019
An “Orwellian” and complex film about digital social control with powerful images of the protagonist’s past, played by the director himself, at various times in his life.
Gold and Lead, by Emiliano Ferrera – 2020
A heartfelt tribute to Sergio Leone’s cinema with an exceptional cast, excellent photography and a scenographic reconstruction that has nothing to envy to the most famous westerns.
What do you think? We would like to know your personal ranking.