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3 Best Local Indie Films of the Year (So Far)
1. The Comedy
Director Rick Alverson and star Tim Heidecker’s character study of North Brooklyn gentrifier garbage paints a memorable, merciless picture of soul-corroding cash money and helpless self-knowledge.
2. The Unspeakable Act
Critic Dan Sallit’s Rohmer-influenced domestic drama, set largely within a single-family Victorian Flatbush house, concerns the limits of self-containment, as limned by a drolly precocious teenager in love with her own brother.
Mumble-auteur Joe Swanberg shows up at the Greenpoint apartment shared by engaged filmmakers Lawrence Michael Levine and Sophia Takal, and their actress roommate Kate Lyn Sheil, to remake Pasolini’s Teorema, and ends up with a reflexive, sexually frank meditation on art and trust.
Best Filmmaker to Watch
Dustin Guy Defa
Defa creates personal, heartbreaking worlds out of almost nothing. Utilizing VHS home movies, smart editing and brilliant sound design, he made a short found-footage masterpiece, Family Nightmare. Minuscule-budget Bad Fever features the most poignantly unfunny comic since Rupert Pupkin (“Sir, I have expenses to pay, I have a mother to raise, sir”), and uses specific characters and set design to create an unforgettable downbeat dreamscape.
Best Boy of Girls
Among the familiar microindie faces Lena Dunham brought with her into the big time, no one has impressed himself on the HBO landscape quite like Karpo—appropriately, given his onscreen persona, with that quippy abrasiveness backed by a deep but still mysterious font of self-confidence.
Best Interview Subject
Alex Ross Perry
The writer-director of The Color Wheel and BAMcinématek’s #1 patron, ARP comes across as a somehow more peevish and self-deprecating version of Jean-Pierre Léaud during that scene in Masculin Féminin where he breaks into the projection booth. He guides his willing interlocutors through his films’ literary and cinephiliac checkpoints, and drops bombs like: “There are people who watch [The Color Wheel] and say they find the characters uninteresting or overly irritating. Those people are assholes.”
Cobble Hill Cinemas
This commodious little building, still independently owned and operated, boasts the oldest and thus best pre-trailer monorail POV reel, complete with admonitions to not smoke, and to silence pagers. And good news: the same exhibitors will run the first-run theater coming in on Grand Avenue.
Best Venue for Nonfiction Film
This space mixes regular filmmaking workshops with opportunities to see nonfiction filmmaking in practice—and discussed—by filmmakers whose inquiries are rarely screened through usual channels of distribution.
Best Venue for… Anything
This windowless studio looks like an empty storefront gallery, but once you’re settled in on a metal chair inside, programmers Thomas Beard and Ed Halter, and guest curators and lecturers, lead you down film history’s wilder rabbit holes, finding underground film scenes everywhere from between-the-wars France to 70s academia.
Best Venue We Can’t Believe Is Still in Manhattan
Anthology Film Archives
You could fit all of UnionDocs and Light Industry’s programming to date in one of AFA’s quarterly calendars, and still have room left over for theatrical runs for the New York Film Festival’s most difficult titles, and weathered prints of New American Cinema also-rans. All that and your choice of East Village bars serving $13 cosmos under LED displays, just steps away!
Best Online Comment on (Sometime L Mag Contributor) Nick Pinkerton’s Village Voice Review of The Dark Knight Rises
“whats the matter… not enough naked butts of men for you to like the movie?”