|Major figures||Andrew Bujalski, Lynn Shelton, Aaron Katz, Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass, Joe Swanberg, Ry Russo-Young|
|Influences||DIY culture, Dogme 95, American independent film, digital filmmaking|
Mumblecore is a subgenre of independent film characterized by low budget production values and amateur actors, heavily focused on naturalistic dialogue. Filmmakers often assigned to this movement include Andrew Bujalski, Lynn Shelton, Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass, Aaron Katz, Joe Swanberg, and Ry Russo-Young. The term mumblegore has been used for films mixing mumblecore and horror gore.
Naturalism – both in performance and dialogue – is a key feature of almost all mumblecore films. Many feature non-professional actors; however, Mark Duplass and Jay Duplass have worked with professional actors on their films Baghead; Jeff, Who Lives at Home; and Cyrus. Some mumblecore films feature a prominent use of improvisation, with the cast sharing script credits. However, not all mumblecore films feature significant improvisation. For example, the films of Andrew Bujalski are heavily scripted.
Mumblecore films are generally produced with an extremely low budget and low production values. Many of these films are shot digitally; however, this is not a defining characteristic as Andrew Bujalski's first three films were shot on film and edited with a traditional Steenbeck editing desk.
Mumblecore is a genre of cinema whose films rely on several key components: "real"-sounding (not polished and precise) dialogue that happens in real places (not studio sets/soundstages); telling stories about the lives of characters who are (usually) single and in their twenties/thirties; and frequently, a departure from the simplistic and repetitively familiar plot structures common to larger-budget movies designed for mass appeal. These films are often: made on production budgets that are only a small fraction of "wide release" movies' (e.g., below $10 million); shot in black & white—despite the story taking place in present-day, not the past; and, have very limited soundtracks (or even no music, at all), relying on the actors' performances, alone, to establish mood and heighten viewers' emotional reactions to a film's key moments.
The genre can trace its roots back to the French "new wave" of the 1960s—especially the films of Eric Rohmer—whose films focused on the romantic intrigues of characters, and depicted lengthy conversations.
Though not well known, the 1978 film, "Girlfriends" marked the introduction of many mumblecore traits into American cinema—elements that would be adopted by later filmmakers. This low budget film focuses on a single woman in her twenties, trying to survive and thrive in the New York City art scene.
Woody Allen's 1979 film, Manhattan was a big-budget, Hollywood predecessor of mumblecore, as it was shot in black & white, in natural locations, and focused on a single protagonist. However, the main character ultimately adopts a more optimistic vision of life than those of most mumblecore films.
The 2005 South by Southwest Film Festival screened a number of other films that came to be considered part of the mumblecore movement, including Bujalski's second film, Mutual Appreciation; The Puffy Chair, by Mark Duplass & Jay Duplass; and, Kissing on the Mouth, by Joe Swanberg.
The term "mumblecore" was coined by Eric Masunaga, a sound editor who has worked with Bujalski. Masunaga coined the term one night at a bar during the 2005 South by Southwest Film Festival, when asked to describe the similarities between Mutual Appreciation, The Puffy Chair, and Kissing on the Mouth, which all screened at that festival. The term was first used publicly by Bujalski in an interview with indieWIRE. Bujalski has downplayed the existence of an organized "movement", however, and stated that he did not intentionally make "mumblecore" films.
The directors of mumblecore films are sometimes referred to collectively as, the "mumblecorps" (as in, 'the Marine Corps'). Film journalists have also referred to the genre collectively with the terms "bedhead cinema", and, "Slackavetes" (a portmanteau derived from the title of Richard Linklater's dialogue-heavy, lo-fi, 1990s film Slacker, and, the name of independent film director John Cassavetes).
The term mumblegore has been used for films mixing mumblecore and horror gore. This dates back to 2008's Baghead. A more recent example is 2011's Entrance. While not mumblegore per se, collaborates of the mumblecore genre have made the horror films V/H/S, The House of the Devil , You're Next and The Sacrament.
Mumblecore is not a strictly American phenomenon. Since about 2009, there is the Berlin Mumblecore movement, with its own manifesto Sehr gutes Manifest. Berlin Mumblecore is not a reaction to the American hype as it is a reaction to the lack of reform in the German public financial support system for the film industry (Filmfoerderung). Crowdfunding is a new possibility to finance movie productions with small and very small budgets independently from restrictions of the German Filmfoerderung. In 2009, Jette Miller's Austern ohne Schale was screened in Berlin. In 2011, the movies Frontalwatte by Jakob Lass and Papa Gold by Tom Lass were released. The latter won several German film awards. 2012 saw the release of Klappe Cowboy by Timo Jacobs and Ulf Behrens, as well as the award winning Dicke Mädchen by Axel Ranisch.
List of mumblecore films
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- Denis Demmerle: Eine neue Schule. In: Berliner Filmfestivals. 2012-04-28, retrieved in December 2012
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- Dollar, Steve (July 25, 2008). "Mumblecore Meets Grindhouse in 'Baghead'". The New York Sun. Retrieved on July 27, 2008.
- Pais, Matt (July 31, 2008). Search of a Midnight Kiss' review. Metromix. Retrieved on August 20, 2008.
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- Jones, Michael (2009). "Magnolia gets Shelton's 'Humpday'". Variety. Retrieved 2009-01-20.[dead link] Published on January 19, 2009
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- Lucas, Matthew (March 18, 2010). "Review: "The Exploding Girl"". From the Front Row. Retrieved November 16, 2013.
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- "The Mean of Green (2014)". IMDb. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
- tigerfish50 (26 June 2014). "Happy Christmas (2014)". IMDb. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
||This section's use of external links may not follow Wikipedia's policies or guidelines. (November 2014)|
- indieWIRE Interview: The Mumblecore Movement? Andrew Bujalski On His "Funny Ha Ha"
- indieWIRE: Mumblecore Movie? Swanberg, Bujalski, Duplass and Others Unveil "Hannah Takes The Stairs"
- The Austin Chronicle: Mumblecore And Murder
- Benten Films website
- Free Times: Features – Don't Call it "Mumblecore"
- Daily Film Dose: Alexander The Last, The Movie That Killed Mumblecore
- Mumblecore: All Talk? | Filmlinc.com | Film Society of Lincoln Center
- CineAction "A Cinema of Recession: Micro-Budgeting, Micro-Drama, and the 'Mumblecore' Movement"
- "Digital Socialism: How Mumblecore Filmmaking is Defying Capitalism by Stephen Lee Naish
- "Mumblecore in Obama’s America by Stephen Lee Naish"