Cinematic Term I Learned: “Mumblecore”

I was recently reading New Yorker magazine, and encountered a reference to a sub-genre of movies called “mumblecore”. From Wikipedia:

Mumblecore is an American independent film movement that arose in the early 2000s.It is primarily characterized by ultra-low budget production (often employing digital video cameras), focus on personal relationships between twenty-somethings, improvised scripts, and non-professional actors. Filmmakers in this genre include Lynn Shelton, Andrew Bujalski, Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass, Aaron Katz, Joe Swanberg, Todd Rohal and Ry Russo-Young.

Based on box office revenue and some crowd-sourced review sites I checked, mumblecore has yet to find its 2001: A Space Odyssey. Of the list in Wikipedia, I’d only heard of one of the films, Baghead, and I hadn’t even seen that one.

Truth be told, these films sound like dreadful, film school wankery. But, then, I’d better watch one or two before I actually pass judgment. Have you seen Baghead? Or maybe Dance Party USA?


  1. Haven’t seen “Dance Party USA” (though buzz is generally positive) but loved “Baghead”. Admittedly it’s clearly lower in budget that even most of the indies screened theatrically but it more than makes up for it in story and acting – not to mention it’s darn funny.

  2. I have a copy of “Funny Ha Ha” which I see leads the movement, according to Wikipedia. I found it compelling, but it’s definitely not for everyone. There’s a distinct lo-fi, documentary feel to it.

  3. I’ve seen Mutual Appreciation, which I liked — one of those films where nothing much happens, but the characters are interesting. Also, The Guatemalan Handshake, which was just annoying and boring — it was trying much too hard to be weird, just for the sake of it.

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