American Independent Cinema: Rites of Passage and the Crisis Image

This book examines crisis, transition and metamorphosis in American independent cinema. By examining six films, all of which conform to the notion of 'indiewood' (King 2005) from a formal perspective, this book argues that American 'indie' cinema is not one merely in crisis, but also of crisis. As a cinema that draws upon an American cinematic heritage that explores various rites of passage (the teen movie, the road movie, the western), these films deal in images of crisis, transition and metamorphosis. This cinema of crisis offers surprisingly subversive and critical images that both engage with and undermine modes of cliched representation and thought by exploring notions of ambiguity and opacity. Case studies include: The Virgin Suicides, Elephant, Dead Man, Last Days, Somewhere and Broken Flowers; engages with and develops on recent scholarship on American independent film from a formal perspective and situates analysis of indie film within the context of American generic cinematic (and historical) traditions.