Independent Films

70th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 4

My Little Sister, Kids Run, Running on Empty and Sleep speak to growing social tensions and persisting historical nightmares

By Bernd Reinhardt, 24 March 2020

In recent years, a small minority of the middle class have successfully pursued their careers and become wealthy while a large majority directly confront poverty. This polarisation also applies to the art and film world.

The Current War: Director’s Cut—About Thomas Edison, electricity and the 1880s

By Joanne Laurier, 28 October 2019

The film, originally screened in 2017, fell victim to the scandal surrounding its producer, Harvey Weinstein.

Mike Leigh’s Peterloo: A drama of the British working class

By David Walsh, 5 April 2019

The opening of Peterloo in the US this week and next is an event of some importance. The film was inspired by important ideas and created with great seriousness and artistry.

An interview with Mike Leigh, director of Peterloo: “You don’t run out of steam if what you do…is to literally hold the mirror up to nature”

By David Walsh, 5 April 2019

The WSWS spoke to British filmmaker Mike Leigh during the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2018.

Maria by Callas: A documentary on the life of the famed opera singer

By Joanne Laurier, 8 December 2018

Tom Volf’s Maria by Callas, about the legendary Greek-American opera soprano, has opened in the US.

“Are they going to throw him away?”

Alien Boy: The Life and Death of James Chasse

By Christine Schofelt, 28 May 2014

Brian Lindstrom’s powerful documentary provides an unblinking look at police brutality in Portland, Oregon and deserves a wide audience.

Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha and Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell: Incompleteness as a problem

By Joanne Laurier, 14 June 2013

Frances Ha and Stories We Tell are articulate and well-made films. What’s missing from them, however, is as interesting as what’s there.

63rd Berlin International Film Festival—Part 1

Unresolved issues in today’s filmmaking

By Stefan Steinberg, 21 February 2013

A number of interesting films from central and eastern Europe were awarded prizes in Berlin this year, but, unfortunately, they were not characteristic of the festival as a whole.

Get Low and getting to the truth

By Hiram Lee, 22 September 2010

In Get Low, a man arranges to have a living funeral so that he can hear what everyone would say about him after his death while he is still alive.

An Ozark noir: Winter’s Bone

By Tom Blair, 29 June 2010

Winter’s Bone is a remarkable work, with stunning imagery and a good dose of social insight.

The Last Station: Not a film about Tolstoy

By Clare Hurley, 20 February 2010

The Last Station, a lavishly produced period piece that glows with a faux authenticity, sheds little light on what made Leo Tolstoy one of the greatest writers of the nineteenth century, and of all time.

Nowhere Boy: No surprises in John Lennon biopic

By Richard Phillips, 19 February 2010

Director Sam Taylor-Wood’s 98-minute first feature explores John Lennon’s teenage years in Liverpool.

State of Play: More of Washington’s conspiracies

By David Walsh, 28 April 2009

State of Play is a political thriller, based on a mini-series broadcast by the BBC in 2003. The filmmakers have transposed the events to the US and condensed six hours to two. The general shape of the events has remained the same.

Sugar: baseball and struggle

By Alan Whyte, 16 April 2009

Sugar is a fictional account of an aspiring pitcher from the Dominican Republic, played by an actual player, Algenis Perez Soto. The filmmakers, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Half Nelson), have cast a number of players in the film.

Billy the Kid: “Can you see inside me?”

By Joanne Laurier, 31 March 2009

Billy the Kid is an unusual independent film, about a teenager in a small town in Maine.

An interview with Jennifer Venditti, director of Billy the Kid

By Joanne Laurier, 31 March 2009

The WSWS spoke recently with Jennifer Venditti, director of Billy the Kid.

Rachel Getting Married: Something, but not everything

By Hiram Lee, 29 November 2008

The latest film from director Jonathan Demme and first-time screenwriter Jenny Lumet is a moving story about a troubled daughter's return to her family. While intelligent and sincere, the work is not without its limitations.

An interview with Li Yifan, director of The Longwang Chronicles

By David Walsh, 20 October 2008

We spoke to Chinese filmmaker Li Yifan, through a translator, in Vancouver on October 1.

Interview with Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, directors of Lorna’s Silence

By David Walsh, 29 September 2008

The WSWS interviewed Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne at the recent Toronto film festival.

Toronto International Film Festival 2008—Part 5

The Dardenne brothers: but what about the “extenuating circumstances”?

By David Walsh, 29 September 2008

This is the fifth and final part of a series devoted to the recent Toronto film festival (September 4-13).

Toronto International Film Festival 2008—Part 3

Mike Leigh’s Happy-Go-Lucky, Terence Davies’ Of Time and the City: What the filmmakers now see

By David Walsh, 24 September 2008

This is the third of a series of articles devoted to the recent Toronto film festival (September 4-13). To create a visually appealing and insightful film is difficult. There are many technical problems to confront, as well as the complex task of developing the themes and overall mood of a work in an artistic manner. To withstand various pressures, to tell the truth without flinching, to be true to what is best in oneself—none of this is easy.

Buffalo '66: "All my life I've been a lonely boy"

By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 22 July 1998

Vincent Gallo's Buffalo '66, co-scripted by the director and Alison Bagnall, is one of the most beautiful and moving American films I have seen in a very long time. It deserves the support of every serious moviegoer.