Indie films are good for my soul.
While there are those who like to mock their earnestness or their stylistic artifice, there is often great meditative depths to these films, which give their narratives the necessary time to explore issues like grief and loss or a deep longing for connection in ways that really make an impact.
It’s almost healing to watch films like the three featured in this post because hard as it is to watch life represented so unflinchingly and honestly, they force you to dig deep and wonder if maybe, just maybe, there’s something you need to take away from the film, something that might make your own life a little more alive.
Even if that doesn’t happen, there’s a transcendent, quiet joy in simply letting stories of human experience wash over and into you, if for no other reason that you emerge at the end with a keener appreciation of what life is like for others, especially when things aren’t as pretty or tidy as they could be and all you want is for somebody to get you.
These films seem like they give you that and if nothing else, that makes them worth watching.
A married couple suffers a hardship, leading Jack to head off to deal with his grief while Lilly remains in the “real” world, dealing with her own guilt. As if Lilly’s troubles weren’t bad enough, a starling that has nested in her backyard begins to harass and attack her and she becomes comically obsessed with killing it. Lilly eventually finds guidance from Larry, a quirky psychologist-turned-veterinarian with a troubled past of his own. The two form an unlikely friendship as they each help the other to explore, acknowledge and confront their problems. The Starling is directed by American producer / filmmaker Theodore Melfi, director of the films Winding Roads, St. Vincent, and Hidden Figures previously. The screenplay is written by Matt Harris. It’s produced by Dylan Sellers, Chris Parker, Theodore Melfi, Kimberly Quinn. (synopsis courtesy First Showing)
The Starling premieres at this year’s Toronto Film Festival with release on Netflix on 24 September.
Alma is a scientist at the famous Pergamon Museum in Berlin. In order to obtain research funds, she is persuaded to participate in an extraordinary study. For three weeks, she must live with a humanoid robot tailored to her character and needs, whose artificial intelligence is designed to be the perfect life partner for her. Alma meets Tom, a robot in human form in a class of its own, created solely to make her happy. A comic-tragic tale about the questions of love, longing and what makes a human being human. I’m Your Man, originally known as Ich bin dein Mensch in German, is directed by German actress / filmmaker Maria Schrader, director of the films The Giraffe, Love Life, and Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe previously. The screenplay is written by Jan Schomburg & Maria Schrader; based on a short story by Emma Braslavsky. (synopsis via First Showing)
I’m Your Man is currently screening in UK, releases 17 September in USA with Australian release date TBC.
After learning about his mother’s death, Hudson, a reclusive but charming man (Richard Masur), embarks on a journey with his distant cousin to scatter his mother’s ashes in the Hudson Valley. Along the way they meet an unusual hitchhiker and then their simple road trip turns into a dysfunctional adventure of self discovery, mini-golf, and broken Volvos. Hudson is directed by up-and-coming filmmaker Sean Daniel Cunningham, making his feature directorial debut after a number of short films and commercials work previously. The screenplay is written by Sean Daniel Cunningham and Gregory Lay. It’s produced by Emily Kincaid & Mary Catherine Greenawalt. (synopsis courtesy First Showing)
Hudson first screened at film festivals in 2019 and will be released direct-to-VOD on 21 September.