Indie films won't hurt you

Last night in my Intro to Film class, we had the opportunity to watch Once, an indie film about an Irish street musician with a broken heart who makes a new friend and works toward his dreams of being a musician.

A good chunk of the film is the two musicians just singing their songs together. They tell each other of their past relationships, and in the end, you don’t get the resolution you were expecting.

I was quite taken with this film, maybe because I like handsome Irishmen with guitars or maybe because I just liked the original storyline. Maybe both! The student next to me, however, was not as taken with it as I was.

The reason I know that he wasn’t is because he kept making scoffing sounds during the film and pretending to snore. This is highly annoying, but I’ll leave you to make your own judgments on social protocol.

Anyway, I thought that I would send a little love out for indie films. I generally like this genre because there isn’t always the happy ending. Sometimes, the director takes liberties that make you question why. With mainstream media, the answer to “why” is “because it’s what most people like” in general.

Think of the movies that made a lot of money this summer. The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers are superhero films. Almost instantly you can plug in the elements of this movie: fights, tights and bad guys. The protagonist will win. A pretty lady might be involved somehow. You get it.

It’s fun, you leave the theater with a good feeling, and you’re excited because a lot of money was put into super-cool special effects. If the good guys hadn’t won, I can’t imagine the deluge of criticism on every blog on the Internet.

Now think of every romantic comedy that you’ve ever seen: a woman, who is involved in a successful career or is extra-quirky and awkward, meets a man who is maybe in a successful career or is extra-quirky and awkward. They get in a zany circumstance, the man messes up, the man wins the woman back, and they probably get married. I’ve been to so many movie weddings. Mazel tov, fake characters.

Again, you leave with a good feeling. “I KNEW they would end up together!” It’s a story we’re all too familiar with.

With indie films, however, you don’t necessarily get a neatly wrapped package. They are sometimes much more telling to true life, and the reality of that can be very poignant and moving. I realize that many use films for an escape from reality, so maybe that’s why this student next to me didn’t like the film Once. Or maybe he isn’t as taken with handsome Irishmen and guitars.

Either way, I would encourage anyone to take a look into indie films and see if perhaps they can find a director or film that they really love. Maybe something they can relate to. There are several venues in northern Utah. Hit up the Broadway Theater in Salt Lake City or the Art House Cinema on 25th St. in Ogden.

Oh, and please, don’t talk during the movie.