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American Independent CinemaRites of Passage and the Crisis Image$
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Anna Backman Rogers

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748693603

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748693603.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
American Independent Cinema

Anna Backman Rogers

Edinburgh University Press

American independent cinema is certainly a cinema in crisis, but it is also a cinema of crisis. A great deal of useful scholarship has been carried out on the notion of independence and the definition of indie cinema as a hybrid industry (‘indiewood’). This study partakes of that conversation, but from the perspective of the aesthetics and poetics of crisis that figure or visualise notions of ambiguity and the in-between. The cinema of crisis delineated here is one that explores the difficulty or impossibility of progression through extended moments of liminality and threshold. In a cinema of crisis, the concept of a plot is subservient to the investigation of what it means to exist in a moment of threshold within the context of a rite of passage; this moment may usher in transformation, or it may lead to stasis and not offer any form of resolution. What the viewer sees on screen are bodies that may halt, falter, freeze and become-surface, or evolve, mutate, dissolve and merge: these are bodies in crisis because they are either atrophying or becoming-other.

Keywords:   American Indie Cinema, American Independent Cinema, Art Cinema, Independent film, Indie Film, Sofia Coppola, Jim Jarmusch, Gus Van Sant, Crisis, Rites of Passage

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