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Title: Weighing up the qualities of independence: 21 grams in focus
Authors: King, G
Issue Date: 2004
Publisher: Manchester University Press
Citation: Film Studies: An International Review. Issue 5 November 2004, 80-91
Abstract: At the heart (literally) of 21 Grams (2003) is a concern about questions of identity; of measuring that which seems ineffable – the essence of life, or what makes us distinct, unique as individuals, or otherwise. My aim in this paper is to use the film to attempt a similar, if less lofty, enquiry into the current identity of American independent cinema, a sector that often seems equally resistant to being clearly or definitively pinned down and categorized. 21 Grams is a useful exemplar of a number of significant trends in the contemporary indie sector, including both its situation in the industrial landscape and its most distinctive formal qualities. Industrially, the film lies in a position poised between all-out independence and attachment to the empires of the Hollywood major studio-distribution operations. Formally, and in the intersection between form and content, it also occupies a something of a hybrid position: alternative in some dimensions, especially its narrative structure and the use of hyper-realistic visual textures, but also more familiar-conventional in others, including a storyline that might otherwise seem closer to the stuff of somewhat implausible melodrama. In each case, I suggest, this can be taken as representative of a significant proportion of the American independent sector more widely.
Appears in Collections:Media
Dept of Social Sciences Media and Communications Research Papers

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