From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Years active2002–present
CountryUnited States
Major figuresAndrew Bujalski, Lynn Shelton, Aaron Katz, Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass, Joe Swanberg, Ry Russo-Young
InfluencesDIY culture, Dogme 95, American independent film, digital filmmaking
Jump to: navigation, search
Years active2002–present
CountryUnited States
Major figuresAndrew Bujalski, Lynn Shelton, Aaron Katz, Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass, Joe Swanberg, Ry Russo-Young
InfluencesDIY culture, Dogme 95, American independent film, digital filmmaking

Mumblecore is a subgenre of American independent film[1][2] characterized by low budget production values and amateur actors, heavily focused on naturalistic dialogue. Filmmakers often assigned to this movement include Andrew Bujalski, Lynn Shelton, Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass, Aaron Katz, Joe Swanberg ,[1][3][4] and Ry Russo-Young. The term mumblegore has been used for films mixing mumblecore and horror gore.

Distinguishing characteristics[edit]

Naturalism – both in performance and dialogue – is a key feature of almost all mumblecore films.[2] Many feature non-professional actors;[1][2][5] however, Mark Duplass and Jay Duplass have worked with professional actors on their films Baghead; Jeff, Who Lives at Home; and Cyrus.[6] Some mumblecore films feature a prominent use of improvisation,[2][5] with the cast sharing script credits.[1] However, not all mumblecore films feature significant improvisation. For example, the films of Andrew Bujalski are heavily scripted.[7]

Director Lynn Shelton in 2012
Director Ry Russo-Young in 2012
Director Jay Duplass in 2011
Actress and director Greta Gerwig 2011

Mumblecore films are generally produced with an extremely low budget and low production values.[5][8] Many of these films are shot digitally;[1][8] however, this is not a defining characteristic as Andrew Bujalski's first three films were shot on film and edited with a traditional Steenbeck editing desk.[9]


Mumblecore is a genre of films that depend on naturalistic conversations in real places, focus on single characters in their twenties and thirties, and often depart from clear narrative structures. These films are often made on cheap budgets, sometimes in black and white, and are often produced with minimal soundtracks.

The genre can trace its roots back to the French new wave of the 1960's, especially the films of Eric Rohmer, whose films focused on the romantic intrigues of characters and depicted lengthy conversations.

Though not well known, the 1978 film "Girlfriends" marked the introduction of many mumblecore traits into American cinema, which would be adopted by later filmmakers. This low budget picture focuses on a single woman in her twenties surviving the New York art scene.

Woody Allen's "Manhattan" was a high-budget Hollywood predecessor of mumblecore, as it was shot in black and white in natural locations and focused on a single protagonist. However, the main character ultimately adopts a more optimistic vision of life than most mumblecore films.

Stranger Than Paradise and Before Sunrise also used techniques which were later adopted by later Mumblecore directors.

Andrew Bujalski has been described as the "Godfather of Mumblecore".[5] His 2002 directorial debut, Funny Ha Ha, is generally considered to be the first mumblecore film.[8]

The 2005 South by Southwest Film Festival screened a number of other films that came to be considered part of the mumblecore movement, including Bujalski's second film Mutual Appreciation, The Puffy Chair by Mark Duplass & Jay Duplass, and Kissing on the Mouth by Joe Swanberg.[2][5][6][10]

The term "mumblecore" was coined by Eric Masunaga, a sound editor who has worked with Bujalski. Masunaga coined the term one night at a bar during the 2005 South by Southwest Film Festival, when asked to describe the similarities between Mutual Appreciation, The Puffy Chair, and Kissing on the Mouth, which all screened at the festival.[5] The term was first used publicly by Bujalski in an interview with indieWIRE.[2][8] Bujalski has downplayed the existence of a movement and stated that he did not intentionally make mumblecore films.[11]

The directors of the films are sometimes referred to collectively as the "mumblecorps", as in press corps. Film journalists have also used the terms "bedhead cinema", and "Slackavetes", a portmanteau derived from the title of Richard Linklater's dialogue heavy, lo-fi 1990s film Slacker[2] and the name of independent film director John Cassavetes.

In 2007, the IFC Center in New York City exhibited a ten-film series of mumblecore films, titled "The New Talkies: Generation D.I.Y."[2]

The term mumblegore has been used for films mixing mumblecore and horror gore. This dates back to 2008's Baghead. A more recent example is 2011's Entrance. While not mumblegore per se, collaborates of the mumblecore genre have made the horror films V/H/S, The House of the Devil , You're Next and The Sacrament.[12][13]

New York-based Benten Films, a boutique DVD label run by film critics, has championed such mumblecore titles as Swanberg's LOL, and Katz's first two films: Dance Party USA and Quiet City.

Mumblecore is not a strictly American phenomenon. Since about 2009, there is the Berlin Mumblecore movement, with its own manifesto Sehr gutes Manifest. Berlin Mumblecore is not a reaction to the American hype as it is a reaction to the lack of reform in the German public financial support system for the film industry (Filmfoerderung). Crowdfunding is a new possibility to finance movie productions with small and very small budgets independently from restrictions of the German Filmfoerderung.[14] In 2009, Jette Miller's Austern ohne Schale was screened in Berlin. In 2011, the movies Frontalwatte by Jakob Lass and Papa Gold by Tom Lass were released. The latter won several German film awards. 2012 saw the release of Klappe Cowboy by Timo Jacobs and Ulf Behrens, as well as the award winning Dicke Mädchen by Axel Ranisch.[15]

List of mumblecore films[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Hoberman, J. (August 14, 2007). "It's Mumblecore!". The Village Voice. Retrieved on July 27, 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Lim, Dennis (August 19, 2007). Mumblecore – The New Talkies: Generation DIY. The New York Times. Retrieved on July 27, 2008.
  3. ^ a b Hubert, Andrea (May 19, 2007). "Andrea Hubert on the latest fad to hit the US indie film scene". The Guardian. Retrieved on July 27, 2008.
  4. ^ Harring, Michael (Sep 29, 2009). "Local Sightings Film Festival: An I-5 Road Trip and Other New Movies Debut". The Seattle Weekly. Retrieved on Oct 7, 2009.
  5. ^ a b c d e f A Genre Worth Shouting About, The Independent. Retrieved June 2011.
  6. ^ a b Mumblecore meets the mainstream in Cyrus at Sundance, Guardian. Retrieved June 2011.
  7. ^ Bujalski's Beeswax Makes People Say Mumblecore, indieWire. Retrieved June 2011.
  8. ^ a b c d e Youth Quake: Mumblecore Movies, New Yorker. Retrieved June 2011.
  9. ^ Middlegame: An Interview with Andrew Bujalski
  10. ^ Mumblecore Goes Mainstream, Variety. Retrieved June 2011.
  11. ^ Gilbey, Ryan (2013-11-07). "Mumblecore: 'It was never a unified movement. There was no manifesto'". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  12. ^ Nicholson, Amy. "Mumblegore". Los Angeles Weekly. Retrieved 2013-11-12. 
  13. ^ Collis, Clark (2013-09-17). "'You're Next': How a group of indie filmmakers produced one of 2013's most terrifying movies". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  14. ^ Acthung Berlin 2012 wrapup: The talks. Berlin Film Central. Berlin News and Indie Film Making in Berlin. 2012-04-24, retrieved in December 2012
  15. ^ Denis Demmerle: Eine neue Schule. In: Berliner Filmfestivals. 2012-04-28, retrieved in December 2012
  16. ^ Herrington, Chris (March 6, 2008). "Mumblecore": A new new-wave showcase at the Brooks. Memphis Flyer. Retrieved on August 20, 2008.
  17. ^ Dollar, Steve (July 25, 2008). "Mumblecore Meets Grindhouse in 'Baghead'". The New York Sun. Retrieved on July 27, 2008.
  18. ^ Pais, Matt (July 31, 2008). Search of a Midnight Kiss' review. Metromix. Retrieved on August 20, 2008.
  19. ^ Burr, Ty (May 23, 2008). "It's their scene at Cannes – The Boston Globe". Retrieved on August 21, 2008.
  20. ^ "What I Meant To Say". Filmmaker Magazine. Summer 2008. Retrieved on August 20, 2008.
  21. ^ Greta Gerwig Is a Mumblecore Prop in "Arthur"
  22. ^ "Momma's Man Review -". Retrieved on July 25, 2012.
  23. ^ A Short-Term Affair Leads to Big Questions, New York Times. Retrieved June 2011.
  24. ^ Jones, Michael (2009). "Magnolia gets Shelton's 'Humpday'". Variety. Retrieved 2009-01-20. [dead link] Published on January 19, 2009
  25. ^ Beeswax Movie Reviews, Pictures – Rotten Tomatoes
  26. ^ Daddy Longlegs – Movie Review
  27. ^ Harvey, Dennis (2009-10-19). "Review: 'Sorry, Thanks'". Variety. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  28. ^ Lucas, Matthew (March 18, 2010). "Review: "The Exploding Girl"". From the Front Row. Retrieved November 16, 2013. 
  29. ^ Sharkey, Betsy (April 9, 2010). "'Breaking Upwards'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 16, 2013. 
  30. ^ Piotrowski, Angeline (July 29, 2010). "Traverse City Film Festival: Tiny Furniture Sweet Talks Traverse City". MyNorth. Retrieved 3 January 2012. 
  31. ^
  32. ^ SXSW 2010 Postscript: On Cold Weather and Original Live Scoring | The House Next Door
  33. ^ Too Cool
  34. ^ Dickson, Evan (2012-05-17). "[Interview] 'Entrance' Directors Dallas Richard Hallam And Patrick Horvath On Budget, Slashers And Shooting Los Angeles". DreadCentral. Retrieved 2013-11-12. 
  35. ^ Linden, Sheri (November 5, 2011). "The Color Wheel: Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 16, 2013. 
  36. ^ Rabin, Nathan (October 18, 2012). "Nobody Walks". The A.V. Club. Retrieved November 16, 2013. 
  37. ^ Stewart, Henry (2012-09-12). "Sun Don't Shine: Mumblecore With a Gun". L Magazine. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  38. ^ Osenlund, R. Kurt (2012-07-28). "A GLANCE AT NEWFEST 2012". Filmmaker Magazine. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  39. ^ Kelly, Stephen (2013-10-28). "Drinking Buddies". Total Film. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  40. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  41. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]