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My American Independent Film teacher just emailed us our syllabus for the semester.  On the front page it says “Should probably be called New American Cinema.”

Oh.  Now you tell me.

Not that I’m not excited to learn about New American Cinema, which is a rather big hole in my movie-watching habits, but it definitely the likelihood of my predictions by a mile.

The three that I got right: Stranger Than Paradise (1983); Synedoche, New York (2008); The Future (2011)

And as a brief means of defending my dignity, I did get a lot of auteurs right.  We are going to be watching plenty of Cassavetes, a Spike Lee, a Steven Soderbergh, some Gus Van Sant.

The thing is, New American Cinema is different from American Independent if only that the former inspired the latter.  We’re watching a lot more Altman, Scorsese, and Coppola than I would have expected, but really I should have seen at least two Malick films.

Anyway, I’m not gonna bother listing out the syllabus, but hopefully there will be some posts forthcoming under the “Movie Class Film” tab.

The Great Syllabus Guessing Game

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In a little over a week, the Fall Semester will be upon me.  I’m currently enrolled in American Independent Cinema and rumor has it that this professor wants our homework to be all movie watching, all the time.  With my handy Directory of World Cinema: American Independent at my side, I think it’s time to play Guess the Syllabus.

I’ve had this professor once before, so I know he likes Anderson, Baumbach and Tarantino (although he also assumes that most college kids have seen at least some of their movies).  He also includes at least a few recent films, so I’m guessing there will be one 2010 or 2011 theatrical release.

Mullholland Dr.


Synedoche, New York

She’s Gotta Have It


Boogie Nights

A Woman Under the Influence

Killing Zoe

The Man Who Wasn’t There

The King of Kong

Buffalo ’66

sex, lies and videotape

Lost Highway


Broken Flowers

Easy Rider

Five Easy Pieces

Stranger Than Paradise

Mala Noche

Pink Flamingos


All the Real Girls

The Station Agent

Before Sunrise & Before Sunset




Pull My Daisy


And the 2010/2011 spot goes to… I really want to say The Future, but seeing Holy Rollers again would be super.  And there will probably be a Sofia Coppola spot, so I’m gonna go with “Somewhere”.

Naturally, it would be better if this syllabus took me completely by surprise and introduced a whole slew of American Independents that I’ve never even heard of.  But, y’know, we’ll see.