In the modern days of microbudgets in independent films, new waves are making themselves clear. Misrule Cinema and the Pink8 rules of filming are the latest piece of the underground movement, helmed by Fabrizio Federico and a handful of other, like-minded filmmakers.
A Blank Generation, the work of Federico is interesting, a unique look at the culture of the United Kingdom and the response underground filmmakers have to current events. His feature documentary, Anarchy in the U.K., is an acceptably fascinating experience. It brings up a discussion of how these filmmakers view themselves. An oddly self-centred, banal view that they’re cultural idols in the making that’ll be rejected by the mainstream until brighter brains highlight their talents. I don’t believe that will happen, but I can’t deny being completely fascinated with the mindset and dreams of these creative minds.
I’ve no qualms with the passion, that much is clearly there, and the punk references and ability to be this alternative branch of cinema is definitely ripe for the taking. But Gonzo journalism and that style made popular by the great Hunter S. Thompson feels absent from this movement. Gonzo is the abject moments with a fictionalized twist, the inner-workings of a society criticized through a lens that is partly fiction, but grounded in truth. I don’t believe Pink8’s rules have what it takes to make a true showcasing of Gonzo cinema, but then again, rules are meant to be broken. What’s the point in crafting a manifesto for cinema if you’re going to go against what few, broad rules there are? It’s interesting, but wholly frustrating for newcomers such as myself.
The movement may not be popular or consistent, but it provides a good work ethic for those finding themselves within it. Confined to handheld cameras and iPhones, it’s something we’re starting to see in modern moviemaking with High Flying Bird or Unsane, both helmed by Steven Soderbergh. Filmmakers change, and so do audiences, their likes, dislikes, and crucially, their taste, changes consistently. There’s always room for those with shock value or innovation, Fabrizio brings to the table something we’ve not seen in either mainstream or underground movements. A fresh idea, rare in the face of Hollywood producers and independent filmmakers who, for the most part, are looking to break into those same big leagues.
Cast your predilections to film aside, and do what I did, at least try and engage with this new style of cinema. It’s not the explosive shake-up the world of film needs, but it’s a comfortable niche of interesting individuals. Punk filmmaking, a jolt of energy independent filmmaking had been crying for, and like it or loathe it, there’s something very fascinating in the way Misrule Cinema operates. There’s clear knowledge and passion from those behind the camera, as they dissect and discuss ideas that shy away from mainstream potential, utilise real people, and real emotion. It all comes together well, and it’s a genre that will survive thanks to the flourishes of the creatives steering it through the crashing waves of ingenuity.