Apart from being a creative choice, minimalism in cinema is a rescuer for screenwriters and directors who do not have enough opportunities to realize their projects yet. Many of the master filmmakers’ first films include a minimalist narrative and amateur actors. Any filmmaker who has limited opportunities intersect with the concept of minimalism. In this post, we will share 5 minimalist movies proving that good movies can be made with a low budget.
Kazakh director Darezhan Omirbayev’s first feature film focuses on the life of a teenager named Kairat. Omirbayev does not show us such scenes as lovemaking and quarrels that are difficult to shoot and performing, but he manages to portray the events in our minds: Imagine two young people who challenge each other in an abandoned building. Although we do not witness the young people fighting, the pigeons that perch on the building suddenly blow up with the noise, creating the impression that the young people begin fighting. The film includes various minimalist approaches proving that we don’t need to show everything to interact with the audience.
Whisky (2004), shot by two young directors using a limited number of actors. The film focuses on a few days of a man who offered one of his workers to act as his wife in order to show his visiting brother a regular and happy life image. Whisky (2004) is a film proving that minimalist filmmaking is not only using amateur actors and providing naturalistic images, but it is also limiting venues, actors, and scenes and focusing on them intensively and professionally. Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll offer a masterfully constructed cinema experience that could be easily identified by the audience.
Hukkle (2002) is a graduation project of Hungarian director György Palfi while he was a film student. In the film, daily life in a small Hungarian village is presented without following a particular main character. All the people and even the animals in the village are the characters of the movie. The director approaches human and animal characters with the same distance. In the film, daily events in the village are shown in an ironic and absurd tone and the traces of a murder committed in the town are expertly placed on the background of the events. Hukkle (2002) is a cinema lesson that shows how you can turn an ordinary village into an interesting movie with almost no dialogue.
One of the prominent figures of American independent cinema, Kelly Reichardt, focuses on two old friends who reunited and camped outside the city as they have not seen each other for a long time. There’s not much in the movie rather than two men, a car, a dog, a forest and a small tent. We don’t witness any dramatic event between the two old friends or scenes of stereotypical confrontation with the past. While presenting the chats of the characters, the director skillfully places the fact in the background that the lives of the two old friends have already been shaped by the decisions they have made in the past and their paths will no longer intersect.
The cinema lesson that Reichardt gave us in this movie is that the important thing in filmmaking is the sensitivity and depth of the viewpoint of the director, and everything else can be solved at a minimum level.
Moon (2009) is actually a big-budget production compared to the other examples we presented here. The reason we put the movie on this list is that it has achieved great success by using a relatively limited budget, actors and space compared to other science fiction movies. The film focuses on the life of a scientist working at a mining station on the moon. The entire film almost consists of one place and one person. While Moon (2009) offers the cinematic experience promised by science fiction movies, it is one of the best minimalist movies that prove to us that science fiction filmmaking is not only for huge production companies.
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