It Takes Two: What the Duplass Brothers Mean for the Independent Film Industry Open Access

Young, Andrew Brady (2015)

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This thesis looks at the career of brothers Jay and Mark Duplass, two contemporary independent film writers, directors, and actors. I argue that their career reflects a number of recent trends within the independent film industry, including economic fluctuations, technological shifts, and aesthetic movements. By studying the production history, critical reception, and textual formation of the Duplass Brothers' films, we can come to a better understanding of the industry in the early twenty-first century. The first chapter provides an overview of the contemporary independent film industry and considers the historical conditions that determined the emergence of the Duplass Brothers. Furthermore, I argue that by contextualizing the Duplass Brothers within the contemporary independent film industry, we can better grasp the formal and narrative operations of their films. The second chapter explores authenticity in their films and contemplates the criticism that the Duplass Brothers have abandoned authenticity in lieu of commercial-oriented projects. I consider how their films utilize small-scale narratives and low-key aesthetics as a way of signifying authenticity, which has larger ramifications when it comes to distinguishing between mainstream and alternative audiences. The third chapter discusses the representation of race, class, and gender in the Duplass Brothers' films, and I argue that while the recurrence of privileged, white, male protagonists raises certain problems, these films also elicit alternative viewings in a way that audiences of independent cinema might come to expect.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Heirs to Independent Cinema...6

Chapter 2: Far from the Mainstream...27

Chapter 3: How to Represent Independence...48



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