24 May 2013 4:01 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Scarecrow and The King of Marvin Gardens – quirky, unstylised films made in the 60s and 70s that refused to smooth their rough edges. This bravery, Adam Mars-Jones argues, is what film-makers are missing today

The label "independent film" doesn't mean what it once did, and the Sundance festival is part of the reason. The moment aspiring film-makers realised there was a potential shortcut to distribution and acclaim, they started smoothing off their rough edges – consciously or without even noticing – or at least they began to stylise themselves. Either way, the overall effect of the festival has not been to promote individuality but to erode it. So it's a mild beneficial shock to watch two American films of the early 1970s on re-release – not because they're masterpieces, exactly, but because they give the flavour of a different set of assumptions.

Scarecrow, directed by Jerry Schatzberg, won a prize at Cannes in »

- Adam Mars-Jones

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