‘Joe Swanberg's Quiet City’: Mumblecore Auteurs Poke Fun at Mumblecore

Joe Swanberg is one of the key members of the DIY film movement known as mumblecore; his third feature, Hannah Takes the Stairs, opened right in the middle of IFC Center’s big Generation DIY retro last August. Another film that opened right around then was Aaron Katz’s Quiet City, a gentle Brooklyn romance that featured a brief supporting turn by Swanberg. (One hallmark of the movement, such as it is, is a cheerful intermingling of nearly all its major players.) Now, Benten Films is releasing Quiet City on DVD. As an extra, the DVD features Joe Swanberg’s Quiet City, a cute “short film prank” concocted by Swanberg (who stars) and his key collaborator Kevin Bewersdorf (who directed). It’s a six-minute lark, hilariously lo-fi and shot on a dime, and it manages to poke some gentle fun at all the key style points of Generation DIY. As such, it’ll probably unite mumblecore lovers and haters alike. —Bilge Ebiri