Edge of Outside (July 4/06)
Edge of Outside is an intriguing, thoroughly compelling documentary revolving around the key figures in the independent film scene. Director Shannon Davis effectively blends interview footage and film clips, with the end result a movie that works as both a primer on the indie world and as a treasure trove of rental suggestions.
Though Davis initially takes a chronological approach to the material - she starts out by exploring the movies of silent legends such as D.W. Griffith and Charlie Chaplin, several of whom are now considered the grandfathers of independent film - the filmmaker quickly switches gears and devotes the lion's share of screentime to profiles of important figures within the industry.
As such, Davis has compiled new and stock interviews with folks such as Peter Bogdanovich, Martin Scorsese, and Orson Welles. Interesting stories abound, as David elicits a series of compelling anecdotes from her various subjects - including Arthur Penn's shock at having to relinquish complete control of a particular film to an editor following shooting.
The inclusion of brief overviews of important movements in the history of independent cinema - ie Italian neorealism, the French New Wave, etc - offers viewers a context in which to place contemporary filmmakers, although some of this stuff is certainly nothing new for even the most casual film buff. And Davis' decision to eschew onscreen titles for the movie clips is certainly a baffling one, particularly since most viewers will undoubtedly walk away from the film with a whole list of must-see flicks.
Still, as a truncated look at the people behind some of the independent scene's most well-known movies, Edge of Forever certainly succeeds.