Line Between Real Life and Acting, Fuzzily Drawn

One of the more interesting if obvious effects of the digital revolution is that it has become easier for moviemakers of comparatively modest means to get their work into the world than at any other time. These days, all you need is a (relatively) cheap camera and some software to call yourself a filmmaker. You don’t even need an actual film print, just a disc you can feed into that ravenous maw called the independent film world, where upstart festival programmers, microdistributors, critics and bloggers are clamoring for directors they can discover, brand and champion as their very own. Hence Joe Swanberg.

In the last couple of years the industrious Mr. Swanberg (five features, a Web series) has managed to turn himself into an identifiable independent name despite having evinced little initial filmmaking talent. Things look better, however, in his latest effort, “Alexander the Last,” a 72-minute (including credits) series of loosely connected scenes.


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