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The Best Indie Films to Give as Gifts

Christmas is soon approaching but with it comes the ever perplexing annual question- what on earth am I going to buy for people? Of course you want to be thoughtful, perhaps a little bit quirky and original. The classic Christmas gift for those who have no idea what to get each other is of course the latest blockbuster on DVD. I shudder to think how many copies of The Avengers will be assembling under Christmas trees. But why not, just for a change, find a film that perhaps you may not  go see at the cinema. Something a bit more obscure. Something a bit more indie. We have collated four indie films that are sure to make someone’s Christmas.


Submarine is a classic coming-of-age film about the trials of being a love infatuated teenager. Craig Roberts plays Oliver Tate, a 15 year old obsessed with a fellow class mate, Jordana played by Yasmin Paige. Young Oliver becomes an accessory in Jordana’s attempt to make her ex boyfriend jealous, combine this with domestic troubles and you have a story as endearing as other indie love films like 500 Days of Summer. Director Richard Ayoade, who made his fame on the British comedy The I.T.Crowd , has no left his humour behind making this as funny as it is quaint. The art direction is particularly effective with a strong use of pastel colours and grainy filters giving the film a retro feel, despite its release in 2010. This refreshing warm hearted tale of love and loss will be ideal for those cold Christmas days.

Available on DVD and Blu-Ray on Amazon

Le Havre

Set in the sleepy French port town of Le Havre, the film follows would-be author Marcel Marx who makes a simple living between shining shoes, frequenting his favourite bar and looking after his wife. However when Marcel finds a young African immigrant who failed to make the journey to London. Marcel houses the boy and a humorous game of cat and mouse ensues as the local police inspector desperately tries to find the boy. Despite being in French, this is a hugely enjoyable film with great comedy and a rustic tone. This film didn’t receive such great praise at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival  for nothing.

Available on Criterion Collection Blu-Ray and DVD

Pan’s Labyrinth

Pan’s Labyrinth is by far the most bizarre film I have ever had the fortune of watching. From prolific director Guillermo del Toro, Pan’s Labyrinth follows a young girl, Ofelia, and her discovery of a vast labyrinth where she meets a faun who tasks her with three missions to complete.  It has to be said that I cannot really give the plot justice by merely describing it like you can with other films. The characters of the Labyrinth are creatures of a nightmarish land, while certain characters of the real world above are equally horrific. This film is certainly the most fantasy based of all the films on the list, and it is certainly not for the light hearted,  but the gripping story telling and immersive world of the Labyrinth will ensure that it will be a well received present.

Available on Blu-Ray and Platinum Edition DVD

Reservoir Dogs

What can you say about Reservoir Dogs that hasn’t already been said. It’s made its way onto this list primarily because it was Tarantino’s first film and also because it is a classic. Six guys, one heist- what could possibly go wrong? Well, what if one them is a cop and one a complete lunatic? Shot in what was to become Tarantino’s signature style with frequent time jumps that slowly explain the story in a very roundabout way. Reservoir Dogs is ultimately an all round bad ass film, whether its the ultra-cool moment when the characters are walking in slow motion to Little Green Bag or Mr Blonde’s eerie dance to Stuck In The Middle With You, it will please any crime fan or really any film fan at all.

The 15th Anniversary Edition is available on Blu-Ray and DVD

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Jasper Watkins

Jasper Watkins

One of the several editors for Screen invasion, his articles range from video games to music and occasionally to television. twitter @jaspcw