Melonie Diaz’s Top Indie Flicks

Melonie Diaz’s Top Indie Flicks

by Qimmah Saafir

Courtesy of

A glimpse into the theatrical psyche of 24-year-old Melonie Diaz would reveal a roundtable discussion between Little Red Riding Hood, Benicio Del Toro, Bette Davis, and the cast of 90210. The multi-dimensional talent who's been acting professionally since 2001, started performing recreationally at an early age, and has pulled from every film, TV show, and play she's seen since. With influences ranging from the non-fictitious to the fantastical, Diaz acquired an open-minded approach to acting that has landed her interesting roles such as in the off-the-wall Hamlet 2. With four movies at this year's Sundance Film Festival, the Nuyorican actress has been heralded as independent film's latest "it" girl. Here are her top five indie flicks and why she thinks they're awesome.

(1989) Sex, Lies, and Videotapes by Steven Soderbergh

"This was one of Soderbergh's first films and it was one of the first movies to do really well at Sundance. He made it for no money. It's so deep and it's so simple and that for me is the true definition of an independent film. It's guerilla style and just about the script."

(2000) In the Mood for Love by Kar Wai Wong

"I first saw In the Mood for Love when I was a freshman going to film school. Freshman year is when everyone's looking for their own style. Everybody's trying to find out what they want to say. I think In the Mood for Love was like one of those films that I just instinctually connected with. It's genius-ly romantic and I was a very romantic person. It's also very lonely. It's beautiful, everything down to the costumes, the editing and the music. All of the elements in that movie are really in sync."

(2001) Y Tu Mamá También by Alfonso Cuarón

"I love Alfonso Cuarón as a director because he's had an amazing career. He can do something like Great Expectations or Harry Potter then go do something that's barebones like Y Tu Mamá También. That movie, for me, represented a director going back to his roots. He kind of let go of all of those things like special effects and it was just all about the movie and the actors. I also think that movie is extremely political in a very subtle way, just in terms of the cinematography. He did a really good job of showing the landscape of Mexico and its poverty and what Mexico is going through. And I love the relationship between Diego and Gael; it's such a universal relationship."

(2002) Hable Con Ella by Pedro Almodóvar

 "One thing I love about Almodóvar is he always writes for women. There's a scene where one of the main characters is watching this dance routine and the character's crying. He's like this masculine man and he's crying. Pedro always breaks these rules in terms of gender. He writes for transsexuals and really strong women, like alpha females, and I think that's wonderful. He goes outside of the norm for characters."

(2007) Mister Lonely by Harmony Korine

"It was unbelievably absurd, but magnificently magical. I really respect directors who have a style and he's constantly experimental. I thought it was beautiful and his most narrative commercial film."

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