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‘Strutter’

by Giovanni Fazio

Allison Anders started off as a scrappy indie filmmaker — cutting her no-budget first feature, “Border Radio,” after hours at the UCLA film school — and after a flirtation with mainstream success in the 1990s (the iconic “Gas Food Lodging” and “Grace of My Heart”) and a lot of work in TV, she’s now right back where she started. “Strutter,” her latest film with co-director and cameraman Kurt Voss, is similarly low-budget — it was funded on Kickstarter to the tune of $25,000, with Quentin Tarantino among the backers — and it’s set in the same Los Angeles indie-rock underground she depicted in “Border Radio.”

“Strutter” — perhaps named after the song by Kiss — follows singer Brett (Flannery Lunsford) as his girlfriend dumps him, his band breaks apart and he finds himself sleeping on his mom’s floor. Things get worse for Brett before they get better, but the film has a fresh, on-the-fly energy, a clear echo of nouvelle vague, and captures the incestuous feel of an underground scene. Some may note the black-and-white cinematography and retro-obsessed characters (vintage clothes, Gram Parsons, silent movies) and think “hipster,” but that would be a mistake. “Strutter” is not trying to be cool; it’s about the blues and the muse.

For a chance to win one of two “Strutter” stickers, visit jtimes.jp/film.