House Logo
Explore categories +

Bamcinemafest (#110 of 15)

BAMcinemaFest 2017 James N. Kienitz Wilkins’s Common Carrier

Comments Comments (...)

BAMcinemaFest 2017: James N. Kienitz Wilkins’s Common Carrier

Automatic Moving Co.

BAMcinemaFest 2017: James N. Kienitz Wilkins’s Common Carrier

Old-world statues and paintings seem no match for VR headsets in Common Carrier, James N. Kienitz Wilkins’s dizzying experimental essay on what the everyday life of an artist looks like in the 21st century. In much the same way in which the omnipresent radio soundtrack shifts seamlessly between news, hip-hop, and ads, Wilkins’s film skips back and forth between different artists apparently plucked from real life and layers images on top of one another, creating a cannily cacophonous atmosphere which suggests that the true challenge to imagination is maintaining the necessary focus. ISP strikes, custody battles, delivery problems, YouTube tutorials, or just the pervasiveness of screens—it doesn’t matter whether you’re trying to create or just trying to get by, the potential for distraction is limitless.

BAMcinemaFest 2016 Tim Sutton’s Dark Night

Comments Comments (...)

BAMcinemaFest 2016: Tim Sutton’s Dark Night

Film Factory

BAMcinemaFest 2016: Tim Sutton’s Dark Night

The first four images of Dark Night, Tim Sutton’s contemplation of civilian gun violence in America, have a fragmentary precision that’s gutting. First, a girl’s eye is studied in close-up as red and blue light—seemingly the incandescence of either a movie screen or fireworks—flashes over it. Then, streaks of refracted red light blink rhythmically across the top of a dark frame, forcing us to reconsider the source of the initial glow as potentially that of a police siren, followed by a shot of a larger red smear, underneath which a distant American flag slowly waves. This sequence is capped off by a wider angle of the girl, who’s sullenly slumped on some grass at the side of a road as the unfocused legs of onlookers bob in the background and ambulance sirens creep into the otherwise hushed soundscape.

BAMcinemaFest 2016 Robert Greene’s Kate Plays Christine

Comments Comments (...)

BAMcinemaFest 2016: Robert Greene’s Kate Plays Christine

Grasshopper Film

BAMcinemaFest 2016: Robert Greene’s Kate Plays Christine

Robert Greene’s Kate Plays Christine pivots on several paradoxes: of acting, which involves self-expression via self-effacement; of media, which parasitically feeds on people, offering audiences catharsis while enslaving them with feelings of inferiority; and of the relationship between fiction and nonfiction, which is characterized by an illusion of distinguishability that affirms the greater illusion of the existence of objectivity. These paradoxes bleed into one another in head-spinning fashions in this extraordinarily rich and ambitious film, underlining the subjective fluidity of existence.

One of the commonalities between these paradoxes, as Greene chooses to wrestle with them, is their concern with the perils and limitations of empathy, as the film revolves around several intersecting quests for understanding. Greene follows actress Kate Lyn Sheil as she wanders Sarasota, Florida attempting to channel, for a film role, the spirit of Christine Chubbuck, a local television news reporter who notoriously committed suicide on the air in 1974, subsequently inspiring Sidney Lumet’s Network.

BAMcinemaFest 2016 Ti West’s In a Valley of Violence

Comments Comments (...)

BAMcinemaFest 2016: Ti West’s In a Valley of Violence
BAMcinemaFest 2016: Ti West’s In a Valley of Violence

A tentativeness courses through Ti West’s films. Watching them, one often feels as if the filmmaker’s approaching a boundary—separating genre trope from searing idiosyncrasy—that he doesn’t always manage to cross. West crossed this line in Trigger Man and, fitfully, in The Sacrament, which climaxed with an unsettlingly intimate staging of a Jonestown-like mass poisoning that calls into question the invasiveness of the film’s very formality. In these moments, West’s reverence for genre filmmaking merged with his gift for behavioral portraiture, fashioning a horror film that felt contemporary in its concern with media as offering only an illusion of “all access” to its subjects.

BAMcinemaFest 2016 Joel Potrykus’s The Alchemist Cookbook

Comments Comments (...)

BAMcinemaFest 2016: Joel Potrykus’s The Alchemist Cookbook

Oscilloscope Laboratories

BAMcinemaFest 2016: Joel Potrykus’s The Alchemist Cookbook

Joel Potrykus’s last film, Buzzard, placed its loafer protagonist in a crushingly dull middle-American milieu until he went berserk, with the donning of Freddy Krueger fingers and Halloween-store masks crudely symbolizing the rejection of a status-quo existence while also staying well within the bounds of realism. His new film, the beguiling The Alchemist Cookbook, begins where Buzzard left off, with the numbing social context a thing of the past and the hero, like some metamorphosing movie monster of yesteryear, transforming hastily into something beyond (or sub) human.

BAMcinemaFest 2016 Werner Herzog’s Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World

Comments Comments (...)

BAMcinemaFest 2016: Werner Herzog’s Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World

Magnolia Pictures

BAMcinemaFest 2016: Werner Herzog’s Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World

A theme unites all of Werner Herzog’s films, fiction and nonfiction alike: that life, which is so beautiful, painful, dangerous, and strange, isn’t to be taken for granted, as every portion of every element of our existence is wild and extraordinary. Such a theme is maudlin in the wrong context (watered-down variations of it fuel most Oscar winners, after all), but Herzog emphasizes in life the ecstatic and the unconventional; he’s too much of a showman and a poet to let his curiosities calcify into signifiers of platitude. In his hands, casual objects achieve timeless resonance, such as the bucket of water that hauntingly reflects the protagonist’s face in The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser. In Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World, Herzog turns his exploratory gaze toward the Internet, shaking us out of complacently accepting as a given its now all-consuming presence.