Rome, NY (Ada Bligaard Søby)
It is unfortunate that the first program of the festival would prove to be so flaccid, and made even more unappealing by the almost grotesque level of derision and contempt (and arrogant superiority) exhibited by the two local tour guides enlisted by Søby to guide her through the struggling, working class town that had fallen into hard times due to the closure of Griffiss Air Force Base and the lack of sustained industry in the small town. Amateurishly shot with an unsteady handheld video camera, the video also made for a physically unpleasant experience. I question whether the creator’s intent (if there was one) was to humorously show the blandness of the town or the caricatured buffoonery of the pathetic tour guides. In either case, it clearly didn’t work and at 26 minutes, it was 21 agonizing minutes too long.
Starship (Bernard Gigounon)
A short, lingering, and fairly innocuous piece on the visual study of mundane objects – specifically, cruise ships and elemental truss structures – that is made alien and mysterious by the juxtaposed projection of their symmetric reflection. Gigounon shows an imaginative ability to create tonal compositions from everyday observation.
Fade into White #4 (Goshima Kazuhiro)
Beautifully shot in high contrast black and white and unfolding with the mysterious and impenetrable logic and infinite recursion of an inanimate Last Year at Marienbad (using action figures), Fade into White #4 is an elegant and well-crafted compositional study of architecture, structural symmetry, impersonal spaces, and the construction and manipulation of memory and impression.
very fantastic (Stella So)
Composed of a series of roughly detailed, quick animation sketches drawn on calligraphy paper, very fantastic is a strange and almost surreal illustration of the curious melding of traditional aesthetics and intimate, deeply rooted culture in Hong Kong with its more impersonal, large-scale urban architecture.
1.1 Flat Acre Screen (Franziska Lamprecht and Hajoe Moderegger)
From the quaint and amusing opening premise of having won an Ebay auction for a tract of land in the Utah desert, Lamprecht and Modregger create a lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek western-styled adventure on the pursuit of the American dream: a dream that comes to rest on the intrepid family’s ability to compel the Union-Pacific freight trains to stop near their property in order for their auctioned land value to appreciate. Clocking at 43 minutes and shot in a straightforward narrative, the video lacks visual novelty and overplays its simple joke perhaps a bit too long, but is still a respectable and engaging comedic effort by the amiable duo.
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