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Cinema Different: Different Cinema Vol. 3 - arthouse and international DVD / experimental film DVD / video art DVD / film festival compilation DVD review
CINEMA DIFFERENT: DIFFERENT CINEMA VOL. 3 Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 4 stars
Directors: Marguerite Duras, Isabelle Blanche, Xavier Baert, Augustin Gimel   Distributor: Microcinema DVD
DVD release: 27 October 2009   Runtime: 75 minutes
(1 disc)
Format: Color, NTSC, PAL (double-sided), Widescreen
DVD Features: Aspect ratio 1.66:1, Audio tracks (Dolby Digital 2.0 - French, Spanish), Subtitles (English, Français, Español, German), Video bonus track, Text booklet, Biographies

Lowave, an independent film label that promotes experimental film and video art, collaborates with Collectif Jeune Cinéma to produce Cinema Different. Cinema Different is a more or less annual film festival held in Paris, and Different Cinema Volume 3 includes selections from the 10th festival.

The purpose of Different Cinema Volume 3 is to showcase young (in age, yes, but more in the sense of exposure) filmmakers who are rethinking the nature of cinematic images. There's some artsy stuff going on here, and some of it may show up next month or year on MTV or, more likely, in a cell phone or car commercial. The fate (or good fortune) of the avant garde is to be able to sell out to Hollywood and the agencies.

The DVD leads with "Césarée," an enigmatic film by the poet and novelist Marguerite Duras that mourns and is a feminist warning against co-optation and coercion in its repetition and matter-of-factness. "There is nothing to see but for it all."

Imprinting the body onto film is the intent of the next two films, by Isabelle Blanche and Xavier Baert. Baert's "Empreinte" is silent and abstract, and perhaps the most difficult film on the disc. Nonetheless, it appears to be a dance film and has a flowing rhythm the entrains the viewer.

"L'oeil Liquid du Voyage Mechanique" by Augustin Gimel is cut-up videography, as if the film for an industrial music track. Indeed, the sound track is apparently a truck engine (the mechnical voyage alluded to in the title), and the editing (if this fluttering and stuttering of images can be called editing) is timed to the lunge and wheeze of pistons.

Masha Godovannaya of St. Petersburgh, Russia, offers the most visually beautiful piece on the disc. A young girl dances, in cut-up edits timed to a flamenco guitar number, through layers of multiple exposure. Strangers glance into the filmmaker's lens, we see them seeing us, and those intimate moments are startling and full of desire. Shot in Super 8 black and white, the grainy film is as textured as a friendly dog's tongue.

Frédéric Tachou's "Reste-la" is an uncanny juxtapositioning of images of passageways and doors, blurred together via a split-screen seam that creates a hall of mirrors effect. The images may be found or, as a supertitle at the film's beginning suggests, recombined in an aleatory or chance fashion. The sound track is a guitar that is not so much played as percussed, and combined with found sounds such as traffic and footsteps. The result is an otherworldly affair that is, for all that, plain as day.

"Le Bombardment. Le Port des Perles" uses a trailer for the film Pearl Harbor to create a mash-up that disarms the Hollywood glorification of war, question the ownership of intellectual property and, at the same time, create some serious eye candy a la Stan Brakhage.

Christina von Greve explores Spain's totalitarian history in "Desde la Memoria," a stream-of-consciousness piece that combines archival footage and voiceover sound from eyewitness accounts.

Robert Todd's lush "Cabinet" is a 16mm exercise in rack focus exploration of edge, color, contrast and motion. Todd is a prolific Boston-based filmmaker whose work is widely known among aficionados of experimental cinema.
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reviewed by Brian Charles Clark
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