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Lynne Sachs: 10 Short Films and Videos - documentary DVD / art house DVD / experimental DVD review
Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 4 stars
Director: Lynne Sachs   Distributor: Microcinema DVD
DVD release: 26 February 2008   Runtime: 62 min. (1 disc)
Format: Color, DVD-Video, HiFi Sound, NTSC
DVD Features: "XY Chromosome Project" 12 min. 2007; "The Small Ones", 3 min. video 2006; "Noa, Noa", 8 min. 16mm, 2006; "Atalanta 32 Years Later" 5 min. video, 2006; "Tornado", 4 min. video 2002; "Photograph of Wind" 4 min. 16mm, silent, 2001; "Window Work" 9 min. video, 2000; "Following the Object to Its Logical Beginning", 9 min. 16mm. 1987; "Still Life With Woman and Four Objects", 4 min. B&W 16mm., 1986; "Drawn and Quartered", 4 min. color 16mm., 1987

It is difficult to review a collection of short films; it seems that each film in Lynne Sachs: 10 Short Films and Videos, Vol. 3 should be judged on its own merit. Each is interesting in its own way, and nearly every frame could be isolated and used as an effective still photograph.

In "Drawn and Quartered," Lynne and her friend John filmed themselves on a roof in 1987 - mostly naked, mostly isolated in their own frames, cells of film. Lynne mostly occupies the two cells on the right, John the two on the left. Pretty unremarkable activities, but the observation at such close range holds the viewer's eye. It's not only the voyeuristic element that so draws the watcher, but that each of the four cells demands observation.

"Tornado" was filmed on 12 September, 2001. Lynne sorted through debris that had wafted into a New York park from the fallen World Trade Center towers since the previous day. Some narration and text on the screen contrast the events of September 11th with the modus operandi of a tornado. The use of video in this one seems to inject a now-ness to the work. While most of us are now wired to pay special attention to any work about 9-11 and revere it, Lynne's film is remarkably well-done. Understated. It ends observing some people enjoying a day in the park. Life is fragile.

"Atalanta Thirty-Two Years Later" is a retelling twice-removed of the Greek myth of Atalanta, a re-tooling of the version used in Marlo Thomas' "Free to Be...You and Me." Lynne turns that version on its side in a very literal way: the 1974 cartoon is shown rotated sideways in a split-screen and most of the audio run backward. The story is told of Atalanta, who must choose a mate from the many men who toil over canapes and fine food for a feast in her honor. In the end, Atalanta finds her love outside of the traditional pool of suitors, arriving on a different ending than either of the previous works. I think Marlo Thomas would approve.

A beautiful collection of art here. Not every film grabbed me in the same way, but each of them had me gently by the hand.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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