Spectres Of The Spectrum

Craig Baldwin seems to have been compulsively remaking the same movie over the past decade, an experimental found-footage compilation that dovetails as many technological conspiracy theories as possible. Each time he does a better job; this delirious 1999 feature is better to my mind than either Tribulation 99: Alien Anomalies Under America (1991) or Sonic Outlaws (1995), and it makes extensive use of Baldwin’s own footage, as did O No Coronado! (1992). But whether there’s a corresponding growth in lucidity is another matter. All his movies simultaneously mock and indulge in paranoid ranting, and sorting out the parodic strands isn’t always easy; when I heard Baldwin speak about his new movie recently in Austin, I was happy to discover that he’s a lot more lucid, politically speaking, than both his films and many of his postmodernist champions, so viewers who turn up for this screening should definitely stick around to hear him talk about it afterward. At the very least his extensive use of kinescopes and other campy 50s materials remains fascinatingly suggestive. (JR)

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