Daily Archives: February 2, 2001

Re-defining Video: Work By Kyle Canterbury

This dazzling program of work by Michigan artist Kyle Canterbury features two dozen experimental videos, all but one silent, ranging in length from 34 seconds to 11 minutes. Most feature some play between representation and abstraction, with subjects encompassing nature, domestic and public spaces, and politicsA Video depicts George W. Bush’s features decomposing. I don’t feel fully qualified to evaluate Reader critic Fred Camper’s claim that Canterbury has already done for video something like what [Stan] Brakhage has done for film. But such pieces as Color Shifts, Building in Detroit #2, 7 New Videos #3, 7 New Videos #7, and LX evoke for me some of the graphic power of the very different Oskar Fischinger, which goes to show the diversity of Canterbury’s work. And he does some things with rhythm and texture I haven’t seen before in film or video. What’s all the more astonishing is that he was only 16 when he made most of these pieceshe’s 17 now. (JR)… Read more »

The Center Of The World

The emotions of purchased sexreal, imagined, manufactured, faked, and rationalizedappear to be the focus of this stark, explicit, pungent tale, shot in varying grades of digital video, about a computer engineer named Richard (Peter Sarsgaard) who pays a lot of money to a woman named Florence (Molly Parker) in return for three days in Las Vegas with her. At various times Florence is shown to be a drummer in a rock band, a stripper, and a prostitute; whether she’s all three or we’re simply seeing Richard’s views of her isn’t always clear, but confusion of this kind is central to the movie. The script is by Ellen Benjamin Wong, based on an original story by director Wayne Wang, Paul Auster, Siri Hustvedt, and Miranda July. The metaphorical thrust of the story suggests that it might be about the fiction-making processes of writers and filmmakers as well as the delusions of capitalist buying power. It’s also about pain, which both tempers and complicates the eroticism. 86 min. (JR)… Read more »

Too Much Sleep

This independent American comedy tries very hard to be weird and transgressive, but frankly I had trouble staying interested. The gun of a 24-year-old suburban security guard (Marc Palmieri) is stolen on a bus, and his efforts to recover it lead him on an extended absurdist quest from one character and non sequitur to the next. I enjoyed Pasquale Gaeta’s Peter Falk-ish performance as a relative who helps out, but otherwise I was mainly looking at my watch. David Maquiling wrote and directed, and must have had something or other on his mind. With Nicol Zanzarella. 86 min. (JR)… Read more »


Set in the late 18th century, this dazzling epic by Im Kwon-taek (Fly High Run Far) concerns the love between a prostitute’s daughter and the son of a provincial governor who marry in secret but are then driven apart. Im is Korea’s most prestigious filmmaker (with 96 features to his credit), and his stirring 2000 drama is both historically resonant and strikingly modern, remarkable for its deft and spellbinding narrative, its breathtaking color, and above all its traditional sung narration, which he periodically shows being performed with drum accompaniment before a contemporary audience. This is one of those masterpieces that would qualify as a musical if Hollywood propagandists hadn’t claimed the genre as their personal property. A must-see. 120 min. Music Box, Friday through Thursday, February 2 through 8.

–Jonathan Rosenbaum … Read more »