“A Movie about the World We All Live In”

The Washington Post has a nice Ann Hornaday article promoting tonight’s screening of Jem Cohen’s fascinating, contemplative film, Chain (here’s my original review) at the Hirshhorn Museum at 8 PM.

As I’ve mentioned, Chain focuses on two characters, a Japanese businesswoman and a teenage runaway. Both women inhabit the “corporate topography” of chain hotels, shopping centers, and other generic locations, often creating an uncanny sensation that you’ve seen that mall or that hotel before. In the article, Cohen describes how the film very gradually evolved. While traveling, Cohen would often do city portraits but “just always faced with this corporate topography in these spaces in malls and hotels, and I finally made the decision to deal with [that phenomenon] directly rather than framing it out.” In that sense, the film conveys much about how we navigate lived space, about the world we inhabit. If you’re in DC and have the opportunity, I’d highly recommend the film.

I also want to highlight Cohen’s reflection on the concept of indepednt cinema, an issue I’ve been thinking about for an essay I’m writing right now. I won’t try to re-summarize this discussion, but Cohen’s attempts to champion work by truly indepedent artists certainly contribute to any discussion of indie.

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