Reviewed by: Keith Hennessey Brown

Amidst a homogeneous urban and suburban backdrop two ostensibly different, yet intimately connected, women engage in a quasi-Debordian dérive. (Pseuds corner, here we come...)

Tamiko is the well-paid employee of a keiretsu, looking for commercial property opportunities in the US.

Copy picture

Amanda is the teenage runaway, eking out a desperate existence on the margins of society, amidst the detritus of the contemporary Wasteland.

The point, of course, is to connect - "only connect" - the fragments and understand how global corporate strategies affect local lives and cultures, usually for the worse; to think globally and act locally the next time one is confronted with a purchasing decision, or a ballot paper, the irony being that the seemingly contiguous environments are in fact Deleuzian "anyspace whatevers" culled from 11 US states and six other countries. (Pretentious, moi?)

If there is one word that encapsulates New York based experimental filmmaker Jem Cohen's work it would have to be integrity. Whereas high-profile counterparts like Spike Jonze and Jonas Akerlund squander their undoubted talents by whoring themselves to the commercial mainstream, Cohen keeps his head down and his cinema pure, abiding by the mantra of his long-term collaborators Fugazi: "If it's not for sale, you can't buy it"

The result is an impassioned cine-tract, reminiscent of the likes of Chris Marker, whose only failing may be in finding an audience outwith the already converted; of reaching beyond the Noam Chomsky and Godspeed You Black Emperor! anarcho-syndicalist types - the Canadian avant-rock collective provide the soundtrack here - to the Michael Moore and R.E.M liberal-left leaners, numerous enough for their smaller individual efforts to make a bigger collective difference...

See, think, act - before it's too late...

Reviewed on: 16 Aug 2004
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An agit-prop study of consumerism and teenage despair in the US heartland of the big sell.

Director: Jem Cohen

Writer: Jem Cohen

Starring: Miho Nikaido, Mira Billotte

Year: 2004

Runtime: 99 minutes

Country: US/Germany


EIFF 2004

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