Film and video artist Jem Cohen (whose other work includes impressionistic documentaries on Fugazi and Elliott Smith) spent six years shooting this striking and potent 16-millimeter experimental feature in and around hundreds of malls, from Dallas to Berlin to Melbourne, and the fact that none of them can be placed or individuated is part of his point. A subtle mix of documentary and fiction, the film tells two separate stories about solitary women tied to these spaces: a 31-year-old Japanese executive (Hal Hartley regular Miho Nikaido) who's studying the international theme-park industry for a corporation, and a young drifter (Mira Billotte of the New York band White Magic) who's run away from home and is living and working illegally on the fringes of a mall. Both stories are interesting, though the latter is much more convincing; what makes the strongest impact is the superb documentary photography and the “found” audio segments—telemarketing ads left as voice messages. 99 min.
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