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Sally Potter's surrealistic and metaphorical epic about women, gold, and cinema—shot in ravishing black and white by Babette Mangolte on location in Iceland—is a good deal wittier and more fun than its checkered career would lead you to expect. Starring Julie Christie and Colette Laffont, this feminist fantasy-musical, set in the past and the future, was financed by the British Film Institute in 1983 and has a relatively lavish budget for an experimental feature. What keeps it alive—apart from the arresting music and uncanny, haunting images—is Potter's imaginative grasp of film history: odd references to Chaplin's The Gold Rush and Kuleshov's By the Law are recalled in the mise en scene, but the ambience may also remind you a little bit of The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. Not a film for everyone, but if you like it, chances are you'll like it a lot.

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