Experimental videos | Chicago Reader

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Nine videos by students in Columbia College's film and video department. Eight of them are only a few minutes long, and most exhibit the talent for parody and cultural criticism often found in student work. In some, such as Jon Leone's Bait the Hook, the dense montage is too diffuse to make his anticonsumerist point clearly, but Alexandra Sarton's four-minute Nucleus is a wonderfully controlled matrix of interrelated sounds and images. By tightly integrating them in often ironic ways—narration about U.S. “conventional” strength precedes a mushroom cloud—she creates a vision of the world as a prison in which every newborn can potentially transform into a diagram of an atom, which will then become another explosion. Some other shorts, such as Petter Eldin's Jean-Pierre et Michelle, a foreign-film parody with a hilariously interminable romantic meeting on a beach, are fun, but Paul Czapiga's Comatoast is a reminder that zonked-out, trippy camera work isn't always appealing. The program's one half-hour film, Cadillac Graveyard, credited to Joseph Fletcher and four others, has a similar problem. This absurdist road trip, in which two travelers seek the “Cadillac Graveyard” (the woman apparently wants to scatter her father's ashes there), has an appealing if cliched journey-to-nowhere quality, but the extremely rapid camera movements close to the characters, while stylistically distinctive, are distractingly chaotic.

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