Razzle Dazzle: The Lost World | Chicago Reader

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Ken Jacobs continues his nearly lifelong exploration of early cinema in this 2006 video. An image of young people on a spinning carnival ride, taken from a 1903 film by Thomas Edison, is intercut with stereo photographs that are edited in flickering alteration to produce depth effects. The young people's happy faces become freeze frames or blurry emulsion fragments, while a bright red background suggests passion—or hellfire. Jacobs's treatment of the original image creates an overwhelming nostalgia, but he counterbalances it with his engaging articulation of control versus freedom: his abstractions seem almost regimented, yet in probing their forms, the viewer can let his imagination run wild. 91 min.

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