Something More Than Night | Chicago Reader

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77 minutes

Avant-Garde, Documentary, Experimental
Daniel Eisenberg's 2003 portrait of Chicago at night is composed almost entirely of long takes from fixed tripod positions. We see office workers behind glass, a highway toll plaza, and a nearly deserted Union Station, in images that imply a voyeuristic yet alienated viewpoint that's not unrelated to the mood of film noir. The problem lies in the editing: the filmmaker's stated ambition was to subvert the audience's tendency "to read the world narratively"; instead the film just seems haphazard. Confronted with what resembles an indifferently organized succession of stills, the viewer may be less likely to "reconceptualize both elapsed and historical time" than to unfavorably compare Eisenberg's pale and grainy 16-millimeter footage to the more sensuous and refined results of time-exposure night still photography.

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