Stagefright | Chicago Reader

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Made for West German television, Jon Jost's 1981 experimental feature presents itself as a philosophical vaudeville on themes of birth, the acquisition of language, the fashioning of the female image, the dissemination of emotions, the ethics of creation, the hypocrisy of politics, and, in a finale that miraculously manages to come as a shock, death. The action takes place on a darkened stage, and Jost uses stop motion, in-camera superimpositions, and baroque camera angles to create a space that is somehow able to embrace the extremes of both the theatrical and the cinematic. Though the individual sequences vary widely in acuity (and intelligibility; the sound recording is shaky, and there are long passages in untranslated German), it's a stimulating 76 minutes.

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