Jem Cohen: City Portraits
06, Apr 2006 13:25
These three beautiful pieces capture the city not seen, "the subconscious of the city itself." (Luc Sante, author of Low Life and Evidence) Lost Book Found (1996, 37 mins) was shot over five years on Super-8 and 16mm on New York City streets and melds documentary and narrative into a complex meditation on city life. The film revolves around a mysterious notebook filled with obsessive listings of places, objects, and incidents. These listings serve as the key to a hidden city: a city of unconsidered geographies and layered artifacts. Amber City (1999, 48 mins) is a portrait of an unnamed city in Italy and it posits an almost-imaginary place that draws closer to the reality of the city's inhabitants. Visuals range from verite street footage, to formal portraits of residents, to an unusual type of time lapse cinematography that allows filming in the low-intensity light of night landscapes and museum interiors. Blood Orange Sky (1999, 26 mins) is a portrait of Catania, Sicily with original soundtrack music composed by Mark Linkous of the band Sparklehorse. Music made by local Catania musicians is also featured.
1996/1999, color, 1 hour 51 minutes, USA