06/17/15 10:00am
06/17/2015 10:00 AM |


The Catalogue (2004)
Directed by Chris Oakley
The Magic Lantern Cinema series program “Masses and Swarms” contains eleven short, crowd-themed film and video works. Oakley’s video piece is set in a shopping mall where surveillance systems scan and classify visitors according to color-coded consumer profiles. “I wanted the piece to operate as a mild science fiction, a screen recording of an as-yet-unrealized system,” Oakley writes by e-mail. “I’d been interested in surveillance for more than a decade before RFID (radio-frequency identification) tagging became a reality. I initially hoped to use real CCTV images from malls, but after finding them impossible to obtain I decided to shoot my own at the Bull Ring development in Birmingham, which was then Britain’s newest and largest urban shopping center. The screen overlays, suggesting a system in which tracking of individuals has converged with a database, were created and composited over a subsequent three-month period. I had always seen the relationship between retailers and customers as essentially hunter/prey, and at that time felt it had gained an even more sinister edge. Interest in The Catalogue never seems to have waned, even as our relationship with privacy has changed immensely.” Aaron Cutler (June 19, 7:30pm at UnionDocs as part of the program “Magic Lantern Presents: Masses and Swarms”)

12/17/14 12:00pm
12/17/2014 12:00 PM |


Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
Directed by Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick’s swan song is one of those films that, when watched under the right circumstances, gives one the distinct impression of still being in its world after it has ended. Accordingly, this tale of troubled marriage and creepy sex cults is being shown as part of a lineup of holiday films. To watch it is to revel in its uncanny, blue-tinged, intentionally faux New York atmosphere. Combine that with the excellent performances from Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman—whose celebrity statuses only heighten the onscreen stakes as they embody a chilly, patrician couple—and when you step out of the theater, the holiday lights in the streets are sure to look a little more mysterious.
Abbey Bender (Dec 17, 18, 9:40pm at IFC Center’s “Rated XMas”, on 35mm)