Monday, September 24, 2012

Night Sky (September 26th at the Cleveland Museum of Art)

[NIGHT SKY screens Wednesday September 26th at 7:00 pm at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Filmmaker Alison O'Daniel (a former Cinematheque ticker taker and CIA graduate) will be present to answer questions after the screening.]

You ever notice how when someone is able to remember a particularly vivid dream in detail, they feel the need to share it? It's utterly fascinating to them, so they assume everyone else will want to hear all about it as well. Of course for those listening to the dreamer recounting their adventures in slumberland, it is very often a tedious experience. Watching NIGHT SKY feels a lot like that.


The film begins with a 9 minute “overture” in which we get to watch a black screen while avante garde music plays. Then we get a brief shot of the desert before the screen goes black again. This time, subtitles pop up, suggesting that we close our eyes. Considering how little there has been to see up til now, one is inclined to take the advice, or perhaps just shut off the DVD or walk out of the theater, depending on the context one is watching this in. Finally, at the 14 minute mark, the film's title comes onscreen and things start to happen.

For the next hour, NIGHT SKY hops back and forth between a dance contest and a lesbian couple whose car breaks down in the desert. Eventually we learn that these two scenarios are connected by a green circle in the desert sky which opens up on the floor of the auditorium where the dance contest is taking place. A dog enters the desert from the dance contest universe. The couple walks through the desert and the dancers dance. Otherwise, very little is said or happens.

There's nothing about the film that I can say is “bad”, and certainly on a technical level it's quite well made. Occasionally there are some arresting images to catch the eye, and I found the soundtrack effective and compelling in its own right. That doesn't change the fact that I was completely disinterested in the film as a whole. 2 out of 4 stars.

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