Director Jennifer Reeves' film When It Was Blue presented in collaboration with the Cinema Project, is a kind of ecological film mourning both nature and 16mm film. Last night's performance of it with Icelandic composer Skúli Sverrison was a rare chance to see the project in its entirety of concept. Though Sverrison's moody treatment was beautiful and evocative, the entire experience veered into dangerously sleepy territory, especially for weary festival goers propped up by little more than caffeine force. In other words: My companion fell asleep.
I've always been riveted by images of wildlife; nature films and shows have been a favorite genre for as long as I can remember. It's counter-intuitive to my interest in appreciating the diverse details of species to have them distorted by being painted over on doubly projected film—the visual annihilation follows the mournful theme, though if the intention is to demonstrate a blotting out of untouched wilderness, it's more than a tad literal. The painted frames often evoke vintage footage from parties at the Fillmore, abstract psychedelia that frustrates the details of the owls, snakes and other creatures, from Iceland to New Zealand. It seems best observed as a mood piece, a melancholy sketch that allows the mind to phase in and out of its images—top-of-the-line, crystal clear camerawork remains my favorite way to emblazon the memory with fading forms of life—even if you find that its escapism leads you into sleep.
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