Amy 18 minutes 2004

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“Prolific Canadian experimental filmmaker Mike Hoolboom’s Public Lighting surpasses even the beauty of his most recent work, Imitations of Life. Visually dense and hypnotic while brimming with the kind of penetrating ideas one associates with Godard, Public Lighting ponders the ways in which seeing and hearing affect human consciousness. While avant-garde fans will file it as essential viewing, the loveliness of this concise rumination should draw a wider audience in its current fest tour and through video distribution.

Divided into seven chapters, pic opens on a light spectrum as a symbol for pic’s range of views, launched by an introductory chapter with Hoolboom’s alter-ego, a female author (voiced by Esma Mouhktar) explaining that in the following six chapters, she will tell of six kinds of sadness fitting six personality types all under the umbrella title of Public Lighting

Finale, Amy, is narrated by a model (Liisa Repo-Martell) who’s painfully uncomfortable with her own body and “old woman’s” face. Astonishing closing image is a tightly composed telephoto shot on the start of a marathon race among young schoolgirls, dashing toward and then across the screen in ultra-slo-mo, and accompanied by a girls’ chorus hauntingly singing Brian Wilson’s God Only Knows. Widely eclectic lensing and looks in various media and in color and black-and-white flow nicely from one section to the next, aided by gifted editor Mark Karbusicky.” Robert Koehler, Variety