“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.
Next two chapters (Tradition, Hiro) are about image-makers with roots in Asia — one, a North American lenser of Chinese parentage who’s cajoled to return to the home country and ponders if her life isn’t unfolding in some sort of strange loop…” Robert Koehler, Variety