Hey Madonna (excerpt from “Public Lighting”) 2004

The third in a series of correspondences with Madonna. Cast in the form of a letter, including synchronous moments (a doctor’s visit, reminiscences about death), it narrates a tale of former lovers, one of whom has become positive. A fairytale of mourning.

“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 vid 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

Hoolboom has long taken found footage and made it his own, and he amusingly does this with Hey Madonna, which includes bits from Truth or Dare (including Warren Beatty grilling the diva on why she allows herself to be filmed at all times) and videos like Vogue. What turns the images upside down is how they’re presented in the context of an apparently fictitious letter written by a gay man dying from AIDS, who claims to have slept with Madonna, and ponders sadly how the superstar is starting to show her age.”  Robert Koehler, Variety