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22 Feb 9:00am

Erēmīta (Anthologies) review – lockdown experiments of varying accomplishment

The Guardian
Alexis Zabé’s mini-doc about a Venice Beach homeless community is the pick of this studiously serious grab-bag of shorts shot in lockdown Do not adjust your set. The long pauses of black screen during this studiedly serious anthology of experimental shorts made by cinematographers during the pandemic lockdown are deliberate. It’s been put together by the American-Egyptian director Sam Abbas, who invited five cinematographers to take part in his lockdown challenge, shooting a film on their phones. The result feels a bit like being fed a plate of arthouse vegetables, a collection of not always easy-to-watch films, randomly connected and with a total running time of 58 minutes that, to be honest, is a bit of a slog. The opening film is a purely experimental piece by Soledad Rodríguez, her camera prowling hungrily for images. She uses a filter or effect that makes even ordinary images look unsettlingly like a sci-fi or horror movie: in a wood, two dogs stand to attention and look like hounds of hell about to attack at any moment. Antoine Héberlé’s contribution, a self-conscious film with a new-wave feel about a woman sitting in her apartment listlessly staring out of her window, didn’t really work for me.
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