Thursday, December 20, 2012

New Experimental Film by Chris MaGee

One of the highlights of my final year as an undergrad at the University of Toronto was Professor Bart Testa's course on avant-garde and experimental cinema. Every week, he would take us a few steps further into a strange yet incredible realm of cinema that felt rich with possibility and imagination. Sure, I loved my Truffaut, Bergman, Fellini, and Wong (I still do), but those artists who decided to leave the frameworks of narrative behind completely did things that seemed to really dig into the true capabilities of cinema, taking their viewers to remarkable places where the contrivances of character and plot would only get in the way of the pure psychological experiences they achieved.

Sadly, in recent years I've somewhat neglected to keep exploring avant-garde cinema as I had promised myself I would do after finishing Professor Testa's course, but last night I saw a film that made me want to catch up on my Brakhage, Baillie, Anger, and Frampton. Entitled NOXLUX, it is a ten minute-long minimalist piece that slowly, mesmerizingly shifts from one pattern to the next, all of which viewed through a vertically striped frame that, as the image swells and flows, plays strange tricks on the eyes not unlike those old 3D posters we all had as kids. The film was made by none other than my good friend Chris MaGee, editor-in-chief of the Toronto J-Film Pow-Wow and programmer of the Shinsedai Cinema Festival. I think he has made something pretty cool here - not to mention refreshingly different from his other substantial pursuits in the world of film - and I really hope he continues to forge ahead in this new direction.

For now, though, you can enjoy the film below - which, I'd recommend, works best with the video switched to full screen, the lights turned off, and the headphones on. Settle in and enjoy...

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