TL;DR – A fascinating experimental film that I think would work much better as three shirt films that one complete future
Score – 3 out of 5 stars
Warning – There is extensive use of Strobe Lighting in the second part of the trilogy.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Today we look at a film that is truly experimental in scope and form. It is a film that has taken footage from the past (I believe) and then repurposed it into something new. This transformation in tone and purpose through editing is not something I have seen before.
So to set the scene, in the distant future the human race has become extinct, replaced instead by quantum humans and their universal connection to the hive. However, there are some quantum humans that due to a genetic quirk have reverted a little back to their long-dead human ancestors. These Quickeners have gathered together in Area 23 in the long-abandoned American continent to practice old rituals and to find some meaning away from the hive.
the start this is a really fascinating idea and something I have never seen
before. The audio manipulation means that the entire story is told through
voice over and through manufactured subtitles. This called into question the
role that subtitles have in a film because you usually take for granted that
they are being truthful and you rarely see them be manipulated especially to
the level that they are here where they create an entirely new story out of the
original. This means that you can take documentary footage of an Appalachian snake-handling
church and create a story about quantum humans after the extinction of the
human race and all the philosophical and technological flow on that would occur
However, while this is interesting, I don’t think the combination of the three short films into one feature helped the narrative. This is because once you have seen the first short film you have seen the narrative flow for the next two as well. Once you realise this the other short films only have a few moments of oddness before falling into the same repetitive patterns, but with a bigger climax. That’s not to say that there is not anything interesting with the 2nd and 3rd parts of the trilogy, just that there is nothing really new with them either. What you get are variations on the same theme and if that is going to work for you or not is going to heavily depend on how engaged you are with the post-human themes at play. Me personally, I found myself struggling to engage with the last two parts on a conceptional level. Indeed, there were times when I think I would have more liked to see the original documentary works.
I am not sure that it did work as well as a feature film that does not mean
that there is nothing to see in Liminals
and I Can See Forever. While you do
get to know the pace and the main thematic beats of each section, the endings
escalate each time creating an interesting juxtaposition of black and white and
then colour. Also as the film progress as does the filmmaker’s ability to manipulate
the audio and video until I am not sure if it was repurposed documentary film
or something filmed new. It was also interesting that as the original documentary
footage got closer to our time it was also going back further in the timeline
of the films amping up that juxtaposition. There were also some interesting
musing on the nature of faith, spirituality, religion, ritual, transcendence,
and the interaction of the visual and the audio. If anything you do want to
stay till the end to see some of the best contemporary dance from a supreme athlete.
In the end, do we recommend the Quantification Trilogy? That is a hard one to say. I think if you come across the shorts, you should really check them out, or at least one of them. Also if you were watching this say at home and you could put some space in-between each film that would be good. But I don’t think I can recommend it all in one sitting.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow
Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV,
he’ll be talking about International Relations,
or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Quantification Trilogy
Directed by – Jeremy Shaw
Written by – Jeremy Shaw
Starring – People from the original documentaries
Rating – Around an Australia: M;