Title: BlackLight

Also known as:

Year: 2006

Genre: Collection / Art / Experimental

Language: French

Runtime: 60 min

Director: Mikaël Rabetrano, Frédéric D. Oberland, more

Writer: N/A


A collection of abstract black and white experimental films, working together to create a unique cinematic experience.

Our thoughts:
This DVD released by Lowave (who also released the "Resistance[s]" collections) features five short (between 2 - 20 min) experimental art films that all focus equally as much on the visual as the audio. They are all black and white and tie together really nicely with each other on this nice little DVD. If the director's have any connection to one another I don't know, but the collection is close to a perfect match and really becomes an experience in the way that I think they wanted it to. However, these kind of films are much more suited for a dark theatre with a huge screen and mind-numbing volume rather than a living room with neither of the two.

The DVD starts out with what I think is the best of the five shorts. "Le Corps des Vents" (The Body of Winds) consists mostly of pure darkness, mixed in by some white grit and scratches. In the background we hear metal beating, birds singing, instruments playing, people talking and screaming, you name it. What makes this one the best of the bunch is the poem that is presented to us in the form of text (appearing like subtitles without a voice saying it). I can't say if it is meant to be a poem, but there is nothing that tells me otherwise. It doesn't bring sense to the almost completely black (white towards the end) short film, but the text appears now and then and almost makes us forget that we are really just watching a black screen with strange sounds in the background. As far as content goes, this one is the best. What made this one even more interesting was that it came with a little behind the scenes video that almost works as a piece of art itself. It shows us the filmmakers making the soundtrack by running around a place banging on things, playing instruments, talking, screaming.

"Le Cristallin" is one of my least favorites, because it's something I have seen so many times before in these kinds of collection. Essentially it's just (what appears to be) plastic melting on a white background. The light flickers and pulses in flashes. The thing that makes this one worth the 7 minutes is the soundtrack, but it doesn't save it.

The shortest of the bunch is "Elez". It's 2 minutes, and is made with the old Stan Brakhage technique of not using a camera, just messing around with the film. It's a pretty innocent little film that just shows white scratches on a black background, but it's oddly pleasing to watch. The music is more like a psychotic noise and at times it felt like the scratches / lines followed the "noise". What I liked about it was how nicely it was flowing, but the really short length made it easier to sit through than something like "Le Cristallin".

"Macula" is the second best short on here. It ends up being my favorite film on here when it comes to the purely visual. Part abstract art, part body art, it manages to almost become creepy at some points. It's still as much of a mystery as the other shorts, but this is the first one that shows something other than abstract forms and scratches, and actually shows us a person. It's a naked woman, sometimes in water and sometimes behind a fabric (that she pushes herself into to show the shapes on the other side). It has some nightmarish shots towards that I think were done really nicely and even though the back of the DVD considers it body art, I think it feels like much more than just that. It works so well with the black and white, the editing and the radio frequency-ish noises.

My least favorite was "Tabula Rasa". It's a 10 minute short that shows us three screens at the same time. Two smaller ones next to each other, and then the bigger one over both of them. The one layer covering the entire frame mostly shows deteriorating film. The other two shows different locations, nature, buildings. And it's accompanied by a bass sound.

"BlackLight" is an interesting DVD for fans of the abstract film arts, but I will also admit that after having seen quite a few of these collections, it's hard to not get bored when you often see the same thing in them. But nevertheless, "BlackLight" is far from the worst of its kind, and I think "Le Corps des Vents" and "Macula" made it worth checking out. I am very interested in seeing what else Lowave have released because I'm a big supporter of these releases and can't get enough of them in my collection.

Positive things:
- "Le Corps des Vents" and "Macula". Good stuff!
- The behind the scenes for "Le Corps des Vents".
- Took me a few minutes to notice, but that there is an English version of "Le Corps..".
- Worth watching for fans of these things.
Negative things:
- Doesn't feel fresh enough.
- Could've had a few more films on it.

Gore: 0/5
Nudity: 1/5
Story: 0/5
Effects: 3.5/5
Comedy: 0/5

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