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Film Scratches: Disturbing Desires – Light-Sleep (2009)

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Film Scratches focuses on the world of experimental and avant-garde film, especially as practiced by individual artists. It features a mixture of reviews, interviews, and essays.

A Review by David Finkelstein.

Light-sleep, a 6 minute film of hand processed found footage by Hungarian filmmaker Péter Lichter, begins with a shot of a child trying to sleep in a noisy environment. Much of the footage used is from vintage porn films, and Lichter has used a chemical process to melt the filmstrip, causing holes to open up in the frame and images to run fluidly. Elaborate colors confuse the underlying imagery. The strong soundtrack by Ádám Márton Horváth is a collage of sounds which might disturb sleep: birdsong, buzzing flies, telephones.

lightsleepsideLight-sleep is one of the rare hand processed films which uses the technique for an expressive purpose. The film compares the experience of sleep disrupted by noise with a sexual awakening: the noisy and scary feelings which come to us with puberty. The liquid eruptions in the filmstrip evoke the disruptive sensation of sexual preoccupations which seem to come to us from out of nowhere. Visually, Lichter has a beautiful sense of color, with lurid reds and mauves which also evoke sexuality. Unlike many hand processed films in which frames flash by too quickly to be seen, Lichter slows down the frame rate and varies the rhythm, giving the eye a chance to actually see the beauty of the images. In Light-sleep, Lichter begins to show us the possibilities of using hand processed film for emotional effect.

David Finkelstein is a filmmaker, musician, and critic. For more information on Film Scratches, or to submit an experimental film for review, contact lakeivan@earthlink.net.

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