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Film Scratches: Following the Logic of the Eye – noCOM (2014)

noCOM1

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.

noCOM stands for “no comment,” according to filmmaker Walter Ungerer, and that is appropriate because this ten minute short, a sequence of abstract visuals and improv-based music, is resolutely experiential and non-conceptual.

noCOM2I was not predisposed to like this film, as I generally don’t respond strongly to abstract works, but the film completely won me over, and in the very first moments. Why? It is so skillfully made that I found it impossible not to stare at the screen, entranced. The colors pop, with saturated raspberry reds, deep lavenders, and black backgrounds, all being drawn on top of each other (seemingly with a simple computer-based drawing tool), and layered over organic imagery which could have been derived from footage of sand, water or ice. The forms constantly re-invent themselves, and always in dynamic, satisfying compositions. The pace of evolution is breathtakingly quick, yet never feels hurried. It feels as if the screen is always feeding you just a tiny bit more than you can take in, leaving you on the edge of your seat. The kinetic sensations of movement, of falling away or rushing into the screen, create a feeling of physical engagement. Most of all, there is a sense of organic development, that each new surprising change of color or form follows an inner necessity, and that the film is taking you to each new visual landscape for a reason. The choices may not be driven by ideas, but they are never arbitrary.

The soundtrack, a collage of free jazz, based on tracks by Fred Ho and others, pairs well with the feeling of sensitive awareness and creative flow. When an artist with Ungerer’s level of sensitivity decides to play in fields of color and sound, the results of his free playfulness don’t need commentary or analysis, they simply need the time and space to enjoy them.

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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