fromhow, 2010 Corpus-Callosum_michael_snow


Michael Snow

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Author: tieman64 from United Kingdom

WARNING- do not go to this film expecting some kind of “story”.

Corpus Callosum is experimental director Michael Snow’s latest “film”. A feature length bonanza of crazy sights, outlandish color schemes, and visual puns that can be appreciated equally as an abstract comedy or a playful recapitulation of the artist’s career.

From the opening reverse zoom to a series of 360-degree pans to the final line animation created by Snow (way back in 1956), Corpus Callosum plays like a cocaine fuelled cross between Brian De Palma’s “Snake Eyes” and Tati’s “PlayTime”.

Every single image in the film is stretched, squeezed, or flipped. Even the cast are zapped by all manners of gross and subtle digitalized distortions. The actors are almost transformed into cartoon characters, at one point one guy even managing to tie another in a knot.

Space is similarly malleable. Is the camera panning, or is the image being subjected to some sort of digital pull? Are we looking up or are we looking down? Is the camera tracking forward or is the set rolling back at us? It’s like being in a carnival amusement park.

And then there’s the film’s credits and title, which bizarrely pops up halfway into the film. Odd, and yet it fits perfectly.

After assailing the zoom in “Wavelength” and the pan and tilt in “Back and Forth”, Snow here seems content to let his camera track softly through modern office spaces on the upper floor of a tall building. But this is no ordinary space. When Snow’s tracking camera comes to a wall, it passes right through and keeps on tracking, sometimes leading us into a new space, sometimes taking us back to where we started. The illusion, as in “Wavelength” and “Back and Forth,” is of an uninterrupted cinematic continuum of time and space, when in fact we are watching a series of individual shots, cut together and, at times, superimposed on one another, to create the effect.

The last sequence, where a couple enter a theatre and watch a scene from the film they’re in, is particularly affecting. Snow seems to be saying that no matter how much we know about ourselves or our tiny world, we keep going back to repeat the same useless, silly motions over and over again (the cartoon segment was made 50 years ago, and one of the reasons the movie never seems condescending is because Snow acknowledges his own repetition).

The film is a triumph because, within the silliness and the contortions, we come out feeling like we’ve woken up to the looping nature of our own lives. Like we know something new about ourselves.

8/10 Pretty cool and unique.

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Umm…I really don’t know!3 December 2002
Author: Mark Griffin from Russellville, KY

Michael Snow is an experimental filmmaker who uses Corpus as an excuse to see what he can do with computer effects (I think he must’ve read Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics and felt compelled to translates McCloud’s suggestions over to the cinema). Corpus has no plot only themes which take place either in a workplace or at a home. Things blow up, bodies as warped (as well as the film itself), hermaphrodites pose naked, and the credits roll midway. Movies such as these are fun to watch, inspiring. Just proves that there are plenty of ways to make a movie.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Wise look thru a cinemadelic trip28 August 2002
Author: fapugnali from Buenos Aires, Argentina

Excellent experimental movie. Very close to a new and strange psychedelic trip thru the absurdities of modern yuppie life. I’ve seen it at the B.A. Film Festival and it was very funny to see people leaving the theater all the time, even with a couple of minutes for the film to end… maybe because the final titles aren’t final.

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