“A dreamlike travelogue that transforms a mundane world into something strange and new.”
—The Village Voice
On Wednesday, April 26, 7:30 pm, the Walker Art Center presents Chain, the latest film in the series Premieres: First Look, an ongoing presentation of area film premieres that gives audiences an early look at tomorrow’s critically acclaimed classics. The film is a reworking of director Jem Cohen’s installation Chain X Three (2002), shown at the Walker in 2003, using anonymous malls, chain stores, and empty parking lots to create a sense of the homogenization brought about by globalism. Cohen will also participate in a free discussion and film and live music performance with musician Vic Chesnutt on Thursday, April 27, 7:30 pm, as part of Target Free Thursday Nights.
In Chain, a provocative mix of documentary and fiction, Cohen lays out beautifully composed images shot throughout the United States, Europe, and Australia, and links them through two loose narratives—a Japanese executive, Tamiko (Miho Nikaido), travels to America on business to develop a hybrid shopping/entertainment complex while a runaway, Amanda (Mira Billotte), haunts a shopping mall looking for work and a place to crash. Cohen’s collage of spaces cut off from their original (sub)urban surroundings produces an uncanny repetition—two nearly affectless women trapped in the generic byproducts of globalization.
Tickets to this screening are $8 ($6 Walker members) and are available at walkerart.org/tickets or by calling 612.375.7600. Screening takes place in the Walker Cinema.
Wednesday, April 26, 7:30 pm
Directed by Jem Cohen
In a landscape dominated by corporate culture, our role as consumers defines Jem Cohen’s stark and disturbing first narrative feature film. This reworking of the themes from his installation Chain X Three (2002), shown at the Walker in 2003, uses anonymous malls, chain stores, and empty parking lots to create a sense of the homogenization brought about by globalism. The lives of two women—one affluent, the other disenfranchised—are profoundly affected by this cultural shift. Japanese businesswoman Tamiko (Miho Nikaido, Flirt) is developing a hybrid shopping/entertainment complex when a merger brings her project to a halt, stranding her in a corporate residence apartment in an industrial park. Amanda (Mira Billotte of neo-folk band White Magic in her film debut) squats in abandoned homes brought on by the recession. To pass the time, she walks through malls with a broken cell phone, making conversation with no one. Images of empty corporate vistas across the world bring a universal resonance to the downside of globalization that Cinema Scope has described as “Present Shock.” 2004, U.S., color, video, 99 minutes.
Thursday, April 27
Contemporary Art in Conversation: Jem Cohen and Vic Chesnutt
Cinema, 7:30 pm
Free; but ticket required; available from 6 pm at the Bazinet Garden Lobby desk
Shooting in hundreds of locations with little or no crew, Cohen collects street footage, portraits, and sounds. The resulting films include elements of the documentary, narrative, and experimental approaches. His feature-length documentaries are Instrument (1999), made with and about the band Fugazi, and Benjamin Smoke (2000), codirected by Peter Sillen. In this conversation illustrated with film clips, Cohen talks with musician and longtime collaborator Vic Chesnutt, whose songs are some of the many musical influences on Cohen’s work. In addition to discussing Cohen’s work, they will also present a film/live music collaboration.
Target Free Thursday Nights are made possible by Target. Additional support provided by The Institute of Museum and Library Services.