Experimental Cinema, Jack Chambers’ Hart of London

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Jack Chambers’ masterpiece of experimental Canadian film carries within it some of the purest moments cinema has to offer.

Chambers’ sprawling form of experimentation straddles the fine line between so called high and low art.

Adopting an anodyne viewpoint, he freely observes and presents both the unsightly and the majestic in a form of realism predicated on the viewer’s subjective perception and emotional interpretation of the events being unfold, often in real-time, on screen.

Foggy footage of a deer hunt incites Rorschach opacity, gesturing the viewer towards their own predilections. Deer’s blood spilling by the neck conveys an image as haunting as it is prideful. A vagina spreading for the head of a child’s birth to pass nods toward both the baffling and the beautiful.

The world’s quotidian activities, from the grim to the simple and plain, are placed on equal footing for viewer, as voyeur, to respond immediately, and therefore truthfully.

The finale’s use of repetition compels one to reflect on the experience and one’s emotional responses to the images. Upon completion, the film incredulously reveals for the viewer the truth of their emotional selves and the truth of the reality one both creates and perceives.

90/100 – Amazing.

(16mm at the Cinematheque)

5 Stars

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About Kamran Ahmed

I have a Masters in Cinema Studies from the University of Toronto. I work as a freelance writer and film critic in Vancouver. My writing is primarily distributed through Next Projection, an online film journal based in Toronto.
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