This troubling and challenging piece of experimental cinema almost defies a simple explanation. To reduce it to mere plot or narrative mechanics is to perform an injustice of which the film is undeserving. It may on the surface utilise certain conventionalities of mainstream narrative cinema, but this is a film about what lurks underneath such pretence. Like Jean-Luc Godard, Australian filmmaker Don Levy utilises film form itself as part of his strategy of attack. There is a self awareness in this film that to use mainstream methods of representation is in itself a statement of hypocrisy. If one is to challenge social and political institutions and to interrogate questions of history and our failure to learn from it, one must provide a revolutionary framework of representation in which to do it. Godard was aware of this, which was why film form was fore grounded in his cinema, and Don Levy seems fully aware of this too. Levy makes exceptional use of montage, one juxtaposition equates the bloody mechanics of an abattoir with the beauty of the female form. What exactly this signifies and means is unclear, it could possibly be a statement on the commoditisation of the human form - and this reading is in keeping with the films general attitude toward the marketplace and the forces which govern it. But the meaning is less important to me, it is the physicality of the images themselves which linger in the mind. The fast cutting images assault and on some occassions offend the senses, but every frame is part of a very delicate composition. Levy also makes use of newsreel footage and documentary material of concentration camp victims to create a statement about the failure to right the wrongs of the recent past, and too address the underlying issues that led to the attrocities committed in World War Two and Britain’s part in the conflict.
© Shaun Anderson 2010