(Jem Cohen, USA/Germany/France, 2004)


Acclaimed experimental videaste Jem Cohen takes an oblique approach to global capitalism in Chain, a one-hundred minute collage of images and voices that conjures a pale, nowhere-in-particular space made up of malls, train stations, hotels and corporate architecture.

Shot simply but strikingly (on digital video) all over the world, Cohen’s art-piece recalls the bleak, monumental visions of filmmakers such as Chantal Akerman. Indeed, the material had already formed the basis for a striking multi-screen installation by Cohen.

However, it never really builds to anything that is not plainly evident in the first ten minutes. And a quasi-fictional element – involving the reflections of two women (one Japanese, the other American) – does not work terribly well as a structuring device.

The move from installation to feature film was perhaps not the wisest, given what Cohen was working with.

© Adrian Martin July 2005

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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