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USA, 2012, 70 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Avant Garde/Experimental, Drama
Program: New Directors ShowcaseLanguage: English
DIRECTOR: Brent Chesanek
Producer: Brent Chesanek, Yvette Granata, Justin StrawhandEditor: Brent Chesanek, Stacey FosterScreenwriter: Brent ChesanekCinematographer: Brent ChesanekPrincipal Cast: Sean Kaufman
In a people-less world, a boy narrates the history of Orlando, Florida, mixing in his own history with his dad’s, with whom he now shares a barren existence. The boy’s imaginings, like the place he lives in now, conjure both the phantasmagoric and the merely mythical as he tries to understand how two people have come to live empty lives in an empty house in this empty place. The whole world is contained in Orlando, his father told him. It shouldn’t ever be necessary to go anywhere else. As the boy explores the real landscape of this place, both built and natural, he tries to reconcile this idea with the beauty and bleakness he finds.
The stars of this unconventional tale are nature and sound and still images of manmade things that suggest a postapocalyptic world. Writer-producer-director Brent Chesanek brings a keen eye to this meditation on artifice and reality, discovering a wealth of landscapes within a single landscape, from the tiniest details to a thunderous sky that threatens catastrophe. In this perfect stillness, the boy’s poetic but devastating observations play in counterpoint to images that are full and rich. Roadways that show no movement seem quiet at first, but later suggest something lurking, impending danger, a human presence that may or may not be welcome.
Shot in swamps and suburban landscapes in and around Orlando, City World is both peaceful and heartbreaking. Chesanek is the creator of Brethren Arise, an award-winning experimental short. City World is his feature directorial debut.
- VAL MOSES
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