A meditation on history, memory, and change in Central and Eastern Europe, Buried in Light is a non-narrative journey, a cinematic collage. Cohen’s “search for images” began at a time of extraordinary flux, as the Berlin Wall was dismantled—opening borders yet ushering in a nascent wave of consumer capitalism. What he saw struck him as a profound paradox: the moment Eastern Europe was revealed was simultaneously the moment it was hidden by the blinding light of commercialism. Cohen’s images are neither the tourist’s roster of picturesque vistas and monuments, nor the mass media’s definitive catalog of dramatic moments. Instead, he focuses on details, ordinary objects, and forgotten places—filming daily life as seen on the street. —High Museum of Art Atlanta
Jem Alan Cohen (born 1962) is an award-winning New York City-based filmmaker known for his observational portraits of urban landscapes, blending of media formats (16mm, Super 8, video) and collaborations with music artists.
Cohen was born in Kabul, Afghanistan where his father was working for the U.S. Agency for Information and Development. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 1984, with a concentration on painting and photography. Jem never attended a film school.
Cohen found the mainstream Hollywood film industry incompatible with his sociopolitical and artistic views. By applying the DIY ethos of Punk Rock into his filmmaking approach, he crafted a distinct style in his films through various cheap formats of Super 8mm, 16mm, and video. In an interview with The Lamp, Cohen said, “…it’s very inspiring to me, to see people kind of take something outside of the industry, outside of the music industry, and it gave me something of a template to work in film outside of… read more