Midsection in a trilogy of found-footage features (following last year’s “Tom”), Canadian experimentalist Mike Hoolboom’s “Imitations of Life” is an abstract work that’s abstruse in meaning but often beautiful and absorbing as a purely aesthetic experience. While it won’t travel far beyond usual fest and cinematheque berths for avant-garde work, pic furthers cements maker’s rep as one of North America’s leading younger non-mainstream film and video artists.
Vid is divided into 10 chaptered sections of various lengths, their different textures abetted by use of four editors (and guest music/sound designer Earle Peach’s contrib on two segs). Stated theme is childhood memory, though that’s seldom obvious, with most explicitly relevant piece “Jack” chronicling growth of Hoolboom’s nephew via homemovies. With its pretentiously philosophical voiceover commentary, it’s actually one of the weaker miniatures. More striking are “The Game’s” eerie compilation of fictive mass-death scenes, and titular seg’s hallucinatory microscope views of primitive life preceding an array of sci-fi futurescapes. Computer animation, commercials, silent pics, docus, commercial feature excerpts both familiar (“Chinatown,” “2001,” et al.) and obscure, plus equally diverse soundtrack bites, are all lent fresh resonance by helmer’s mastery of cinematic collage. —Dennis Harvey (Variety.com)
Mike Hoolboom is a Canadian artist working in film and video. He has made over fifty films and videos, though most have been withdrawn from circulation, approximately a dozen remain on view. His work has appeared in over four hundred festivals, garnering thirty awards. He has been granted the Tom Berner Award for community service and two lifetime achievement awards, the first from the city of Toronto, and the second from the Mediawave Festival in Hungary.
He has enjoyed retrospectives of his work at the Images Festival (Toronto), Visions du Reel (Switzerland), Cork International Festival (Ireland), Cinema de Balie (Amsterdam), Mediawave Festival (Hungary), Impakt Festival (Holland), Vila do Conde Festival (Portugal), Jihlava Documentary Festival (Czech Republic), Stuttgarter Filmwinter (Germany), Musée des Beaux-Arts de Caen (France), Sixpack Film (Vienna), the Buenos Aires International Festival (Argentina), and A Million Different Loves Festival in Poland.
He is a founding… read more