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41 Ratings

The Measures

United States, France, 2014
Avant-Garde, Documentary


Jacqueline Goss and Jenny Perlin retrace the journey of two 18th-century astronomers tasked with determining the true length of the meter. From the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel, The Measures explores the metric system’s origins during the violence and upheavals of the French Revolution.

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The Measures Directed by Jacqueline Goss, Jenny Perlin
A stronger sense of parallel visions might have benefited the film’s braiding of historical and modern inquiries, which suffer somewhat from its increasingly abstracted digressions. (Bresson quotes! Gallic McDonald’s billboards!) Whenever it turns its gaze to wandering scientists and stargazers, however, The Measures lingers as an eulogy to the human need and folly of trying to impose systems onto the cosmos.
October 02, 2015
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When Goss and Perlin film the same location, we take note of the differences in their perspectives, their exposures, the way their horizons line up, or more often don’t.
November 13, 2014
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Occasionally [Delambre and Méchain’s] reflections tend towards the exceedingly digressive—choosing a color for each of the men; inserting a long scene of sleepers on the NY city subway reminiscent of a scene from Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil; quoting Bresson’s Notes of a Cinematographer—yet it is the idiosyncratic unpredictability of such digressions that is the essay film’s life force.
November 12, 2014
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