Director: Jon Jost
Prolific, political and peripatetic Jon Jost is a genuine cinema maverick. He works not so much against the system as out of it, with an independence that is both exhilarating and harsh. This is his most lavish film yet and possibly the most accessible. It seems to signal a new direction for Jost evoking as it does the spectre of an American Eric Rohmer.
The story concerns a young French woman trying to make it as an actor in New York. She shares an apartment with an aspiring opera singer and another wealthy young woman. While lost in a reverie at the Metropolitan Museum, Anna is passed a note by a Wall Street broker who finds solace from the trading pit in Vermeer's cool masterpieces. After a few meetings together and a series of other events involving the roommates, the stock broker collapses at the Met while Anna is absorbed in a Vermeer portrait.
If the story is sketchy and emotionally evanescent, the effect of the film is a richly detailed portrait of a city and a timE, a kind of obituary for the nineteen eighties. The film evokes the splendours of New York, of the art and financial worlds, while it cuts through the viciousness of a decade consumed with money and surface gloss.
As we have come to expect in Jost's films the cinematography is austere and sumptuous - one sequence with the camera simply gliding through the foyer of the Met is sheer magic - and it only of the many pleasures in this elegantly crafted portrait of a culture in crisis (a no-budget Bonfire of the Vanities?) A unique and pure filmic experience.
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