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Visible Cities

USA, 1991 (MIFF 1992, Experimental)

Director: Babette Mangolte

Babette Mangolte is known as a highly respect­ed cinematographer for directors such as Chantal Akerman, Yvonne Rainer and Sally Potter, and is an accomplished filmmaker in her own right. Visible Cities, her latest film, tells of two women looking for a home in a building estate on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Using seductively photographed images of the par­tially completed housing, the film shows the attractions of these estates. But the cinematog­raphy is impersonal. The dialogue, full of many personal details, contradicts these images. Building the estates is like a war. First roads must be laid and the land flattened. The history of the region is demolished. The fea­tures which attract the mid classes to these estates, encourages segregation, isolation and conformity. The houses are lifeless and have no sense of community. The film is a more realis­tic, contemporary Invasion Of The Body Snatch-ers. Perhaps the two women, who want studios and don't live in a nuclear family, won't fit in? (MK)

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