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Remembrance of Things Fast

UK, 1993 (MIFF 1994, Experimental)

Director: John Maybury

This witty barrage of sexual diversity and media mayhem juxtaposes gay self-perception with the view from outside. The control exercised by the media over all aspects of contemporary society is cleverly iampooned via a computer-generated terrain of news flashes, commercials and scrambled soundbites. A merciless stab at US style, twin-anchor newscasts is especially funny, reducing the format to a duel of gossipy vilification. This is John Maybury's queer-nation landscape, populated with enough questioned norms, challenged preconceptions and inescapable associations to more than justify the Proustian allusion of its title. The film's great strength is its ability to throw open debate by means of abstract reference. Drugs, sex, rape, gay-bashing, Aids, race-riots, (dis)education, thought conditioning, trans-gender experience, S&M, technology and war all surface and ricochet off one another, interspersed with shadowy flashes of homoerotica. Maybury toys with the star charisma of Tilda Swinton and Rupert Everett by labelling their frequent direct to camera discourses with the caption 'uncommercial presentation'. With a virtually shaved head offsetting his pampered good looks and sleek intensity, Everett shows a decidedly new side to his screen personality (he also pops up in drag!). A darkly alluring film of visual pyrotechnics, from its abstract expressionist look to its dazzling use of colour, complex soundtrack and Marvin Black's hypnotic music Remembrance of Things Fast is an entertaining affront to all our senses, and in all senses of the word.
- David Rooney, Variety

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