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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Art > Our City Dreams (2008/First Run DVD)

Our City Dreams (2008/First Run DVD)


Picture: C     Sound: C     Extras: C     Documentary: B-



Female artists in all media have made some strides to level the art world playing field, however, the world still tends to be male dominated (note the lack of female directors in feature film) and Chiara Clemente’s Our City Dreams (2008) looks at five women involved with art that includes painting, sculpting and much more in this interesting 85 minutes-long documentary look at the work and lives of Swoon, Ghada Amer, Kiki Smith, Marina Abramovic and Nancy Spero.


They offer five distinct voices of five distinct life experiences with different backgrounds and age groups, yet all are unified by an honesty about female life, female sexuality and all are distinct.  Clemente does a fine job of character study on all, bringing home the artist as much as the art shown.  Though likely known to the art world because they are so good, it is amazing and sad they are not known beyond it and hopefully, this program will help tot change that.  Don’t be surprised if one or more of them breaks out in the near future.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image is on the weak side, with watered-down color, a rough mix of what looks like digital video and analog video (save some stills and old film footage).  Why they went for 16 X 9 is beyond me, but maybe 1.33 would have been looked better.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 sound is usually monophonic, rarely stereo and always weak, in part because of the location audio being often rough.  The combination can be trying, so it is good the subjects are interesting.  Extras include trailer, trailer gallery for like DVDs from First Run, text bios, making of featurette, DVD-Rom accessible PDF timeline and very short film Remembering Stephen Sprouse (at just over 2 minutes).



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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