Welcoming the pioneers of celluloid-free moviemaking, the Moving Image’s ongoing Digital Masters series showcases the new medium’s particular formal calisthenics this week: eternal shots, liberated movement, invisible manipulative powers, low cost. Just a few years later, Tom Cruise and Michael Mann have gone all-video, but back in 2002 Alexander Sokurov’s suture-free, one-hard-drive-fits-all showboat Russian Ark bent movie time around your head. On a smaller—but quadripartite—scale, Mike Figgis managed something similar with Time Code (2000), a fascinating experiment in handing over the editing reins to each and every viewer and letting them fashion their own narrative. Eric Rohmer, at his age, saw no reason not to use classical paintings as his digitized mise-en-scène in The Lady and the Duke (2001), while Agnès Varda exploited the economy of DV to examine everything from imperialist history to her own aging hand in The Gleaners and I (2000). If this is a revolution, these are its aboriginal gambles, its Lumière, Méliès, and Porter.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 15, 2005