Dragonfly Eyes Screen 70 of 5 reviews

Dragonfly Eyes

2017

Dragonfly Eyes Poster
  • It's striking in how it evokes the drama of a ‘global village,’ in which we each have the right to be unique, but somehow the same. The romance plot is conventional, for sure, but there is something undeniably Whitmanian in the growing, echoing string of endless restaurants, streets, corners and cafes where the action takes place, spliced as if they all were the same singular place.

  • Celebrated Chinese artist Xu Bing turns his mind to cinema in Dragonfly Eyes, loading his 79-minute film with thoughts, sounds and images gleaned entirely from surveillance cameras and live streaming sites in China. He’s grafted a narrative onto the footage, but nothing is conventional here. Dragonfly Eyes is quietly disturbing, filled with unease and malaise but also rich in poetry: it’s a provocative film for our times which marries conceptual art with cinema in a fresh and unusual way.

  • Qing Ting's physical transformation into online music celebrity Xiao Xiao is obviously absurd, but the point isn’t grounded in dramatic or psychological credibility as much as in a fable’s logic—the fable here revolving around the extremes that people may go to transform their sense of reality and trade it in for something that may itself be fake, and also substitutes for reality.

  • It could have been a meditation on the privacy that a nation obsessed with security forfeits, that the norm of mass surveillance has subconsciously charged society with the idea that people—women especially—must be beautiful, as they are never not being looked at. However, though the concept is bold in description, Xu has undermined the success of this project by superimposing a tangential stalker story and medical horror plot half-baked inside a love story buttressed by identity theft.

  • It bears a very strong resemblance to The Road Movie, the Russian dash-cam compilation film by Dmitri Kalashnikov. Both films attempt social commentary but cannot ever really justify their status as a procession of horrors. Nor can they avoid one simple fact: they reach for the frisson of the Real and somehow end up even more tedious for their trouble.

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