Tribeca 2012 Review: THE FOURTH DIMENSION

I came for the Korine. I stayed for the FAUNS.

THE FOURTH DIMENSION is a triptych of vignettes all loosely centered around the titular theme of space and time. Produced in part by Eddy Moretti of VICE magazine, the film takes us on a multifaceted, multicultural journey, three talented directors at the helm.

First up is Harmony Korine's THE LOTUS COMMUNITY WORKSHOP, a hilarious bit of oddness starring Val Kilmer as Val Kilmer. In the alternate reality of the film, good ol' Madmartigan has quit acting to become some kind of spiritual guru/motivational speaker. Dressed like a 16 year old stoner, he lives in a giant mansion where he swims in the pool and plays video games with his much younger girlfriend- played by Korine's becornrowed wife, Rachel- and spouts nonsensical gibberish for a living.

After the unwatchable disappointment that was TRASH HUMPERS, which saw Korine stretching what should have been a short to interminable lengths, he's been dabbling in brevity to much greater effect. Both ACT DA FOOL and UMSHINI WAM took the spirit of TRASH HUMPERS and condensed it into palatable chunks. (It helps that the latter starred Yolandi Vi$$er and Ninja of Die Antwoord fame, the former of which I have a huge crush on.)

But paired with an actor of Val Kilmer's faded glory, Korine has delivered his best (ie: least annoying) work since JULIEN DONKEY BOY. By toning down the irritating fuck-the-audience provocations and injecting some legitimate humor into the mix, he looks to have found the right tonal balance. It gives me high hopes for the upcoming SPRING BREAKERS.

Next up is Alexy Fedorchenko's charming time travel yarn, CHRONOEYE. It is about a man who is preoccupied with the past, and can see into it for short periods of time in very limited locations. But by focusing all his energy on his memories, he is missing out on the present, and, most likely, fucking his future. You see, there is a cute girl who loves to dance living in his building, and, God knows why, but she has a thing for him.

Despite the sci-fi setup, CHRONOEYE winds up being a rom-com in disguise, complete with an uplifting ending and promises of a future bright. It is the most inconsequential of the three segments, lacking the weirdness of Korine's piece and the eeriness of the apocalyptic FAUNS (although my perception might be skewed by my stoney heart).

Speaking of which, I stayed for the FAUNS, and I'm glad I did. Directed by Jan Kwiecinski, the film features a bunch of self-centered hipsters acting like they are the only people on Earth (I know, shocker), which in this case, is pretty much true. They have no fear of death, like they are going to live forever, except in this film it won't be long before they are dead. Because the town they live in has been evacuated and is about to be under water and they have decided not to leave.

Stupid, stupid hipsters.

Maybe your reading will be different. But just because I didn't like the characters, doesn't mean I didn't like the film. There is an innocence to these kids, as annoying as they are, and the soon-to-be-destroyed world they inhabit has a pleasant foreboding to it. It's hard to explain. It's like a Garden of Eden for hipsters, and is actually quite poetic.  

Overall, THE FOURTH DIMENSION makes for an interesting little shorts program. I dig the variety of the segments and their tenuous connection. I wouldn't call it mainstream, but none of the films are so weird/boring/pretentious as to be off-putting to the general movie-going public. That being said, it isn't summer tent pole fare, either. What it is is a great little festival film that deserves an audience beyond the localized festival environment.  

Joshua Chaplinsky is the senior editor for LitReactor.com. He also writes for ChuckPalahniuk.net. He was a guitarist in the band SpeedSpeedSpeed, and is the poison pen behind thejamminjabber, although he's not so sure he should admit it.


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