Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Spectres of the Spectrum

Spectres of the Spectrum (Craig Baldwin, 2000) [7]

I'm a big fan of Baldwin's work, especially Tribulation 99 and this film treads much of the same ground as that film. Baldwin is a collage or found footage filmmaker, which means he uses images from other sources to create his films. This film as well as Tribulation 99 use mostly old science fiction footage to create what appear on the surface to be paranoid psuedo-documentaries but do have a critique of American political and business policies. Spectres focuses on a father and daughter who are out to show that a corporate/government monopoly on communications and radar technology to control the population and destroy the natural ionosphere of the earth. It's incredibly complicated exaggeration Baldwin has come up with, the father and daughter having to travel back in time to save the world. This plus while taking tangents into Tesla's alternating current, the creation and subsequent monopoly of radio and television, and political commentary. The first 30 to 45 are difficult to grasp but once the father and daughter get down to actually carrying out their task the film becomes much more streamlined and easy to follow. As with any Baldwin film, there are an overload of images, from everything to 50's science television programs to more modern films like Gremlins. On the surface, this all seems rambling and incoherent but the underlying message of Baldwin's films are its most important points. Baldwin is urging the public to take back their media and ways of getting information. The media conglomerates have for far too long has a stranglehold on determining what information that people can hear. Baldwin makes the point that media like radio and television initially belonged in the public arena and that corporate control is bad for the earth as a whole. It may be hard to grasp from the density of images assembled, but it's there to be found.

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