The alienated protagonist of Zack Winestine's independent feature ''States of
Control'' is a woman who lives surrounded by metaphors, and looks
suspiciously like a metaphor herself.
Lisa (Jennifer van Dyck) is a frustrated writer working as an administrator in a Lower Manhattan experimental theater. (Yes, life does often feel like a performance: an empty, meaningless representation of an ever deferred reality). She is married to an impotent artist. (Masculinity is indeed in crisis in these gender-twisting times. And what potency does art really possess in the post-post-modernist era?)
The film, which was made in 1997 and has since been waiting for its time to come, is technically very assured. Mr. Winestine is a former cinematographer whose filmography includes work as a camera assistant on Stanley Kubrick's ''The Shining,'' and his eye for composition is steady and solid. There is none of the herky-jerkiness of the currently official indie film style. The symphonic score by Richard Termini is impressive and adds all kinds of cosmic significance to Mr. Winestine's frequent, unmotivated cuts to clouds scudding across a blue sky.
After forcing herself to stay awake for 51 hours, Lisa sets out on a purely nihilistic -- or, at least, very vaguely motivated -- political mission, which leads to her ultimate separation from society. ''States of Control'' may be about Lisa's attempts to throw off the shackles of bourgeois ideology, but it offers no real sense of freedom and spontaneity of its own. In the end, Lisa's revolt seems as predictably programmatic, and as widely abstracted from observable human behavior, as the movie that contains her.
Theatrical Release: April 6th, 1997
DVD Review: Pathfinder - Region 0 - NTSC
|DVD Box Cover||
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|Distribution||Pathfinder Home Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC|
Average Bitrate: 5.55 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||English (Dolby Digital 2.0)|
The DVD transfer has some issues - it is widescreen, at a strange ratio of 1.75 (so most probably cropped from 1.85), it is not 16X9 enhanced, it is not progressive (from an HD source) and hence has 'combing' in all horizontal pans, it has slim black border around the perimeter of the frame limiting horizontal resolution and there are no optional subtitles. So basically, it is only viewable on CRT (cathode ray tubes) ie. tube televisions. But I can fully appreciate and understand the production limitations due to its frugal indie roots. Actually, it doesn't look fatally poor - the colors seem a bit manipulated with overly red skin tones but detail is at an acceptable level. Some decent work has gone into the supplements with a 6 minute short, a text scroll-thru interview with the director , 9 audio tracks from the splendid score, a photo gallery, trailer and biographies. It is also nice to see the price at such a reasonable value. Certainly I think this may be worth a spin, solely on the basis of the film, which is highly interpretational and hence contains some interesting elements for post-discussion.