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Amber City 1999

  • Jem Cohen
  • January 1, 1999
  • 48 mins
A portrait of an unnamed city in Italy. Sidestepping the tourist attractions that make the city famous, the film/video posits an almost-imaginary place that draws closer to the reality of its inhabitants. Using a voiceover narration that collages direct observation, literary texts, historical fact, local folklore, and a bit of sheer fabrication, the film/video melds documentary and narrative, past and present. Visuals range from verite street footage, to formal portraits of residents, to an unusual type of time lapse cinematography that allows filming in the low-intensity light of night landscapes and museum interiors. Made in collaboration with local residents and institutions, Amber City reflects on the "in-betweeness" of places whose historical and geographical location renders their reality strangely invisible.

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