Pixel Flicks

The Holy Grail for mainstream American film directors — even before the monomaniacal pursuit of jaw-dropping verisimilitude in CGI-driven blockbusters — has long been note-perfect realism. The immortal Jean Renoir, however, observed that the technological advances that allow the world to be depicted more accurately onscreen pose significant hurdles for genuine artists. (He was talking about the widespread adoption of color in the 1950s, incidentally.) This goes some way toward explaining the continuing appeal of the low-res Fisher-Price PXL 2000 toy camera, which records form and sensation but not photorealistic detail. This is a tool for evoking, not documenting, hence its ongoing attraction to a particular strain of mood-generating filmmakers. PXL THIS 18, the annual touring show of shorts from around the globe, collects the latest labor-intensive forays into subjective realities and dream states for our dazed and amazed pleasure. In The Trimorphic Hypotheses, to cite one particularly impressive work in the program, Struan Ashby and Roy Parkhurst of New Zealand bring extraordinary chops and sophistication to the split-screen, Craig Baldwinish tale of a scientist scouring an apocalypse-ravaged Earth. If movies offer an escape from everyday life, Pixelvision is the Houdini of the film world.
Sat., May 2, 8:30 p.m., 2009

 
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