SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW 1998
Rebecca Yeldham on INSIDE/OUT
In Inside/Out, Rob Tregenza's third feature in a career launched by the formidable Talking to Strangers (1988), the filmmaker again mounts a rigorous challenge to cinematic orthodoxy in this profound work of beauty and consequence.
Against the barren wintry backdrop of a psychiatric hospital, inpatients and authority figures drift through turgid psychological states. We meet the artist Jean and his lover Monica, patients of the facility, and several characters circling its periphery: a guard, an Episcopalian priest, and a church organist. Minimalizing dialogue and plot intricacy, Tregenza concedes only kernels of information, demanding that the viewer breathe dimensionality into his archetypes. Acting out primal instincts of lust, envy, fear, and love, subjects teeter vulnerably on the brink of sanity and insanity, freedom and repression in their attempts to navigate their existence.
In Inside/Out, Tregenza bravely ventures into familiar metaphorical terrain in dramatizing the institutionalized repression of abnormality and deviance. Deliberately blurring distinctions, he begs the questions: Who is inside, who is outside, and who is truly free? However, in the resilience of the human spirit and its passions, the filmmaker locates some cause for optimism, suggesting that in these forces one may find brief respite from the persistence of want.
Tregenza uses masterful camerawork to draw our attention to the subjectivity of the lens, shifting its/our perspective from voyeuristic inquirer, to omnipotent purveyor, to engaged participant. It is through these marvelous oscillations that we, too, are propelled on the journey inside/out and outside/in.
- Rebecca Yeldham
Jean-Luc Godard's review of TALKING TO STRANGERS
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