CUFF

THE NEST James Fotopoulos

Feature 16mm 78:00 2003 Chicago Premiere

“Somewhere in the Midwest, a young couple’s starter apartment discharges the anomie stored in its cool, white walls and sparse, angular furnishings. The eponymous nest and the true star of this suburban gothic, its light fixtures ooze bilious greens and overripe ambers onto surgically extracted blocks of cheap architecture that each emits their own pitches and grinds of white noise. A nonstop 3am panic attack of drywall-crawling despair, this is the field on which James Fotopoulos assembles his latest assault on the senses.

To pin down and enumerate what happens in The Nest is to do violence to it. Better to list effects, colors, and key phrases, cut up and drawn from a hat, than offer any kind of chronology. More textural than textual, it distills dramatic tensions to a 78-minute environment of pure narrative: out of time, unencumbered by plot or rounded characters and demanding to be taken as a story that happens chiefly to the audience rather than to the figures in its landscapeŠ Fotopoulos’s work is always possessed of a certain desperate naturalism, which emerges to greatest surface prominence in The Nest and another narrative feature completed this year, Families. Squirming out from under the thumb of psychological realism, the films depict only themselves and mock any suggestion that their events stand in for, express, or represent anything other than what they make us watch and hear. The Nest’s physiological and psychological are one and the same, perhaps making it his most nakedly emotional feature yet, and firmly positioning his narrative work in that slender alternate stream inhabited by filmmakers like Bresson, Warhol, and (in the right mood) Sokhurov. In the coolness of its surface construction, its sly wit, and the surprising heat of its emotions, The Nest suggests that other great suburban tract of the ’80s, Don DeLillo’s White Noise, but rather than being about a toxic airborne event, The Nest simply is one.” -Spencer Parsons, Cinematexas

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