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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Surrealist Motion, Vol. 1 (Blu-ray)
Surrealist Motion, Vol. 1 (Blu-ray)
Microcinema // Unrated // February 24, 2009 // Region A
List Price: $34.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ian Jane | posted January 3, 2009 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

The people at Filmic Art have 'intended to create Surrealistic works with motion suited for flat LCD-plasma screens.' Influenced by some well known surrealist paintings, this silent collection of four animated vignettes is an attempt to bring to life Salvador Dali-esque artwork in the comfort of your own living room. How much you get out of it will likely depend on your appreciation of painted surrealism and/or the state of mind you're in when you watch it.

So without further ado, here's a look at what happens in the four 'paintings' contained on this disc:

Room With A View: (10:10) A light slowly comes up in a dimly lit room and the waves in the painting of the ocean that hang on the wall start to move. The flag of the United Nations lies draped over a chair in the background. The door opens and we learn that it's not a painting but a window and that the sea is directly outside. The sun moves around outside and brings the shadows with it as a volcano erupts in the background. The lights slowly dim and the door closes. This piece was inspired by the works of Rene Magritte.

This Castle Is Not Located In The Pyrenees: (10:00) Clouds and fog move over the ocean to slowly reveal a floating island castle of sorts with pipes hanging off of it and arches and stairways above it. It floats and moves around the screen as it belches smoke out of its smokestack only to be covered by the clouds just as it was when the scene began. This segment was also inspired by Rene Magritte.

Prairie Serenades: (7:02) Three identical churches sit evenly separated in an open prairie as the dark clouds move over the green grass atop which the buildings sit. Slowly one of the churches loses its hold on the earth and starts to rise into the sky, followed by the second church and then third, each moving at the same lethargic pace. As they rise, the fall apart and eventually leave only empty plots out of which rise metallic balls that form into flowers and fly off of the screen. Again, Magritte serves as the inspiration.

Persistence Of The Watchful Eye: (13:00) The sun sets over a serene ocean over top of which a bird flies. The ocean turns into a desert and caves in on itself. Out of the hole floats an eyeball which then dives back into the ground from which it came. The sand then forms a face which blows away in the wind before a tree spouts up, a watch lying limp over its branch. The watch falls and flops off of the screen. A giraffe with elongated legs walks across the screen and the flat desert turns into a mountain. The floating eyeball returns to blink at us before flying off of the screen, at which point the mountain becomes a flat desert floor once again. Salvador Dali was the obvious inspiration for this segment which bears a strong resemblance to his famous painting 'Persistence of Memory.'

It's hard to know exactly what to make of this four computer generated moving paintings. Like the Baroque Motion release from Filmic Arts, it too is meant for a specific audience and if you're not a member of that target demographic, you may not have a predisposed inkling to appreciate what they've done. What can be said is that this material does effectively capture the look and feel of the work of the surrealist painters who inspired it. At the same time, watching slow moving paintings shift and turn and morph and change isn't exactly a recipe for excitement...

The Video:

The four scenes are presented in AVC encoded 1.78.1 anamorphic widescreen. The video quality is quite good, showing plenty of detail and very vivid color reproduction. Black levels look nice and strong and there are no obvious problems with mpeg compression artifacts, edge enhancement or aliasing. This was all shot digital and transferred straight to Blu-ray so there are no problems with print damage or heavy grain to report on. The movement in the 'paintings' happens at a fairly slow speed so there's no blurring to report, everything here looks clean, clear and very colorful.

The Audio:

There is no audio on this DVD at all, everything is presented completely silent.

The Extras:

Aside from a static menu offering scene selection, this Blu-ray release contains no extra features whatsoever. It's completely barebones.

Overall:

This might be cool if you were high. It's trippy enough that it could work on that level, though the absence of any music doesn't help. That said, put on your own music of choice and this could be an amusing time killer. Fans of surrealist paintings will enjoy digging out some of the references but really, this isn't something you're going to come back to time and again. While the animation is interesting as is the idea, the end result is, without the aid of any illicit substances, dry and dull. Skip it.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

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