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    We have met the anomie and he is us

    A still-directionless Gen-X 30-something describes a life out of whack in the distant but still affecting interior monologue that makes up "Kagami."


    So this is how Generation X turns 30 — pretty much the same way it turned 20.

    Written and directed by: Benjamin Landshoff.
    Cast: Daniel Nevitt.
    Music by: Nick Smith, Daan Hocks, Benjamin Landshoff.
    Brooklyn Museum of Art 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, N.Y. Thurs., May 1, 9 p.m.

    Brooklyn International Film Festival 2003
  • Kagami
  • All Night Bodega
  • The Backyard
  • Letters from the Dead

    Previous festivals:
  • Williamsburg Brooklyn Film Festival 2000
  • Williamsburg Brooklyn Film Festival 2001

  • Official site
  • The unnamed hero of "Kagami" (let's just call him Kagami), having drifted through college with only a vague interest in art to justify the experience, has now drifted through the best years of his life as a computer-graphics peon in an advertising agency. It's not exactly the creatively fulfilling experience he may have been hoping for.

    "Click, drag, cut, copy, paste. That's pretty much what I've been doing for the past seven years now. Seven years," he says.

    He does have something to show for his efforts — shelves full of the most obligatory CDs and DVDs of his generation, and a prodigious plastic-toy collection, from Simpsons figurines to wind-up robot heroes. He has a daily routine, untaken antidepressants on the shelf, and memories of his transitory past relationships. But, he thinks to himself, this can't be what life all adds up to.

    There's a point in Kagami's brooding film-length interior monologue where he starts grasping for the determination to fundamentally change his life. "I've been so comfortable in my prison that the thought of real freedom never occurred to me," he says. We're not sure whether his next move will be moving to a monastery, buying a Corvette, volunteering at an orphanage or taking an Uzi to the office and shooting everyone. But the determination gradually builds.

    "Kagami's" thoughts about the artificiality of life in our modern culture are certainly on target and sometimes thoughtfully put. Looking around his apartment at his possessions, Kagami observes: "Sometimes I look at this stuff and think about how at my age my dad was working hard to support his wife and his son, and here I am with a room full of toys."

    But I have misgivings about the hourlong voiceover monologue style of filmmaking, which is actually more common than it probably should be among new filmmakers. At some point, you want something to happen, the character to break out of his own head. You want to be engaged, and the interior monologue is, perhaps contrary to common sense, an extremely distant style. Filmmaker Benjamin Landshoff undoubtedly sees "Kagami" as a video-enhanced meditation that others may share, but its introspection may just as well shut others out.

    APRIL 29, 2003

    Reader comments on Kagami:

  • Kagami   from Robert Pagen, May 2, 2003
  • Springbreak98keepinitreal   from Bret Hostetler, Feb 23, 2004

  • Post a comment on "Kagami"