Reviewed at the AMC Kabuki 8 Cinemas, May 1, 1992. Running time: 49 min.
A hilarious and bizarrely absorbing collage of pre-existing footage, Craig Baldwin’s “Tribulation 99” posits 20th-century global history as one unending conspiracy theory running straight toward millennium apocalypse.
While sub-feature length is an obvious limitation, film’s unique take on myriad current political issues could have crossover potential under specialized circumstances. Already booked for a S.F. rep house run, it grabbed the top “New Visions” prize in the Golden Gate Awards under auspices of current S.F. Intl. Fest.
Baldwin compiles myriad visual sources–biblical & James Bond flix, nature/science docus, news footage, cartoons, commercials, monster movies, et al.–into a fantasy narrative in which aliens fleeing planet Quetzalcoatl are revealed to have manipulated Earth politics for decades.
Global warming, the Cold War, Watergate, Latin American turmoil and natural disasters all emerge as consequences of this self-proclaimed “pseudo-pseudodocumentary.” In the current climate of escalating local and international disasters, the effect is hilarious — and almost credible.
Witty sound and visual editing keeps stimulus at a max, although it’s coherent enough to avoid strictly experimental appeal.