Review: ‘Hidden in Plain Sight’

Life is a river -- one clogged with vehicular traffic and bustling humans who fail to see the commonalities between them -- according to Mark Street's arty docu, which is personal to the point of obscurity.

Life is a river — one clogged with vehicular traffic and bustling humans who fail to see the commonalities between them — according to Mark Street’s arty docu, which is personal to the point of obscurity. Shot in Dakar, Hanoi, Marseilles and Santiago, Chile (with a smattering of NYC), the film suggests Street was in those places, shot some pretty, redundant footage, and then attempted to tie it all together via his perceptions of urban space and some sketchy allusions to 20th Century socialist history. Film’s success will be at festivals, largely among programmers who equate inscrutability with depth.

Interrupted by chapter headings and quotations as maddeningly opaque as Street’s objectives, “Hidden in Plain Sight” is not plain, and what’s hidden is unclear. If what he’s saying is that people’s lives are too busy, that’s obvious. If he’s saying people are too busy trying to survive, that’s arrogant. If he’s shot all these scenes on — or, more often, across — avenues, boulevards and roads because his name is Street, it’s too blurry a joke to merit all this footage.

Hidden in Plain Sight

Production

A Mark Street Films presentation (International sales: Mark Street Films, New York). Produced, directed, edited by Mark Street.

Crew

Camera (color, mini-DV, 16mm), Street; music, Jane Scarpantoni, Guy Yarden, Morton Feldman; sound designer, Tom Myers; sound mixer, Bill Seery, Mercer Media. Reviewed on DVD, Los Angeles, April 19, 2008. (In Tribeca Film Festival.) Running time: 62 MIN.

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