Review: ‘Camera, Camera’

A troubled film whose p.o.v. and politics are all over the place and yet nowhere at all.

Is Malcolm Murray’s “Camera, Camera” an oblique travelogue of Laos from a privileged Westerner’s perspective, a critique of Westerners doing travelogues, or a view of Laotians as exotic poor people and Western tourists as silly escapists? Some of all three, actually, which is the start of the problems for this troubled film, whose p.o.v. and politics are all over the place and yet nowhere at all. Another problem: It’s neither experimental enough to satisfy avant-garde fests nor straightforward enough to attract docu fests.

Opening graphic announces the setting as “Laos,” one of the few direct references (other than revealing closing credits) to a Southeast Asian nation little known even to adventurous travelers. They abound here, white people all, proudly showing Murray’s camera their photos. They’re as banal as could be, while Murray attempts an obvious contrast by intercutting the frolicking shutterbug tourists with his own footage of quotidian Laotian life. One of the interview subjects (all unidentified) makes a cogent observation that outsiders, even those staying in Laos for a while, can possibly understand the people and their culture. Whether that includes this film is open for consideration.

Camera, Camera

Documentary

Production

A This presentation. Produced by Josh Haner. Executive producers, Malcolm Murray, Michael Meyer, Haner, Megan Baldrige. Directed, edited by Malcolm Murray. Written by Michael Meyer.

Crew

Camera (color, DV), Murray; music supervisor, Andrew Chugg. Reviewed on DVD, Los Angeles, June 26, 2010. (In Los Angeles Film Festival -- competing; SilverDocs Film Festival.) Running time: 60 MIN.
Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety

Loading