Walker Art Center

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Chain

Directed by Jem Cohen

In a landscape dominated by corporate culture, our role as consumers defines Jem Cohen’s stark and disturbing first narrative feature film. This reworking of the themes from his installation Chain X Three (2002), shown at the Walker in 2003, uses anonymous malls, chain stores, and empty parking lots to create a sense of the homogenization brought about by globalism. The lives of two women—one affluent, the other disenfranchised—are profoundly affected by this cultural shift. Japanese businesswoman Tamiko (Miho Nikaido, Flirt) is studying American amusement parks until a merger brings her project to a halt, stranding her in a corporate residence apartment of an industrial park. Amanda (Mira Billotte of neo-folk band White Magic in her film debut) squats in abandoned homes brought on by the recession. To pass the time, she walks through malls with a broken cell phone, making conversation with no one. Images of empty corporate vistas across the world bring a universal resonance to the downside of globalization that Cinema Scope has described as “Present Shock.” (2004, U.S., color, video, 99 minutes. Cohen will participate in Contemporary Art in Conversation with Walker Film/Video Curator Dean Otto on Thursday, April 27, at 7:30 pm.