50 Feet of String | Chicago Reader

50 Feet of String

Independent Iowa filmmaker Leighton Pierce says his film (1995, 52 min.), which has been garnering attention and awards, deals with “the slow and subtle repeated rhythms of daily life.” And indeed the film is striking for its at times meditative, at times almost glacial, pace. The eponymous “star” is seen in various outdoor settings—above a lawn, between trees—generally filmed, as are many of the images, in extremely shallow focus, so that only one point, often the middle of the string, is seen sharply. Such imagery has the virtue of intensifying perception, encouraging the viewer to pay attention to small details, even single points in space, that one would usually overlook; the film's small and mundane actions, such as lawn mowing, occur on the periphery, which reinforces this focus. But the almost syrupy prettiness of the images and the lack of overall structure ultimately undercut the film.

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