Depression: What Is It Good For?

Ten videos about depression, marked by constricted spaces and full of strange repetitive behaviors bespeaking terminal self-absorption. Among the best is Ximena Cuevas's Devil in the Flesh (1998), in which a woman framed by a circular matte puts VapoRub on her eyelids and dials a wrong number. The visual rhyme of the matte, her face, her eyes, and the phone's rotary dial propose a self-made trap. In his wonderfully pointless Pony Changes Everything (2003), Ben Coonley repeatedly interrupts his own lecture on currency markets (“This isn't going to work out”), then rates various paper currencies for their “sex appeal.” Fred Pelon's The Dutch Act (2001) pairs chilling newsgroup messages about suicide with images suggestive of suicide attempts. 92 min.

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