The Darien Gap | Chicago Reader

The Darien Gap

A man with a video camera but no job or apartment tries to examine the myths about his generation and keep his girlfriend from breaking up with him in a 1995 movie lyrically edited by writer-director Brad Anderson. The voice-overs of Lyn Vaus (Lyn Vaus)—a classic self-conscious artist, reminiscent of Woody Allen but with an engaging humorlessness—are as sincere as they are contrived, just like his conversations with friends or interviewees about being in their 20s in the 1990s. The characters in this almost painfully honest movie seem to think so much about how they're perceived that it affects what they're like, yet the movie contains none of the archness that distorts many narratives by and about artists and makes them just poses about posing. When Lyn describes his dreams or expresses his desperation, Anderson doesn't have to justify the combination of idealism and cynicism that drives Lyn—although he does, with the help of 70s home-movie footage that shows the character as a child before his parents divorced. Lyn's personality is hard evidence of the death of even the illusion of individuality in the information age: he and his girlfriend Polly Joy (Sandi Carroll) choose Henry Miller and Anais Nin as their models because they know that if they don't choose consciously they'll end up evoking someone anyway.

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