Jem Cohen

Jem Cohen – Buried in Light (1994)

“A meditation on history, memory, and change in Central and Eastern Europe, Buried in Light is a non-narrative journey, a cinematic collage. Cohen’s “search for images” began at a time of extraordinary flux, as the Berlin Wall was dismantled—opening borders yet ushering in a nascent wave of consumer capitalism. What he saw struck him as a profound paradox: the moment Eastern Europe was revealed was simultaneously the moment it was hidden by the blinding light of commercialism. Cohen’s images are neither the tourist’s roster of picturesque vistas and monuments, nor the mass media’s definitive catalog of dramatic moments. Instead, he focuses on details, ordinary objects, and forgotten places—filming daily life as seen on the street.”
—Linda Dubler, Art at the Edge (Atlanta: High Museum of Art) Read More »

Jem Cohen – Chain (2004)

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“Jem Cohen’s Chain is a hypnotic, highly original piece about what
it’s like to live in the new global corporate landscape.”

Daily Telegraph
“Dreamlike… transforms a mundane world into something strange and
new… formidable power… fierce political intelligence.”

Village Voice

Synopsis:
As regional character disappears and corporate culture homogenizes our surroundings, it’s increasingly hard to tell where you are. In Chain, malls, theme parks, hotels and corporate centers worldwide are joined into one monolithic contemporary “superlandscape” that shapes the lives of two women caught within it. One is a corporate businesswoman set adrift by her corporation while she researches the international theme park industry. The other is a young drifter, living and working illegally on the fringes of a shopping mall. Cohen contrives to turn the entire planet into a stretch of New Jersey commercial property–a universe that feels entirely real yet has the distinct smack of J.G. Ballard otherness. Read More »

Jem Cohen – Museum Hours (2012)

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Quote:
Acclaimed filmmaker Jem Cohen’s new feature, Museum Hours, is a mesmerizing tale of two adrift strangers who find refuge in Vienna’s grand Kunsthistorisches Art Museum. Johann, a museum guard, spends his days silently observing both the art and the visitors. Anne, suddenly called to Vienna from overseas, has been wandering the city in a state of limbo. A chance meeting sparks a deepening connection that draws them through the halls of the museum and the streets of the city. The exquisitely photographed Museum Hours is an ode to the bonds of friendship, an exploration of an unseen Vienna, and the power of art to both mirror and alter our lives. Read More »

Jem Cohen – This Is a History of New York (1987)

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One of Jem Cohens first films (his third), conducted on Super 8 camera in 1987-88, consisting of impressionistic shots of urban development and decay. An impressive short piece (not least considering its year of production!) pointing ahead to his masterful ‘Lost book found’. Read More »

Jem Cohen – Museum Hours (2012)

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IMDB:
When a Vienna museum guard befriends an enigmatic visitor, the grand Kunsthistorisches Art Museum becomes a mysterious crossroads which sparks explorations of their lives, the city, and the ways artworks reflect and shape the world. Read More »

Jem Cohen – Just Hold Still (1989)

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Quote:
In his New York City landscape, Cohen finds inspiration in disturbance. Looking to life for rhythm and to architecture for state of mind, he locates simple mysteries. Just Hold Still is comprised of an interconnected series of short works and collaborations that explore the gray area between documentary, narrative, and experimental genres.

The first part concerns a personal, poetic approach to narrative and includes 4:44 (From Her House Home), Never Change (with Blake Nelson), Love Teller (with Ben Katchor), and Light Years. The second part involves hybridized use of verité footage and the confrontation of documentary concerns with the music video format and includes Selected City Films, Glue Man (with Ian MacKaye), and Talk about the Passion (with R.E.M). The work can be considered as a whole, or each piece in the project can be viewed (and rented) as a separate entity. Read More »

Jem Cohen – Drink Deep (1992)

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Quote:
Drink Deep is a lyrical vision of friendship, hidden secrets, and desires. Cohen uses several types of film image to add texture to the layered composition. Beautiful shades of grey, silver, black and blue echo the water, reminiscent of early photography and silverprints. Cohen says, “The piece was constructed primarily from footage I’d shot of skinnydippers at swimming holes in Georgia and rural Pennsylvania. It’s about water and memory and stories just submerged. It is also, in part, a response to thinking about censorship. I would say that Drink Deep is both unabashedly and deceptively romantic. Surface, flow, and undertow. What looks like paradise is always paradise lost.”

Music composed by Stephen Vitiello and performed with Gabriel Cohen and Mary Wooten. Read More »